Archive for March, 2021

March 16, 2021

Pilgrimage


Snow falls outside the hotel window,
floating carelessly through the air…
and I don’t care.
The town spreads out below me:
A sprawling red brick dream,
with white capped peaks beyond.
But I don’t respond.

Crushing boredom, grueling emptiness,
purifying alienation:
This is exactly what I came here for.
There is nothing more.

The snow brings silence with it,
sinking into the frozen darkness of a Sunday night.
On these tired, sour, leaden streets,
the bitter desolation is too much to take
for very long.  I return to my station:
stretched out on a bed,
gazing at a distant mountain range
or staring at a faucet in a trance.
It’s not refreshing, it doesn’t seem strange
and seductive, as it appeared in advance.

Far from the City of Refuge,
with no practical scheme,
constantly ruing the latest version
of what might have been; emptying myself
into the emptiness, negotiating the rush,
as a pick-up truck plows through the slush;
and I resign myself to another night, another day,
serving out a sentence.
I told myself I’d stay.

Outsiders here are quickly identified:
they’re clean-shaven.
I observe the bartender’s warmth
with other customers.
Surrounded by laughter,
I watch the bubbles in my beer,
shooting from the bottom of the glass
to a rapidly nearing surface, evenly spaced,
like asteroids in a primitive video game,
and leave unthanked.

On the street a creature is drawn to me:
a vicious black dog, grudgingly restrained
by an unapologetic owner.
These excursions strike me now,
as they always strike me at this point,
as being selfish and pointless.
What am I doing here?
When will I learn?
Despite all the goodwill I brought with me,
the place gave me nothing in return.

March 7, 2021

The Creative Process


The moment slipping away,
sinking into the unseizable day.
The sapping sun, the sadness
kept at bay; the churlish thoughts
that are allowed to circle freely,
while clinging
to a perverted form of integrity.
A threadbare urgency,
as pointless as poetry
but tighter than time.

March 5, 2021

Couples At Parties


Why do couples always appear tired together at parties?
Was the process of finding each other so exhausting
that they now need to take a long rest?
Or are they worn out from the effort of pretending
to be interested in anything other than each other?
Being charming with strangers seems quite pointless
at this point.  It is draining maintaining
this front:  She’s hardly there at all.
She sits on his lap, yawning.
She feels sorry for you
because you can’t have her,
and she distrusts you
because your hungers are unaccounted for;
while he seems distant but content,
happy with his choice.
Holding her hand signifies his priority,
and it will remain held as they drive home,
their reserves finally unflowing,
giving voice to sympathy
for those unfortunates
who do not have
what they have.

March 3, 2021

World on a String


Beneath the unforgiving staleness
of the lucky old sun,
on the sunny side
of the empty street,
what’s left of the past dries up
in the heat.
Not far from the wedding chapels
and the sea of fun,
the action drains
into a slum.

It is quieter here,
the people are thinner,
the world’s un-stringed,
and everyone’s a sore winner.
That’s life, frankly sinful: entertaining
the possibility that life might be more
than a series of missed opportunities.

Riding a lukewarm streak
into a lonely road and a memory.
Sensing the disinterest, feeling
my insignificance, made keenly aware,
in a world of burgers and fear,
of my newly minted irrelevance.

Out here, you are nothing
and the past is paste,
as the world’s indifference shifts
into fragmented waste.
From sedentary restlessness
to flaneurial nausea, pursued by
but eluding grace.

Days of futile transit
redefine my sense of wonder.
Manifesting without the emptiness
within, between lesser known ruins,
in a promised wasteland
of lost opportunities.
When I catch myself unawares,
in the November of my years,
I’m hardly even there,
and I have never been so tired
of talking to myself.

March 2, 2021

Springtime in an American Town


Why is it that I only ever notice my gut in motel room mirrors?
Perhaps obesity is contagious in these parts,
the natural result of pride and fear.
And why am I not noticed here?
Barely branded by sidelong glances
in one dead-eyed town after another
by a populace whose chief talent lies in the ability
to instantly distrust anything they don’t understand.
The feeling is mutual.
I have passed like a ghost through your cities,
scavenging for scraps of the past.
I have rambled, ambled, bled your cities dry,
arriving at the end of the trail of trash,
weighed down on the great white way,
on tired streets of dead blood-red brick.
And I have found the old buildings,
in all their purity, perfectly preserved, in paint
on the sides of new buildings
in towns like silences
that need not be filled.
And there is nothing left anywhere
that hasn’t been turned over and undermined
by overawareness.
For in this tarnished day and age
the luster of everything must be restored
and celebrated with meat and sugar,
and a soundtrack of feigned emotion.

 

March 1, 2021

Holding Pattern

She demanded to be held.
So I held her.
She collapsed lifelessly into my arms
and remained there
while I lay there, with mind elsewhere,
wondering how much longer
I was supposed to hold her for.

After what seemed like a long time,
I gently disengaged myself
and got out of the bed.
She looked coldly up at me from the pillow.
She said that she would find somebody else:
Somebody who would want to hold her
for two hours
after an act of love
that lasted two minutes.

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