Monday, March 31, 2008
The longest poem I've ever written
Dedicated to John Ashbery's poem, "Wave"
in the poetry collection, A Wave
We read between the lines, yet, life is the marks
in the margin,the scratches and swirls
we make when we are tying to get the pen
to change color, looking like cream
in black coffee before we stir,
looking more like a negative exposure
of the cup. Secretly, you want to be
the lipstick painting the brim.
But you never have the right change
for anything and you wear time like a cotton dress
all summer and by the time rose buds bloom again,
after winter's icy end,
moth holes have made Swiss cheese of it.
on the sheets, reds and browns, leaves fallen
from trees, waiting, still for spring's rinse cycle.
Are you at home with your cats
or just home? Ignore the doorbell. Your conscience
tells you they're uninvited guests. But it's
like that time on the dock when you sat
and waited for fish to meet the surface
for a kiss. No, you wanted them to come up for air,
you never were one for patience. Instead,
you got a dophin at your feet.
He told you how to live your life. "Where's my pen?"
you ask yourself, all frantic-like,
as if you're on the phone and you've got one chance
to hear that number in the voicemail message
(will self distruct in five minutes).
But then you ask, "Why would i want to live
the life a dolphin recommends anyway?" In retrospect,
you think, "Why not?"
At least you don't have to play along, you could
tell your loved ones to play
hopscotch, tell them to shoot you
from a cannon after you're dead. Remember
taht time we all fell into the bonfire that
had long since burned out? Running around with soot
on our faces, smeared and smiling, we all were.
"So bogus," you thought, you couldn't possibly-no way-not
in this century participate, but you did, you do,
and like everything else you are scared of,
you love it.
Bob Marley told us, "One Love" but instead
we recognize our limitations and ignore them. Nonetheless,
we stir it up, we make believe and
we make things up. We pass the test
and play the game. Is it better to say,
always remember or never forget? One's a double
negative,my friend. I'm sorry, and I don't know
why, for this: We're all happy and hurting
just the same.
And in a loud voice, a little girl with curls
the color of Hershey's kisses reported
to her dad, who looked like a potato squeezed
into khakis, the end of the movie
you were in line to see. You wanted to cry,
you wanted to leave, and you said, "In some way,
staying means deserting me." We can make this
work,we made room in ourselves
(for each other), like wind beneath the dirt,
subtle sounds, we kneel down and kiss it.
No one sees you except for under
the light of a Harvest moon; and when we hug
our hands cross where our wings should be.
Let's be honest. All the time.
To everyone. About everything.
Forgive us when we lie.
All the time. To everyone,
about everything because forgetting is ignoring,
and ignoring is harder than ignorance
to pull off. One more of anything is a nightmare
missing it's happy ending, it's waking up
in a pool of your own slobber and wishing
you had drowned. People stare
like we're a shipwreck corroding in the pastel glow
of the sunset, under the flashy-neon movie
posters with the show times scraped off the bottom,
like scratch-off tickets. The sad part is
we don't think we're gambling either,
but we are. We get bolder
with every bet we lose.
Is it safe to believe in the destruction
of brilliance? The question in life is
no longer, "What's the meaning?"
but "What's that from?" Beauty, is it
a dangerous gift? An awful pawn? The sun rose
at 6:42 this morning and it hurt
your eyes, even when you closed them. Still orange
glows under your lids. "What time is on Mars?"
you ask, like it's the easiest question
to answer. Is art eternal when its barely surviving
the age of cliche? We all share
that memory, not of true connectedness but of sitcom
laughter; magazines tell us who we are, yet the sun
will always cast shadows. Strange though,
how sometimes it's fun to wake up and wonder
where you are, surrounded by the obscurity of so much
of nothing. Do we ever really wake? Even in our sleep
we can generate stress just by learning how to snore.
It dries our throats, the way too many cigarettes do
one a long drive home, after heartbreak. Cigarettes
are just another friend we don't like.