Archives for posts with tag: The World Is So Poetic

hands, feet drumming on ribs, the ground,
the mouths of pots and guns beckon;
the wind, the clouds, are the sight of sound
to the deaf, the foreign, the prisoner.
This bridge is the harp hung across
the tears of our sorrow. Each life
must know this and it has unstrung us.
The song that must be found, cannot;
we sing in no tongue, no language—
our words are incantations, they harm those who
do not know the melody—it’s magic—
and only fools ask the meaning.
These whore masters who bid us sing
do not hear our anger. It crashes
upon the shore a great wave of vengeance.
If we forget, let our tongues be like the wave—
ever licking, never drinking; let water be salt
and tears our fountains; if we forget,
make our bed from thorns, crowns for our
children to wear, though they be but mirrors
of our pain. We who sing hear not the song
that is sung—take comfort in what is missing.

I spent a long time thinking about what I should do —
should I phone, should I write, should I send a card?
I decided to write because writing seemed closer
to our friendship, what I would never achieve over
the phone; what a card could never accomplish.

I was sorry to hear your news — and then time
passed and I thought it was too late for me to say
anything — accepting that I had been too rude to act —
inexact, and purposeless, I had accomplished nothing.

I’m sorry your son died. Your wife died. Your father
died, your mother died. Your lover died. Your boss
died, your bank teller died, your car died, your battery
died; your clock died.
He would be so much older now.
She would be. They would be. He would be older than
me, you, we would be, at his age. She would have been
there for you, helped you handle it, she always took care
of everything beautifully, so his passing away was right
in line with the moon, or whatever constellations play
their part in these things.

I wish you could taste
the oranges I am eating right now. They are as sweet
as grapes, like strawberries, ripe melons, apples juiced
with ripe peaches and pints of cherries, bananas,
exotic fruits with unpronounceable names, in sweet
surrender I gulp nectar as if I were drowning in it,
a thousand stylized goldfish swim towards me bearing
platters of Chinese fruit, flowering trees, bamboo flutes.

The seeds are within the compost; who will love you now?
Who will know you, who will talk to you, who will listen,
explain to you, help you get money, get you to work on time?
What will you do? How will your heartbeat now that it is gone?

These words serve little purpose. They cannot take away your pain.
And I have not expunged my own. I only want you to know I think
I know how you feel. I feel crummy too — that I took so long
to acknowledge your grief.
We are so much older. When we were
younger we would have handled this better. We would have worn
white shirts and ties, dark suits, shuffled appropriately, and then
shuffled again, away from parents, tea and coffee, psalms, prayers,
cocktail olives and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, running
down the road, drinking and dancing and wandering around after
everything was closed, looking for someone to fuck, someone we
would never find because we were so anxious; and the city’s lights
were anonymous, and we were shadows swimming away in a moon
lit night, when the clouds looked like enticing countries and the
sidewalks were small kitchen tiles, running away from home.

It is my role – I chose it.
I chose first touch, first taste,
first stolen penetration.
It is my curse, my joy, my fate –
I am surrendered to it.

I hear the call, I am the messenger
I see them, naked, innocent, unguarded
I am the Prince of Thieves – how can I resist?
I take them, seduce them,
taste their first kiss, again and again,
the first bliss of touch to soft,
hard, wet, hot, grind & release,
strain deeply against their souls –
first taste and then deliver them,
the god-loves – those that survive me.

The gods shun me – I have known each of their toys.
The chosen despise me – who they once loved so fervently,
base and bare – as if I were Pan – as if my pipes sprang
from my Wood, My Keep – but that is not who I am.
I am The One Who Fools Gods, I am The One Who Sings
New Songs, Makes Old Into New – I am The One Who Travels
All Roads – and carries foolish declarations of love when
performance was called for instead – so, I Was There Instead.
Although I know I repeat myself over and over and over again
I do not repent – as I cannot repeat myself.

They hate me because they gave me
their first love and I betrayed them.
Testing if they were worthy to
pass on—to lose, to gain—to regain—
story told again and again and again;
they resent me, I took them to the divine
and all they believe is I rejected them—
when I only came to push them through
the door. I am not to blame. And yet
once again, the messenger bears the shame.

Even in a crowd, you catch my eye,
as arm in arm you walk on by
with your lord or lady, with whom you abide.

Your cold glance does not remain,
but in the air there resonates
complaint, no longer compliant, as once you cried.

My eyes glance but do not remain,
I do not need to see your disdain,
when next you glance, seek others who are less constrained.

I took you from the mortal plane – you will never
see me in my final role, guiding you to the Boatman
who ferries all in Time across that black River. I will
never hear your voice plead with me, beg me, offer me
everything, anything, if I will not take you – only then,
once again, despite your muffled cries, I will fold you
in my embrace, one last time, and take once again,
your innocent kiss.
From this, you will remain, ever proofed,
ever denied, this final passion, culmination, the truth –

and will march, instead, in charade,
refrained within the eternal parade.

