Forever paused //poised?
Halfway out of my chair,
On the verge of standing,
I stop, impatient.
Like a cat pawing at a door,
I wait for someone greater
To grant me passage.
I crave escape,
But am too craven for an escapade.
I deconstruct myself.
In a sense, I am Jack.
I have built myself another,
Who has more fun,
Feels more alive,
And keeps his word
Against even Fate.
Man more than Nietsche could ask for,
Though not blond nor cruel.
An intellectual punk,
Savior from decadence,
Bourgeois socialist with buds in the Communist Party.
They hang out with VPs on Thursday evenings,
And drink coffee with the beats on Saturdays,
After warm summer nights not spent popping corn on Mama’s porch.
He is young, he is beautiful, and though he has not found himself,
He is not lost.
In a sense, I am not Jack.
I wrote a poem once, called “Ozymand . .”
The mind blanks, ideas slither away,
A decent beginning becomes stillborn
The child comes halfway out,
Then fades away.
I think I had an idea
Once exceedingly clear,
But now quite ineffable,
At least I can’t say it here.
As I graduated high school, my class declared me,
“Most Likely to Turn in a Paper Post-Humously.”
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
Saturday—parked on 6th street, Avenue B, NYC.
Tolls brought us down to $1.43.
Came back for classes, and Dad’s money.
Been thinking of moving to Hong Kong, for a while.
If I’ve got anything else to say
I don’t know.
Our existentialist pet cat
Has lived in this house longer than I have.
He sits and stares out the window all his days.
He longs to be outside, but is afraid of being locked out.
At least for him, he knows from experience.
I simply conjecture that it might happen.
Short skirt, clever shirt.
Long hair, stands there.
Will Penelope not wait?
I have frustrated words for her.
Like a dandelion, her love flies away in the slightest breeze.
It’s seeds wander far, landing at any likely location.
I am afraid she will never see me.
Or past first sight, The wind of my words may prove too strong.
Above a distant field, dandelion seeds
Hang in the air.
I am no Odysseus.
He struggled to return,
I have not even reached battle.
Whom do I quest for?
I too am the Seeker.
Trying to find myself in the city,
I noticed a sign at a museum,
“Fragile Stone Do Not Touch.”
My mind reaches out,
And the rock cracks before my hand can bridge the gap.
Can I hold nothing?
I imagine a man doomed.
His cookie said,
“You will live to a nice old age.”
Yet no one noticed him leave.
The Gods have cursed me for my hubris.
I am Odysseus.
“Oh, the Places you Could Have Gone”
Time I graduate I’ll be twenty-three.
Next stop grad-school, maybe.
It’s cold in my apartment.
Can’t find employment;
Nothing lights my fire, so to speak.
Girl I know killed herself last week.
Not sad much as frustrated.
Shouldn’t have procrastinated.
Sitting still, a sodden sack enslaved to electricity,
I find no solace in a restful evening.
It marks the end of a day’s bitter struggle with lack of motivation.
Meaningless leisure saps my strength.
Given a lifetime, I may be able to rise from my chair.
Ignore the inevitable.
The rain puts such a damper on things.
Calvin Klein, the great inventor,
Placed Eternity in a bottle.
I would drink, but I fear I could not keep it down.
For when I try to seize just a day,
I can’t empty my glass more than halfway.
My stomach upsets at the sight of a glass half empty.
Just an hour or so
Through raging traffic
And I thought
I had all day.
Oh, our cat cries, “Out!”
With a soft sigh-shout,
A bridled groan-growl,
And a curbed snarl-howl.
He scratches the door,
“Please, a little more.
(Freedom, excitement, Vacant enticement . . )”
But as he steps through:
He spies something new
The world is too much.
I crave escape, but am too craven.
Call me Kid.
I have fallen in love
With dreams I shy from pursuing.
I buy my coffee at Starbucks,
Spend my parents’ money,
And drink by myself,
Staring over the lid at imagined better lives.
I am fiercely immature.
Animated and nasal,
I speak with attempted eloquence
At pretty faces that frown
And grudgingly recite numbers
That I will agonize over,
Flustered and elated and terrified.
My life spills out past my parted lips
As I drink what I can
From the fountain that wastes so much purity
Down a drain sometimes fettered
By some ass-hat’s salivated gum.
I define what I am, what I want to be,
And become someone neither.
Call me not Kid.
Trying to find direction in the city,
I found that I could not lose myself:
She turned toward me.
Moments passed and I walked away.
Have a nice life.
I don’t know how many times I’ve told my life story—
hitting the key points, highlighting humorous bits,
and explaining the roots of my personality.
Over coffee, over lunch, over dinner,
during a walk in the park, or around the block,
the story has been rehearsed and rewritten.
Is it true?
Did I do these things?
Or do I remember them,
because I’ve said them so many times
that others remember them, too,
quoting bits as fact to friends,
until a stranger tells me about some guy he heard of
with a life like mine.
(My life is a gerund.)
Ring that fucking bell, Mister!
/ Shake that fucking change, Sister!
/ I don’t give a damn about your army.
You only need Salvation
/ If you’re wedded to frustration,
/ And I think that your God’s a fucking carnie.
“A Dimly Lit Liquor Store”
Glass shatters triumphantly
A brick’s majestic arc . .
Anne: I have to take notes or I’ll die.
To take notes, or to die, that is the question.
I prefer the languishing, fading existence of the slacker.
Ever bored with lecture and ignoring my withering life,
Sometimes I wonder if my pen should turn to other uses.
Anne: I think it’s an artform
Sylvia: Dying is an art.
Death! Death! Death is the answer.
I’ll never take notes again.
I am not sure what it is
About coffee and beer,
But their bitter flavours
Awake some lingering emotion
That begs me to find joy and hope In the gloom
That, on bad days, hangs thick
On skeletal winter branches,
As if leaves left ghosts.
Some days, it seems that we are all lost.
I tear at the trees, I scowl at the sky,
And I sing to myself, “and I don’t know why
/ Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike.
/ We’ve all …”
And I tangle with the sway of the Earth in the night,
When the crashing swell of the world scatters tiny lights
That Know and look upon life and smile wide and say to me,
The sky was so-oh blue today.
On those days I can wake, and on those days I can dream.
Call me not Everyman. I am special.
Last afternoon, my good friend told me,
“A great deal of your life is spent trying new things,
And being disappointed by them.”
After trying the orange flavor,
I had observed that strawberry was superior.
Mediocrity is a harsh mistress.
I’ll be glad when the sun goes down.
A blank book
Offers all the promise
Of the new beginning
I so often wish for.
As I write, I construct myself,
And realize that it is not me.
I cannot feel the future.
But hey, two out of three ain’t bad.