Posts tagged ‘Boredom’

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 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.

January 31, 2012

MAKING THE ROUNDS

A small crowd mills around on the sidewalk outside an art gallery. I am waylaid by an acquaintance who introduces me to his friends: a pair of women who are making the rounds. It’s fashion night, so, naturally, they are at an art gallery.
It quickly becomes apparent that we have nothing to offer each other.
“I have no nocturnal energy,” I say to one of them, a blonde from Texas.
“Maybe you need a stimulant,” she says.
“No thanks.”
“You don’t take stimulants?”
“Only during the day,” I say. “What does one do at night anyway but wander around drinking and making small talk with people one doesn’t care about?”
Her friend is thin and pale; she is wearing hot pants and high heels, and she has eyes of such vacancy that they are frightening to gaze into. Thirty seconds after being introduced to her, probably figuring that I’m not young, famous or wealthy enough to bother with, she returns to texting.
A fat man in shorts, T-shirt and baseball cap walks by.
“Obviously he’s out for fashion night,” I remark.
“What?” yelps the brunette, annoyed to be interrupted by a demand upon her attention in the non-digital world. She seems affronted that somebody might  have the audacity to possess a sense of humor, maybe even a personality, which immediately marks them as an alien being from the real world, beyond the borders of the art-damaged sphere she inhabits.
I repeat my observation but she has already returned to the urgent business on her iphone, an aimless creature of the night, a black hole, looking for action, for the next place that she can stand around texting at.
I excuse myself and enter the gallery, where clusters of young people stand around playing with their cell phones and quaffing cans of Tecate.
A slightly raised circular wooden platform with lights around its edges occupies the room. It was once part of a famous singer’s stage set. An artist got his hands on it, and now it sits, stripped, in the middle of a gallery. Now it is art. Although, if it wasn’t in a gallery, one might not recognize it as such.
Every half hour the artist crouches down on the floor and spins the circular platform slowly around while fiddling with various switches that cause the lights to flash on and off. This performance lasts two or three minutes, for the duration of the song by the famous singer that is playing on the artist’s headphones, unbeknownst to the attendees. For this work the artist has received a substantial grant.
Back on the sidewalk, due to the exigencies of social protocol, I am once again thrust into conversation with my acquaintance and his friends.
“What were you doing in Dallas?” asks the Texan woman.
“I was with a  band,” I reply.
Instantly, the stringy brunette looks up from her texting, her dead eyes come to life and something resembling an expression flickers across her pallid features. The magic words have been spoken. I am now worthy of interest.
“What band?” she asks.
“It doesn’t matter,” I say, refusing to gratify her feeble attempt at curiosity.
She returns to her texting, and I walk off.

Artillery, 2012.