Saturday, April 17, 2004


In A Minute You Can Read The Poem

My talky blogs and diatribes can be too long, I realize that. It’s clear that a poem can be too long, just ask anyone. Soon to follow here is one of my poems that’s too long! So you’ve had your fair warning. Go around the block and smoke a few cigarettes—okay, a Pack of cigarettes. In fact, there’s probably no point in you coming back until this time tomorrow.

I used to smoke three packs a day and I’m not dead. Still, I don’t think one has anything to do with the other. My state of health was TERRIBLE then, but I don’t mind that I don’t feel sick from it now. I certainly wouldn’t want to brag about my bad habits or having apparently escaped my just deserts. Things may yet develop. And there were other reasons to quit. I was stubborn for a long while, but things change. I mean, when the whole world decides that blue is poison, you eventually stop wearing blue even if it’s not killing you yet. In my case in this changing world, my smoking didn’t make me very popular toward the end. I got to where I had no place to go. My friends would try to make allowances for me, but I smoked TOO MUCH. You couldn’t just let me smoke one in a side room or out on the porch and then go on with life as you knew it in your house. I already needed another one! IF I had felt good, I would have still felt bad about it. I was a pariah, a bane on their existence, a likeable but unwelcome stinkpot.

But this is a terrible topic to drift onto. Those who have never smoked are unlikely to know just how much they’re asking of smokers. Those who’ve smoked for a long time and haven’t stopped yet can’t even imagine what a total relief it is not to be burdened with the compulsion, the harm, and the ostracism any more. Nobody’s life or habits will be changed by reading this, I’m sure, so why bother to try and trap a few souls into reading it?

How the hell did I get off on this topic? Perhaps because a beautiful and intelligent woman I met on the Web told me that she still smokes, and I thought that was so peculiar. I tend to think of smokers as being my age and older, stubborn old farts. Her smoking can’t hurt me, one would assume. She’s full of life, though, and not as old as I am, and I hope she keeps it that way. Full of life, I mean, not the “as old as I am” part. She might get as old as I am or she might not. I’m not preaching at her, I’ve already done that, I gave her my 5 minute spiel. I knew she knew it all. All that, I mean.

So I’m just talking out loud here and thinking how I never would listen to anyone, not at all, not for years, not until I coughed and hacked and felt incredibly bad morning after morning. How stupid we intelligent people are. It’s an evil that was handed down by many generations and many countries and it’s weird to think how many of them were so wrong about its pleasures and its good uses. Hell, many if not most societies, including the religious and moral elements, were just as addle-pated and committed and wrong about Slavery. As a species, we embrace stupid things with all our heart! Well, I’ve delayed it as long as I could; here comes the Long poem now! 3, 2, 1…


In time where dreams are spun,
In space where life is hung,
In good or bad taste,
All by salty tears are stung.

I plead the cause of no one,
Stained or pained or stunned,
But place the case before you like a brief
Or like dried leaves laid up in lavender and grief.

Touch me where I live, you see,
I will pin you to the wall.
I tried to touch you in my dark revolving dreams last night,
But your dream image shrieked and could not sleep.

In darkness where our bodies dared
I found a place to hide
And when you woke and found me there,
I attempted to confide

That I had come there
Like a child,
Someone too far from love
To say how many times he'd had to cry...

I was beating at your door last night like a
Man whose nightmares had driven him too far,
Storming your defenses like some despair-impaired old
Paladin whose weary soul long past had lost the war.

Where dark and darker dreams preside I heard
The stirrings of your golden gown against your flesh
And sensed your scent and breathed your breath
As you tried to turn the vicious volume down.

Your long blonde hair shone brightly
As I bent to kiss your face,
But the darkness bred in me took my sight away—
You were gone again without a trace!

When I thought I had seen the victims of the vision,
Clearly and with such precise survey,
I filled in the prescriptions
And put our names to all the forms.

Now I give myself
The status of a legal clerk
And then proceed to process everything
As if it were a thing to eat.

Your papers are in order
And so I give you leave to stay.
Attend now, pray, to what
I swear at you is true:

Although the documents which I possess
Are random proofs of how I wish the world to be—
Mere clues or dregs, rat’s droppings, iridescent traces—
Some part of me keeps insisting it knows the truth of everything.

So much it seems a point of view
Reflects the things we dream.
It seems so clear the life of everyone
Is flowing in a stream.

Yet I obsess how hard it is
To touch the truth or trust the sense of anything
And can't suppress surprise how life exchanges roles
With phantoms, ghosts, and lies.

I play the game like anyone, perhaps just not as well.
I go and seek and hide,
Linked by traces, visions, scents, and stains
To all those stinging tears of pride.


3rd draft: 04/13/04

Coming Attraction (Oh, lord why did I ever mention this and promise I’d finish it?!): GOOD REASONS FOR BAD DRIVERS

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "An event is such a little piece of time-and-space you can mail it through the slotted eye of a cat." -- Diane Ackerman, From "Mystic Communion of Clocks"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)