Let’s talk it out, I said, and we went on talking
until the words became honey
dripping down a face being murdered by bees.
And from there we rolled
down a bloodstained road,
entwined in each other’s forgetting.
Day after day we rolled and rolled
until we went over the edge.
We married and bore children to divert our attention
until the days ran dry.
And now no one remembers the stones we swallowed,
or the times we collided in the graveyard of shadows
hanging from the trees.
Leaving a Trail
Yes, try to smile. The invisible camera is watching.
The birds on the wire are tense, leaving one by one
through an air that has forgotten their names. In the
aftermath of so much bleeding, the hands turned blue
and the fingers stretched to the end of the path where
a man with a broken umbrella is twirling and twirling
around a statue of bones. Leading a brigade of hunger
and thirst, a recent suicide has returned for one more
performance, dancing with rubber legs and eyes that hang
from their sockets. My father used to say, Never bet more
than you can lose, and hearing little more than his voice
I would respond, The day is lost in the desert sands and
and the old woman weeps while the cows leave home.
I’m leaving now for parts unknown to man or beast,
leaving a trail of memories that burn through the skin.
I was lounging in the hotel’s graveyard when I realized
I left my passport in the bathroom of the hotel lobby.
When I got there, in its place was a good-sized fish with
the following words written on its side: “If you are Carey
Grant please take me home with you, and never do another
picture with Hitchcock unless he allows you to direct yourself.”
Picking up the fish it immediately disintegrated in my hands.
“This is a bad omen!” I thought to myself. And when I returned
to the graveyard I knew I was right because two dozen black
roses had replaced my chair and a huge red hand was sticking
out of the earth pointing directly at my wife who had turned
into a pig with the face of her father who didn’t like me
from the moment that we met.
I told them I would go if ordered to do so, but first
I had to brush my teeth and change my socks. They
put a rifle in my hands and said “If you don’t know
how to use it, just point it at anything that looks like
the enemy and then run like hell.” I thanked them
and when they weren’t looking I went back to bed.
I dreamed I was under water and that an octopus
grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into a lighted
den in which other octopuses were playing poker.
“I didn’t bring any money with me,” I said to the
others, but they just laughed and said how good it
was to see a human face, and have a chance to learn
what it’s like to live in a civilized society in which
people handled conflicts rationally and fairly. And
with that, I told them the truth as I knew it, which
generated responses like, “No shit! and “Fuckin’A!”
until finally the game was over and I found myself
on the front line pointing my rifle in every direction
I feared the enemy would be coming, and though
my arms were getting tired, I had no other choice...
Kneeling over the water I reflected on my own reflection,
but unlike Narcissus I did not fall in love with myself,
but asked how and why I’d made it this far with so little
understanding. And when I rose to my feet knowing that
eventually I would be hungry again and want to maintain
a roof over my head, I realized there would be certain things
I’d have to keep doing and continue to say to those of my kind.
And so I went on my way with a little perspective of how it
would be for the rest of my days...
if I’m writing this I’m still alive and there isn’t much to be done
until after breakfast at which time the noise in the air will be
deafening and the girls from across the street with fangs for teeth
will announce their candidacies for empress of the field in which
pumpkins grow so large you can build your own universe and bear
your children who will become serpents in the grass devouring and
spitting each other out at such a rate that one may wonder if there
will ever be a safe place again to call one’s own as you hide in the
shadows hoping to survive if only for another day.
Waiting to Hear
I was writing my memoirs when all of a sudden I ran out of life.
I had only three sentences but I thought they were good ones:
I was born caesarian when it was still considered a precarious
operation. Next, I had sex with a blond named Dolores in the
backseat of my parents’ Buick Special. And finally, when I
realized I had grown old, I couldn’t decide whether to commit
suicide, or keep flipping through magazines until I found a coupon
for a new life. I could say it’s been a long strange trip and that
I’m still with the same therapist who I pay $200 for a 50 minute
session in which I whine and complain, but find that when we
meet again he can’t remember a thing that I’ve said. If I felt lucky
I’d venture out into the darkness, but I’m afraid of the streets at
night and I never turn out the lights in my bedroom. For now,
I think I’ll make myself a salami sandwich and wash it down
with a bottle of pop. And who knows. . . maybe some day I’ll
return to my story with some brand new insights that will fill
many a page. I know that the world is waiting to hear from me.
Just One Dance
So I walked up to this pretty woman sitting there and said,
“Excuse me, would you like to dance?”
Looking me up and down she seemed to focus mostly on my shoes. Finally she said, “I will dance one dance with you only because you are wearing the same kind of shoes my father wore when he kicked us out of the house.”
“Why would you want to dance with me if he did something like that?”I immediately responded.
“Because it was the best thing that ever happened to me! I learned
to be self-sufficient and to trust my instincts, though for my siblings
it was disastrous!”
“What happened to them?” I asked out of curiosity.
“One became a thief; another a prostitute; and the other is president of the United States,” she answered. “The president is doing the worst. He no longer sleeps because of all the pressure and worrying.”
And just as she said, after our dance she went back to her meditation, and from what I saw, she refused to dance with
anyone else for the rest of the evening...