Showing posts with label Prose poem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prose poem. Show all posts

Friday, December 7, 2012

Notes for an epigraph

Sometimes I wonder if I was born or merely set aside in another dimension of newspaper grey , launched into this world because what ever the case was running low on the premium designs. There is only a bit of eccentric preferences  is something I imagined being whispered before the precise time of my first curtain,  even if there is only the generic personality with him going into this  game, perhaps experience as he acquires months and then years will ignite original, something as forgivable as a personality. Then he may either shine upon the existence he has, or he can merely glare in the corner of the room, from the ceiling down.

It's a habitual thought, a shudder of doubt when staking hands or crossing streets or visiting people who and which are so familiar, to complete in intimate nuances and shared knowledge that they seem alien and strange, like specimens under glass in a museum I keep visiting for a lesson that just keeps turning the corner to the next gallery when my hard shoes hit the tile. Everything I look for is just out of focus, short of the designs I see and have drawn. 

As the case may be, I was fascinated by the notion that what was really happening amid all the bustling hustle of the life lived fully was going on off stage; I am not the only  one who has thought this, as there are Twilight Zone episodes and the like where a citizen happens upon a group of stage hands setting up the next scene in his life. It's a writer's conceit, I know,  and it smacks of all the obvious tenets of self-reflective, a literature that draws attention to it's own narrative artifice. It is , perhaps, because I am closer to the the punchline than I am to the day of my birth that makes me wonder whether there will be laughter, applause or groans and    tears when the last of me releases the grip . 

Believing the world is seeing beyond the box scores and trusting what it says on the certificate; the biography has already been started, a page of facts that have gotten absurdly complicated, in love their own inventory of details that are pressed now in their uniqueness, creased and pleated, ready for rough waters I imagine await at the end of the map, where boats fall off and drift with sails full of solar wind until I wake up and yawn and scan the items on the table, the newspaper, the dirty bowls, someone else's pack of Marlboro 100s. The universe is reassembled, seamless as death itself. 

Years ago I wondered if there was life on other planets precisely at the time when she left me, or asked me to leave, I wondered who else in this darkness knows this hurt as well as I?, and I stared for hours at her apartment as if trying to make the walls fly away, to lift her off the sofa, away from her meal , and bring her into my arms where I stood in the dark, next to a payphone, with out change to call out far enough to the wilderness where there is only wind and tall grass, maybe houses at the bottom of canyons that you see from jets leaving your home town before you enter the clouds that will drag on the wing span, I would stare and the walls would stay where the carpenters intended them to remain, there was nothing to see, but I stared harder, right through the building, to the stars I knew were there, receiving radio waves, TV shows, thoughts of strong desire translatable only by action, hear me, hear me, who else shivers in a dark corner in unique misery, genius of articulated regret, who else speaks when no language gets the purity of the idea right, just right, thus forcing one to live in craziness, at the end of the alley, drinking from bottles I've pealed the labels from? 

As usual, the stars don't answer, they don't say a word.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You are what you think you're eating

A knife , fork and a cracked plate don’t constitute a meal , though all three items are handy for show, as are empty frames on the wall when there is any kind of company visiting , who demand our attention, taxes, documents of your legal rights, you just say it’s the wall you wanted to highlight, the frame is only a, well, a, well, uhhhh,a framing device!to bring a viewer’s attention to the rub of the paint, the embedded fingerprints, the light switch in the center. Likewise, it’s knowledge we’re hungry for, isn’t it? Knife, fork, cracked plate are about the idea of eating as others go without forks, knives, or cracked plates.
This is to insist that I have always believed in love and virtue and connecting words that  give the typist permission to push the sentence further than the original idea needed,the original excuse desired as a pretense of  topic, we need these words to join and twist and coil around the legs of the table and then to find their way through the living room and into the front yard , we need to let the sentence become the vine tangling upon itself, in love with it's embrace, sleepy and ready to elongate again should the batteries on the smoke alarms die and whistle their frantic warning that their voice is softer now, gone with the smoke.
 Dead ethics professors choke in non-intrusive urns and French deconstructionists blow kisses from balconies and any perch they can secure, Appearances are misleading, explanations are fictions worth listening to for the way the words are warped and wrap around each other until it’s not reasonable descriptions of a material world we are listening to, but rather melodies flitting about like nervous birds trapped in a small cage, a messy page of tuneless songs, all this for a description of my house that now seems to rest on top of a giant hill, bracing clouds and tree tops, a form I’m filling out asking me to describe myself and all the desires I would bring into the world if finances would allow, I would allow everything is what gets written, and everything not forbidden would be inscribed in the rhetoric of future tense, when software anxiety rules the body electric.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

A moment and then another moment

She crosses the street after standing at the corner for minutes that seemed nothing less than hours. He watched ,thinking of lyrics to write. She stood at the corner, jabbing the button of the pedestrian signal box, looking across the street as if to see if perhaps a store she wanted to get to before they closed might have flipped the sign over in the door, from "open" to "closed". 

