March 6, 2015
Shakespeare, Proust, Kafka, Camus, Orwell, Gissing: What do each of these distinguished authors have in common? They all produced a lot of great work, but surely their most important unifying quality is that they were all younger than me when they died. I have outlived Keats by a quarter of a century: that’s a morbidly sobering thought. But let’s leave poets out of this. In the time it took Balzac to write 91 novels, covering every aspect of the human condition in its myriad complexity, I have produced two very slender volumes of poetry, addressing a rather more limited sphere of activity… or rather inactivity.
October 20, 2014
Broke, bitter and alone.
What more could I possibly ask for?
I have failed, at last,
beyond my wildest expectations.
I don’t understand
why I’m still not satisfied.
November 8, 2013
The other lives I might have led
all now might as well be
dead. Survived by no one.
Barren, without issue of any sort:
this withered bud, failed
in art and love. With no time left
to change my course. But time enough
for infinite remorse.
October 10, 2013
There’s no point forcing it.
I’ve been forcing it for long enough:
going through the motions, motionlessly,
directionlessly, pleasurelessly. Attempting
is no longer tempting. Other than to furnish myself
with further proof of incapacity, there doesn’t seem
to be much point in trying anymore.
Maybe I can give up after all.
I should never have doubted my ability
in that area.
October 7, 2013
I may as well face the fact
that I am no longer capable
of doing what I once believed
I was capable of doing.
Not that I had any reason to assume
that I was capable of it.
It was just a feeling that I had.
And now I have a different feeling.
September 28, 2013
A destructive overawareness of time
knives through the hot empty spaces
of an afternoon. A sense of urgency vaporizing
into torpor. Even the traffic sounds tired.
Do something, I tell myself.
What? The same thing I’ve been doing
every day for years on end
with varying degrees of failure.
September 9, 2013
Passing the various stations,
the vicarious stations,
watching the other passengers get off,
without baggage, at the earliest stop –
once they feel they’ve done their time,
but wanting credit for riding it to the end of the line.
For at the terminal, what awaits?
Just a faded ticket, out of date.
July 29, 2013
I do not know the meaning of hard work.
But I know what it means to adhere
to a schedule of diligent work-avoidance
as if it were a regular job: a strict routine
of wandering around and lying down
and brooding over wasted time.
I don’t like to mix business
with anything, least of all pleasure.
June 10, 2013
Grooming myself for a career in failure,
I studied with masters.
Then I realized: they were successful.
For how would they otherwise be known?
There is a difference between the failures
of the successful and the failure of true failures.
A matter of sliding scale:
The failures of the successful are celebrated,
broadcast far and wide;
while the failures of failures are obscure,
buried with them when they die.