The painting says Modigliani, the nude says “take me.”
I look, I see, I penetrate beyond design— the painting mounts
the birth of the modern, again and again at the start
of the twentieth century, past brazen oranges, peaches, apples
and kohl lidded glances become burning flesh, woman posed
into willing odalisque muse, she who is become the plastic moment
of delayed desire and I am now the artist’s rock hard delight,
his overpowering need to paint, to overtake this heavy lidded mask
of want and surrender. To be first to make her his own. Then commit
her to instantaneous gratification, over and over again, until the
sated watcher, deep within her, cannot ignore her invitation to love
and self-annihilation.

You know it is wrong.
It’s not good for you.
You have to stop—but
nothing else makes you feel this way.
Nothing else makes your heart beat
this way, makes you sweat, makes you
pant, makes you want nothing more
than this —but it’s wrong.
You shouldn’t continue.
You could get hurt.
You should stay at home,
defend yourself,
lock the door behind you.
Instead, you step into the night
heart pounding, hair standing
on end, alive and awake
to endless possibilities,
though you may not survive the night.

ripples by, her dress an aquatic pulse
of colour and submarine motion

her dress within the liquidity of glass reveals
its liquidity, magnified by each move she makes

she passes away from me and all I can do is chart
potential depths, shallows, hidden hazards, and imagine

who is she, what is she doing, where is she going

morning of the brilliant sunshine
the plastic electric cleanses the eyes.

the image of renewal
replaces sterility.

offers the previously
earth mortgaged

rebirth, the seminalism
of thoughtful elasticity.

The pallid, the effusive,
numb, blind,

torn, blown, thrown away —

to be replaced by
Elysian liquidity,

air and light,
corruscating frequently,
human and thinking free.

The inventor called me to come by his laboratory (basement)—”I have created a boon for mankind! Come quickly.” Despite my apprehension (did he say boon—or something else?) I was intrigued, and at worst, there would be a toast. The Inventor believed in toasting his inventions—and though his inventions were often dubious, his wine cellar was not.
“I have invented the weed-eating bird. No longer will proud home owners fear a family of robins nesting, stealing the earthworms their lawns depend on, while dandelions, and clover run riot. No! Now the fabulous weed eating bird (yet to be named; perhaps a branding campaign?) will be welcomed from one end of the street to the other. Nay! Courted!! The lot of the lowly bird will be mightily raised—the bird house will be the most commodious of pet havens; the bird bath will be large, featuring various pools of hot and cold water; bird seed will be an unnecessary expense, and the bird seed manufacturers will go the way of the buggy whip oligarchs (unfortunate, but all capitalists will die by the buck anyway!)
“Consider this—once the bird has weeded your lawn faithfully, raised a brood of chicks that shall continue his or her highly sought after company—the silly blighter is so fat and incapable of flight that all you need do is walk up, pick it up by the feet, swing it around once or twice and—Bingo! The head pops off! Bio-engineering!! Incredible stuff!!!”
(I have never met a man who could make you hear the exclamation marks like The Inventor could. Nonetheless, after such a string, I sincerely hoped a toast would follow—in vain.)
Now, your lawn is beautiful and weed free at no personal effort—And Wait For It!!!! The best is yet to come !!!!!! The Weed Eating Bird (yet to be named, perhaps a sponsorship opportunity?) within 10 minutes of death—which is about as painless as death can be, though I might add, it is difficult to find those who can volunteer the exact sensation—the feathers fall off, the innards dissolve into onion and sage dressing, and salt and pepper appear naturally under the skin! In other words—you pop it into a nice 400 degree oven for about an hour, and presto dinner is ready!! Tastes Just Like Chicken!!! I thought of having the bones turn into licorice, but I’m not sure the world is ready for licorice chicken. What do you think?”
“You’re right—the world is not ready for licorice chicken.”
“No—the bird! is it a good idea?”
“I think it is fabulous, let me see it.”
“Well—it’s only an idea—and it is driving me to drink. Care to join me for a glass?”