As if she could see through all that traffic.
I know, he thought, a song about a guy watching a woman trying to cross the street while he tries to imagine a lyric he might or might not write. The irony, he thought, or was it just laziness? All these bagels are cold and hard as tile. He lights a cigarette, dumps the match in his ash tray. The woman is across the street, and vanished into a parking structure.
"May I have another Latte?" he asks a passing woman carrying a tray to the cafe service station.
"I don't work here" she says without breaking her stride. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The shiny lights of the season

It was a room full of things  like broken radios, wood furniture, rusted patio chairs, paintings of paper boats on Central Park ponds, newspaper stacks and boxes full of cleaning supplies and parts of battered reed instruments. It was a room full of thing she was interested in, as the years that have gathered behind her took with them a large share of the sum of her interests in the life she passed through as though she were a mist settling on the hours and minutes in the lives of other people. She looked out the window at the neighborhood that sprawled street by street , perfect blocks of homes, drive ways and detached garages, each doubtlessly hiding mute dramas behind the line of trash cans and compost heaps. This is where all the bottles are buried, she thought, this is where he daughter learned about boys and the zip less seduction, this is where her husband gave her secret names under supermarket signs, this is where decals with insane eyes gave the corroding silver trim of American cars a signal that age comes to any set of machines and animal limbs, that things pile up and become nothing at all when memory flickers or is distracted by strings of fire crackers or  the shiny lights of the season

Friday, February 10, 2012


I was told to have a seat while the managers finished their discussion in the other room, but I looked hard and long at the chair they offered me, a kitchen chair with a vinyl covered cushion that was tan colored and creased in an inept machine tooled method to make the surface appear like leather. The lights in the room dimmed somewhat and it seemed as if the entire floor of the building had become one large elevator car; I could feel myself sinking to the depths below the stomach to where nausea was a brew always waiting at the table you walked away from in a hope that you could learn new ways to slake a thirst. You return to where you were continually ill, you return to the place where disasters occur like the arrival of mail and small teeming insect colonies when the weather gets warmer. Strange how I got tired of a life that made made sense without explanation, a life where every decision was followed by appropriate response , with the results being an equilibrium not unlike a placid like dreamed of in a passing Idyll, smooth surface, calm waters, perfectly diffused sunlight . I got tired of that and wanted to lurk around the basement again, to wallow among the empty boxes and bottles behind the figurative water heater; life should be a series of pipes that leaked contentedly. So here I was, on the third floor staring at a kitchen chair's cheap vinyl covering, waiting for the managers to finish their discussion in the other room.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Paragraph about a being a paragraph

The paragraph you're reading.
We will call this a paragraph and pray to the gods of limitless expansion that there is enough energy to bring this sentence another two lines further down the space I have given myself to type a coherent , albeit self aware sentence that serves no purpose other than to stare back at the reader in an expressionless, unblinking stare--metaphorical expressionless stare, of course--and qualify that stare with an equally suggested shrug of the language defined shoulders, a skinny, surly punk of a paragraph sentence that could care less what your trying to read into it now matter how powerful your readerly intents and desires, a sentence that is cool and impervious to what needs to be confirmed in our world, a sentence that will win because it will not let the air outside it's self referring walls inside; we can almost detect the faint reek of dust mites that have gathered on the shuttered spines of the books that have not been read for twenty years or so which have been squared away in unmarked boxes and grey shelves that are exposed to whatever moisture and elemental tears a store room gathers after the will is read. This paragraph divides into two sentences and a gratuitous image simulating a snap shot you think you saw once in a family basket holding hundreds of other Polaroids is tossed in for confusion's sake--a young girl, age four, standing in the middle of a snowy street bundled up to her small face except for a left boot, which is missing, stuck in and removed by a muddy incline she tried to walk over--and this becomes the point where the paragraph begins a long spiral upward, like ashes up a smoke stack from some merciless incinerator, up the concrete tubing to a sky that is not clear as this paragraph might have been, but is encumbered with clouds and thick flocks of birds crossing the face of the moon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Several shy poets rent a room

Who are these scribes and pens, coughing up balls of dust each time a floor board creaks underfoot or a cat on the porch meows and scratches doors, looking for a family to move in with? Handwriting is a trail of tears and terror under the singing springs, there are bills to pay, stamps to lick, a metaphor to ponder as fingers stroke pens to remember an address while cramped under a mattress .What shall we write about, oh yes, half a bird on the sill, a lone cup on the far table, ankles defacing the knot holes with unforgiving heels, but now, is the coast clear, is there anyone watching?

We leave them their food on white plates with clean silverware, paper napkins at best, and then leave room where we can hear all their furious scribbling about the truncated view proceed as if it were a race, the tips of pens and assorted quills tearing across pages of journals and the lines of otherwise blank pages, riots of images of strange sights, a world espied through mail slots and around the corners of doors left ajar.

We leave them their food and then leave, closing the door, and suddenly there is laughter up and down the hall, cartoon soundtracks, sound effects of things bouncing and springing from wall to wall, pies in the face, Splat! We walk away and mind our own business because the rent check cleared and that's all that matters on day full of sunshine and screaming two year olds who have harried moms with hairless arms and penciled eyebrows who refused to buy them fifty cent pieces of candy wrapped in tri-colored tinfoil. The day is too nice to get jacked up on sugar, some little person needs to take a nap, nothing     on earth right now rhymes with serenity and steady nerves, let us go to the beach and stare at the waves that collude with the pipes that bring it the runneling waste of the city, let us consider the poets as they look through the movie times and menu prices of what this town brings to their table.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Greased Lens

This isn't what I was bargaining for, he thinks, never a cab in sight when I want one and damn, the cigarettes are gone, all gone, nothing but stubbed buts all about my shoes.It was cold , and the night in front of him seemed nothing less than a sheet of black ice through which the lights of the city shone through, high beams and store displays blurred like traffic lights a greased lens. He breathed into his hands, ignoring the urge to count his change again. It was a few coins, mostly quarters and nickles, that he scraped together passing a hat around a crowd in the park that afternoon while someone else played jazz saxophone by the water fountain. Man, he thinks, I have got to get some more money together.