Tuesday, September 30, 2003

there's no more poetry
it just stopped -

sometimes when you smile,
push the hair away from my face
and tell me I'm a dumb
to not see

an awareness - a knowing
that this is how it feels
to be happy - makes me think
a poem might be just
around the corner
or when your driving,
doing Martin O'Neil
talking strategies - breathing
football - sometimes then, a
poem teases me,
but never lets me catch it.

once when we fucked in your hallway
and I could still taste the miles on you,
the plane - the bus - the car and the aftersun
mingling with the excitement
( absence makes the crotch yearn fonder )
a poem wrote itself inside my head

right at the moment the heel of my left
boot scraped down your calf
a sonnet screamed out my name
but then we slept - and fucked -
and slept and I lost it

too tired to chase it
I watched it melt and
harden against the pink linen
sheet. there's no more poetry.

© sc. sept.03

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Welcome to Alton. No love, no storms, no hurry, no revolution, no war, no epiphany, no broken windows, no days without cheeseburgers, no good music, no good monsters, not too much or too little breakfast cereal, or wind, or rain, or muscle. Welcome, and may God have mercy on your screen porch.

In any other town I might feel invisible. Doing things like, say, eating psilocybin mushrooms while listening to Rush Limbaugh and playing video football are only disordinary for their surface contradictions, which I am full of. But in this town I feel particularly invisible. These kind of subversive jaunts into absurdity go far towards being unappreciated here.

I live in a small one story house a little out of the way with a pharmacist, a career college student, and a job collector. They do things like taking trips into a nearby wooded areas in order to deprive themselves of twenty hours of Comedy Central so as to understand the ineffable suffering of, say, Afghani refugees. And they believe these nearby wooded areas located just between the new McDonald’s and a Blockbuster Video is close enough to a war-torn, impoverished desert wasteland.

I am the evil young right wing conspirator who lives down the hall with his shelves of obscure records and dog-eared novels about left wing college idealists who are too comedically angelic for this lost and unforgiving world of detached actors and industrial carbon specters.

Some nights I am invited to bars that promise to be filled with women, whose presence I am, admittedly, sorely lacking. And yet I shrug, and choose to remain here. This is the first cause for dissolution. Women in bars expect things I’m not willing to be, namely, charming, successful, witty, handsome, and weightless. I may be thin, but I am certainly not weightless.

Also, I don’t really fancy crowds, crap music, dancing, unnecessary laughter, or flat easy facial expressions. I do fancy a drink, however. But here I can drink to my own facial expressions, record collection, and comedic obscurity.

Contradiction #1: I am alone. I am alone, and have been known to complain about being alone, although I resent the idea of having to go out in public to remedy said problem. In this, I’m about as logical as a vegan butcher.

I will tell you now and again that I’ve had my share, that they’ve been for the most part, well beyond redeemable, and in some situations, both enlightened and ravishing. I will tell you this in a typically smug wistful low-toned poet drawl that deserves to be tossed against a wall in a bar every now and then. Do I contradict myself? Very well then. I am large. I contain multitudes.

In fact, I can qualify ever misaction with hackneyed poetry and stream-of-consciousness prose, because, this is the sort of thing I fall for. I’ve been known to turn contacts into glasses. I’ve been known to glaze over the uninterested eyes of those unfortunate enough to ask how I’m doing, and I have no real regrets about that. Why should I? Who the fuck is anyone else to characterize my madness? I’m perfectly uncomfortable here. And this is only the beginning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

On Moving

"Men and women may sometimes, after great effort, achieve a creditable lie; but the house, which is their temple, cannot say anything save the truth of those who have lived in it." - Rudyard Kipling

The boxes wait, neatly labelled and sealed, for two men who will come to them in the morning. The things inside, wrapped and buffered against the moving world, lie like relics in hidden sanctuaries, though they mean nothing to anyone but me. Last week they had their hallowed places in the rooms of this place; made of the empty rooms a home. Or, if not a home, then a temporary museum.

My life provides artifacts for a moving museum. And where I live, for a year or two or three, becomes the setting. I live with detritus: I hesitate to refer to it as personal treasure. Things. Fond scraps of yesterday's feast; incense to trigger recall; spices to charge tomorrow's creative plate. Pictures of the children as babies; pictures of me as a baby. I could be looking at strangers. The pottery my sister made. This year my daughter is the same age as my sister was when she died. I will be glad when my daughter's next birthday arrives; it will mean that she has escaped the curse of death at twenty-three.

Paintings. I have too many for such a small amount of wall space. Three hundred books. A ceramic shortbread mould from Hampton Court. Pressed flowers picked in St. Ives, dried leaves from northern California. Hundreds of sea shells. Receipts. Old letters, bundled with ribbon.

This place will lie empty tomorrow. The walls will not tell the truth of me. I did not choose their colour.

If I could build a shelter, it would be by the sea and have so many windows you would not know if you were in or out. People would gather to cook and eat together. They would laugh and sing. They would be so comfortable that it would be easy for them to daydream and to be foolish if they wanted to be.

Until then, hitch the horse to the gypsy wagon and pack all the things safely away. No one can read me from the empty rooms I leave behind. The oven is so clean it looks as though it has never been used and I've plastered over the nail holes where the paintings once were.