A poem: open to burn

c’est dommage: it’s too bad, and obviously abnormal, though I could be wrong:
love is a word, love is a chemical imbalance, love is a swordfish, a genie’s wish and
a spilled glass of burgundy on white shag carpeting;
I don’t know whether it’s good or bad that
tight bleached jeans and cowboy boots, sports bars and discotheques,
fashion magazines, double headers, office towers,
Sunday morning mass, the top-20, the national anthem –
all inspire me with the dumb grey stillness of a constipated storm cloud.
there is no hope, possibly, for comfort
for anybody, with a few exceptions – others who tried and ultimately failed
(but came so close to succeeding):
Poe, Plath, Hemingway,
Jones, Bonham, Moon,
Phoenix and Cobain.
there are those who simply took the shit the world gave them
and threw it right back with brilliance:
Burroughs and Bukowski come immediately to mind.
these types, the reciprocators, still exist
in various pockets, holes and cracks of this world:
morning disk jockeys, pit bull trainers, graffiti artists, buskers,
shoot fighters, pimps, pop stars. . . .
I guess the trimming of fingernails is significant
and a moth bouncing off a dying lightbulb
in a dusty room at four a.m.-
wanting the beauty, but not quite willing to burn for it;
or a cemetery of classified satellites and tincan coffins,
that coast the muddy orbit of your heart with their engines,
with their sour engines
that lick you and drift away
to the less certain tune picked off a broken Stratocaster;
or carrying heavy loads just for the hell of it
while smashed on good port, through all those styles and stares and points of view
that pull and violate your belly like the sorrow of fresh lost love.
and the spotlight, it’s never on,
rainsong and loss, loss. . .
redbacks, paperbacks, thighmasters;
unemployed, uninspired, unimpressed,
Hoon lying prone, tattoos fading into the bones.
a postcard from Vegas, okay, that’ll do,
or a rejection slip from Heaven, stamped by God’s secretary,
or a couple of wasted sluts ripping each other apart in a dark bar
thick with old love songs and impossible dreams.
and, usually, I can ignore it, comfortable at the bar
my tongue a pasty white, my eyes a lazy red
standing there thinking about Cohen and Miller and McCullers
and sometimes even Kerouac,
and conjuring up the sound of R.E.M: Half a World Away
maybe the Hip’s Every Time You Go.
waitaminute, I don’t give a shit, and it’s too bad.
I sometimes meet up with a woman I once thought I was in love with,
back when she was the editor of a university newspaper.
she tells me I’m usually right in my opinions
I’d rather not have opinions;
the world seems somewhat easier to live in when you don’t have to think about it.
yesterday I found myself under clouds in a park near the city center,
wanting something, needing something and
feeling something, and making my way out
I ran into an ex-girlfriend who always laughed a dull laugh;
she says she is happy, now, but she still bores me, and all around us
there were trees:
trees for birds to breed in, trees for dogs and bums to mark, trees waiting patiently
for their leaves,
patient as the spiders in the corners of my window and reaching.
then her last words disappeared, each of these words as temporary as seconds
with no tangible remains – it meant nothing to me – and I started walking home, wondering where it was,
and I knew what to expect:
a silent telephone, the neighbour’s radio, a headboard slamming into the wall,
a well-hidden scream.
then, it was a little strange,
I considered the love tragedies
that I have watched during the old love songs in the bar,
close to Shakespeare, close to Dickinson, close to Chopin. . . .
I’d prefer to think about it the way it was instead of the way it is
to delay the future, to procrastinate,
like the putting off of shaving,
and despite the fact that I remembered the editor’s words,
I think she lied.
but as to the furious late-night rhythm of mothwings on bulbglass
and the nervous shiver of winter branches in an impatient winter wind
I sometimes listen.

Dec 14, 06:00 (Filed under: Poetry )

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