Sunday, November 07, 2010

Attired In Flames
for D.B.A., J.A., L. C. & A.W.

i.
maybe my life is too complex
for you to swallow or to attach to

maybe I should not blame
your insistence upon-
your choosing instead
a fresher start, a cleaner slate
a better state than I can offer

my notebook written in
written up, written over
in all kinds of ways
and scratched up
with things crossed out
or with things
I've attempted to cross out

things even I find difficult to live with
things which make life
my life, my story distasteful to me

things I have contacted, I've touched
and wish I never did

things and persons to whom I'm attached
and wish I never was

this picture of reclusive me, of detachment
a life of solitude, is false

things and persons to whom I am attached
and wish I wasn't
can pop up any minute, any time

like that night with you on the phone
when, in the dark, at my door
figures appeared and I was startled
and you abruptly rang off
choosing not to hang around

turned out it was my two sons
I am not entirely sure of

their mother is a monster
good at pretending to be a human being

I am certain you have enough monsters
of your own to deal with, to grapple with
to fight with

enough monsters of your own to live with
or to do away with

no need to take on my ogres as well
all of my unsorted things
and unsorted clothes

things which even I am overwhelmed by
when the weather's bad or turns bad
and the waves are high enough
to cover the hotels built along the coast

much less a couple in a pleasure craft
in a yacht or a flimsy dinghy boat
with a couple of paddles

with me with poetry and nothing more
to fight back with, with which to achieve
and to maintain a semblance of order

ii.
what is constant, what remains
whatever or whomever comes or goes
or comes and goes
pulling at heart strings
pulling strings and things
this way, that way

plucking things this way, that way
exquisitely or awkwardly
soothing or causing pain
dreamlike or nightmarish

what after whatever
in spite of whatever
remains constant, remains intact

me/I beating heart, breathing air
two feet to stand on, to walk on

was this date botched like this
because of Dee
because I told of that affair

should I have kept silent
is silence not often to tell a lie
secretive about
what should be confessed

embrace Weltanschauung
your own, gone to sleep
or put to sleep

wake it up
and in what sharp juxtaposition
to the world, to people in it

what I had to undergo to get here
to prepare
what I had to subject myself to

cleaning off, finding clothes
underclothes,
with so little clean to present myself in
to be presentable

under this shirt, undershirt
only one I had left
only one clean left, has holes

all this effort, preparation
and this delightful outing
interrupted, cell phone to consult
another date for this date to clash with

space and time to make poetry
if not to chitchat,
tête-à-tête unavailable
or that must end
or must be ended abruptly

and I have pen and I have paper
however inexpensive
to enter heaven via

iii.
it was a cold conclusion to a warm outing
it ended wrong

another date to run off to, to run onto

as if to say, don't let me keep you
no need even to linger
to deliver her usually awkward hug

delight in showing cold people
cold women that I know too
how to be cold

able to demonstrate to them/for them
how to act without feeling
how to drop it cold, as the saying goes

not being all sensitive all by myself
if cold it is, insensitive the way to go
the way to be, the way to behave
the way to heaven
let us together go
or together go to hell, attired in flames

prefer to be suited alike
rather than unique, rather than alone

outfitted in poetry though
my favorite attire

of this I never tire
nor will I ever in this life
retire my pen or retire my thoughts

iv.
his art to understand, his misdirection
is he misdirected

what alley, what lane is it
that he goes down, goes through
chooses when I'd wish he'd turn
otherwise, another way

where does he go
away from reality, away from real
away from true emotions
away from what happened
what happens, into fantasy
into what is sensational

like what goes on in
and on the Inquirer

kind of news I do not buy
I do not read

twist of happening
on the event that's life
I know not to trust

away from Eliot or Orwell
or Hemingway's By-Line
from which I recall

"Rocks are hard,
we are gonna make them soft
the ground is rough
we are gonna make it smooth"

words of several thousand
Chinese workers
during WW II
transforming a forest
into a landing strip

needed completed
to win the war, to end a war
before the war ended the world


© Obediah Michael Smith, 2010
Written on Wednesday, October 27, 2010
between 12 Noon & 11:30 p.m.

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