The very random thoughts that occupy my head. I don't think I ever stop thinking about music or poetry. I hate my job, but I'm leaving that off here. Basically, it's all about me...
Poem for a girl named Jersey
Six years isn’t long enough to know
that you can’t trust most people,
even when one of them is your father,
who chained you to a dresser to keep
you from sleepwalking, to keep you
from raiding the refrigerator,
the hunger pains affecting your brain.
It isn’t long enough for you know
that some older men are sick and twisted,
even when one of them is your neighbor,
your babysitter, takes you to a house nearby
that no one lives in, just to get off,
just to hurt you, strangle you and leave
you discarded, like old banana peels,
like a vessel without a heartbeat.
You should have been running home
from school, excitedly talking about your
day, talking about your favorite tv show,
drawing with your favorite colored crayons
from the box, finding your favorite glass
to drink out of for dinner, falling asleep
on the sofa, covered in a blanket with
your favorite stuffed animal.
In six years, you learned how to smile
and cover up all of your suffering and
no one knew how hard those six years were.
Yes, I sort of did this to myself. I stayed up (in bed) and watched the Broncos/Chargers game. I had to know if Peyton Manning could pull off another comeback, and he did. Still, I burned every ounce of energy left in me at work. I’m broken down and ready to crash. I don’t know how I’m going to make it to 3.
I need to be writing. I think I’ve written the last of the ghost poems. I need to edit the remaining poems. Some have been edited already, but more need tweaking. Once I’m happy with them, it’s manuscript time. I will soon have two new manuscripts ready to go. Woo fucking hoo. Remind me…who’s reading these? Yeah, that would be no one.
Is it wrong to have a crush on a poet friend? I think this girl is great. She’s smart, talented, funny, cute and some other adjectives. She’s way cool. It’s a crush. That’s all it is.
Much of my time is consumed with the thought of loss. The loss of friends over the years…and now. The loss of youth, which sticks me in some vortex where I’m not entirely over the hill, but nowhere near what I used to be. The loss of health, knowing that things on me are aching more, the pains are more painful and the paranoia of wondering if something big could be wrong with me. The loss of life. My ex-girlfriend Jessica died this year. She was 35. Thirty. Five. My father has Alzheimer’s. Is this in my future? My mother turns 72 this year, and doesn’t care to go to the doctor terribly often when things are wrong with her. She is more high strung than ever. I think about losing people all the time and mostly wonder…should I care anymore? Perhaps the best situation for me is to be entirely alone, to revert to that five year old who spent most of his time alone, playing with Matchbox cars by the pantry window and making his own world of friends and situations. I get exhausted with letting people in. I grow weary of trying to help people who won’t help themselves. (I love my little sister dearly, but I just don’t think she listens to me at all.) Mostly…I’m tired. So tired. I don’t even know what I want anymore. I know it’s not this. This is not living. I will never be happy working where I do and living from day to day. This wasn’t supposed to happen. What if I’ve given up?
Today I had to say goodbye to a friend. She’s moving to Florida. We had coffee at Starbucks, had lunch at Saladworks and we both braved the wind while she attempted to light and smoke her Camel Menthols. Alas, I forgot my Djarum Blacks on my desk. Her significant other is coming up on Friday and she and he will be driving down to Florida. I don’t know when I’ll see her again. I haven’t been this sad about losing a friend in a long time. She would tell me that I’m not losing her, but she won’t be here. We can’t just meet at a Starbucks on a whim. She can’t just stop over and workshop poems with me while I brew a pot of double chocolate Ghirardelli coffee. We hugged several times. Long. I kept my pitiful half grin on while she got in her car, situated herself and then waved at me before she drove off. I think there were some unspoken words there. Some emotion that both she and I shoved in some proverbial box and left on a top shelf under some old linens, or something. I have so few good friends. I think the rest of the day, I’ll just stay in this reflective mood…and wish the best for her…and miss her like crazy. Goodbye, B. I hope your days in Florida are filled with everything you could ever want. Someone up here will be missing you terribly.
Somewhere in Wonkaland?
In the basement, underneath the steps
there is a closet that holds a large
green container. In this container are
hats that I’ve collected over the years,
but not the one hat I was sure I had when
I rummaged through its contents, carefully
placing the pennants that rest on the top
off to the side and then removing layer
after layer of hats. There are hats from
teams that do not exist anymore, like the
San Antonio Riders and the Sacramento Gold
Miners, hats from defunct leagues like the
XFL and USFL, but not the one hat that eludes
me, the hat that a bought at a place called
The Academy in New York City at a concert.
The words “Veruca Salt” are stitched in white
in a red oval patch on the front of this black
hat. I could not have inadvertently, carelessly
dropped this hat in a trash can. I do not
remember it being frayed, water damaged or not
wanted. Why would I ever throw away anything
from a beloved 90’s alternative rock band? I
suppose it is in the vast abyss that holds so
many pieces of my past that I still lament.
I had to leave the house and its distractions,
the noises from passing cars by the window
and the birds nesting somewhere on the roof
of the house. That room, that tomb I allow to
hold me lazily, that sterile, loveless air that
keeps me from interacting with Blair, keeps me
from hearing what I swear are her toes grazing
the surface of the water as she walks to me,
no matter what bench I choose to sit at. I watch
the still waters and wait for her to come to me,
to tell me what I have to do to leave this place,
this holding cell of an existence and spend the
rest of my moments in her embrace. I feel an energy
slowly encompassing me, like arms stretching from
behind my body, a whisper in my ear, “There is a
way, love. Do you trust me?”
It was a plastic monstrosity that seemed more
like a recliner with a giant wheel in the front.
I remember pedaling at full speed down the sidewalk
of our dead end street and abruptly jerking the
brake on the side of it, making it spin in a circle,
sometimes tipping it, sending me off the seat and
onto someone’s front lawn. I used to see bigger kids
on bikes and get jealous of how much faster they
maneuvered around the street, so I took it for granted,
abused it a little more until the frame started to
crack, told my parents I was too big for it and asked
for a bike. Now, I can picture its broken shell sitting
out next to the trash cans - its molded wheel treads
worn to synthetic shreds, its insides filled with
rainwater from the night before as I walked out of my
house to go to elementary school the next day. I should
have known that growing up was highly overrated.
Another ghost poem…it’s getting serious. What will become of them?
Among the sound of birds and passing boats
It was as if she had actually walked along
the marshy edges of the river, lifted
by the plant life that poked their heads
up from mud and debris that rested nearby.
Her lips fixated in what looked like a
permanent pout, as she glanced up at me and
pushed a sigh of a statement from her mouth,
“All of this trash washed ashore makes me so
very sad.” She continued towards me, rising
from the dropoff between the riverbank and
the grassy area, moved closer to the bench
where I rested my tired body. I didn’t even
flinch when she sat next to me, so casually
as if blood coarsed through her veins again.
She told me that it sometimes takes a lot of
energy for her to walk this far. I told her
that I would carry her home if I could. I
could feel warmth move through my body as
she rested her head on my shoulder. “You are
kind,” she said. She told me she felt
incomplete, that she needed to know what it
felt like to love. I had to tell her now that
I was falling for her, that she consumed my
every thought, that everything I had written
was for her. I told her that I was desperate
to touch her, instead she raised her hands
to my face and again I felt warmth over me
as otherwordly fingers gently brushed my skin,
her eyes like bullets penetrating mine. She
whispered, “I so wish you could kiss me.”
A postcard poem…
Greetings from Riverside
You cost me a lot of sleep this month -
just wanted to let you know that when
you’re done, I’m taking a break.
You won’t hear from me for a while.
I’m getting accused of being distracted
and consumed by words and I don’t need
anymore nagging right now, from you
or anyone else.
You’ve taken too much of my time already,
so I’m sending your calls to voice mail
for the entire month of May.
Don’t knock at the door.
Oh yeah, I don’t answer the doorbell, either.
These are the last words you’re getting out of me.
Another of B’s prompts was to write a poem where you personify the poem. Here’s my attempt.
That poem I trashed
Decided to come back and demanded to
know why I gave up. I tried to reason
with it, tell it that it was just going
nowhere, but it wouldn’t listen. It
called me a quitter and coward and slapped
me in the face. I was a little surprised
that something with such minimal power could
cause me to recoil, but then, it broke down,
started sobbing. I tried to console it, but
it swatted my hand away and screamed at me,
telling me that it was too late and that it
only came over to tell me that I’d regret
giving up on it, told me that its words would
fit better in the hands of a better, more
seasoned and lauded poet than I. That was
what stung me the most. It turned away from
me, told me it was going to a former poet
friend’s house and slammed the door.