Rachel arrives at our door with a loud knock. She is wearing a floral print dress, white stockings and black patent leather shoes (with small white velvet bows), totally unkempt lush blond hairstack. She announces she is here to marry Jarret, our 5 year old son (Rachel is 3 months older). Jarret comes to the door. He is dressed in blue sneakers, T-shirt, socks and Blue Jays baseball cap. He asks Rachel, “What are you doing here?” “We’re going to get married,” explains Rachel. “Where?” asks Jarret. “In the backyard.” That seems sufficient and Jarret leaves with Rachel.
I cannot contain my curiosity—I follow.
When I come outside with Arlen (Jarret’s brother), Jarret is alone in the backyard. “Where’s Rachel?” I ask. “She’s inside changing,” is the absent-minded reply. Jarret is standing behind the picnic table twirling a bamboo garden stake.
Rachel arrives.
She is now fully made up, eye shadow and liner, rouge on her cheeks, lipstick. She is dazzling ‘though the complete picture is somewhat marred by the radiant smile missing three front teeth—two up top, one below.
“Put down the stick,” she says.
“Why,” says Jarret.
“Because we’re going to get married.”
“You have to be exactly like me.” replies Jarret. Points the stick directly at her.
“Put down the stick,” she tells him, “Ward, tell him to put down the stick.”
I refuse to be pulled into it, “This is a game for two, Rachel,” I say, and am amazed how quickly that logic is accepted.
“Put down the stick,” she says.
“Why,” says Jarret.
“Cause I’m ready for you to chase me,” says Rachel, raising both her arms above her head.
Jarret doesn’t miss a beat, “If you want to marry me, then you have to chase ME.”
“No,” says Rachel, “ to get married, the boy chases the girl.”
“No,” says Jarret triumphantly, “the girl chases the boy.“
Rachel abandons the argument, “Put down the stick,” she says.
“No,” says Jarret.”
“Put down the stick.”
If you’ve ever listened to children arguing, we will pass on the next twenty odd exchanges.
Now, Rachel has moved around the picnic table to where Jarret is standing, twirling the stick. She grabs the stick and yanks it from his hands. She has the stick! She holds it aloft like the Olympic torch. She twirls it like a majorette. Jarret is nonplussed—which surprises me— anyone who takes something of his commits a most heinous crime.
I find out why he is so nonchalant.
Jarret grabs the stick near Rachel’s hands and pulls her to him and plants a big sloppy kiss on her lips. Rachel surprised, jumps back, then remembers their conversation about kissing as a proof of their marriage (which I have forgotten to recount), and leaps forward and kisses Jarret back!
Well … things quickly disintegrate. Jarret drops all pretense and leaps on Rachel, traps her head between his hands and proceeds to kiss her repeatedly. Rachel is elbows up, punching and pushing Jarret away. I move in and break up the now combatants.
The marriage ceremony is over. Minutes later the bride and groom are entranced, riding tricycles, pulling around wagons, bound to each other with skipping ropes, full of toys.

It just occurred to him, when did his culture become so rinky-dink? Everyone so messianically self-assured – always capable of passing judgment on anyone – when did it happen? He couldn’t put his finger on any moment but he felt it, and he was pretty sure everyone else in this culture felt it – because it had all slipped, seismically, a trickle of sand that turned into a torrent of bedrock that turned its back on us and slid into the abyss.

This thought occurred when he turned off the radio in disgust. The first thought had been: when did DJ’s start whining? Sure, on-air self analysis—that was OK, ranting—call it like it is—complaining, get it out—but whining? here is the DJ telling us about his mother who won’t take care of herself, won’t do anything they suggest, and always wants a pill to make it all better. He starts this private glimpse by starting with – “let’s talk about my Mother and her drug use”, and continues.

Driving, he just let the idiot prattle on. But when the music started he turned the radio off in disgust—with himself. He had just listened to that idiot go on and on – and that was when, looking out the window of the car watching various levels of the superhighway go by each etched with its trim of lights — he realized his disgust was generated by this DJ sharing with his audience this incredible judgment – that his Mother was worthy of scorn, derision, possibly a social outcast and lesser person because she wanted a drug to make things better!

He thought “I’d take a drug that makes everything better.”

The thought settled on him then. This conviction that everyone was willing to judge each other at a moment’s notice – harshly, vindictively. Because, after words, there would be general acclaim, sharing, and vindication. We judge to do so publicly and expect to be noticed in return. To be agreed with, to be deemed worthy of inclusion, rather than exclusion  — guaranteed certitude based and a smidge of self-importance. God, he thought, when did it all begin – the beginning of the end?

Then the sour thought occurred – no — this has been going on since… forever. Is that it? Is that our, mankind’s, fate? Mankind is an oxymoron?

(a quick note of explanation—this begins the 5th chapter of The World is So Poetic: Essays—it’s gonna be poetic prose for awhile — and how better to start than with a muse upon the obvious oxymoron “poetic prose”?)

George “scat!” pitter pat
was what he called himself,
and as cats go he wasn’t half bad
mainly because half wasn’t there.

He lost one life and
an ear to a carving knife.
The second went with a tip
of his tail to a block of cement.

His third life was spent
dying in a basement,
a bag of bones that pooped
and peesed whenever he sneezed —
he looked like he’d die
if you stroked, or squeez’d him.

Whether fourth, fifth or sixth is truly moot,
the next life George lost took off with his foot.
Hence his name — no pitter patter
just pitter pat (and an uncomfortable pause).

How many lives followed, attended by bits and tatters,
is known only by George, the parts don’t really matter.
He was singular — in almost every limb —
popular — he’s been all over the place —
at one with the world — it was as if he gave
everyone who knew him a little piece of himself.

So let us remember him as he was:
1) a cat with an eye out for you
2) always willing to lend a friend an ear
3) A paw you could count to three on
4) a tail half told
5) no worries regarding unexpected paternity suits
6) a smile that said, “I’ve had extensive dental work”
7) a nostril, a cheek, turned into one unspeakable orifice
8) three legs make it easy to curl up and nap this way — you should try it sometime

And so nine he died,
nine could not be denied.
His great heart tried
but this world he left behind.

Skit scat pitter pat,
George was not just half a cat,
he was much more than that.
George “scat!” pitter pat was always
greater than the sum of his parts.

%d bloggers like this: