Monday, December 29, 2008

Poem for the evening: Pilgrim's Lot

Oh, would I throw away my pen,
spit dirty tobacco into my mug,
make up things and jobs to tell women,
as I walk the land lady's dog
in a stained white undershirt and muffled cap.
What kind is he? A rare breed,
rare indeed. Half man-half man;
half a man, actually. He comes
from the coward genus--
notice the sagging hips, the coal eyes
that once ignited everything.
Oh, if you could have seen him! So handsome. Mmm.

Yes, we should have coffee
sometime, or bourbon,
if you are that kind of girl. Back at my place,
I think of things to do.
If you can think for yourself,
perhaps you can unyoke my straining
mind, fishing quickly for things to bring us closer
to our end, turning a blind eye
to the apocalypse.
So, who will take care of your dog?
you ask, putting me in a tight spot.
More ginger ale? I wish I had something

more to offer you. I have one plate
and a bowl, a few forks;
Which would you like?
You frowned when I showed you
my reed mat, where all the harrowing dreams
of my quiet demise hover above my resting corpse
like chunky angels, driving their fish hook arrows
in and through me as i gently move
the hair in my nostrils with tender breath.
All a man needs is two feet
of space in which to lie, I told you. I catch your eyes
flitting towards the door.

A friend told me: all girls make sure they know
where the windows are, how many flights up,
if they could jump and not break anything.
I picked a woman up off the sidewalk once,
I tell you, to put you at ease,
On my way to court. She told me she was raped
in a man's bathroom, and had jumped out the window,
and broken everything.
I set her up and we had lunch
in Love Park, smoking Kool cigarettes, me trying to keep her
sober. But she kept falling.
She was very heavy.

I'll remember your name, of course,
when I am taking my cold morning shower,
watching the sun rise through the window,
wondering where you had gone that night,
when I turned to go to the bathroom.
I wish i could have offered you some reassurance to go
with your dry baguette and mashed beans.
That, of course, I did not plan for company.
I am new to the city, know nothing
but the few blocks from my cell, the corner store.
the paper, morning tea.
A man alone needs rituals, something,

to cut the quiet air with meaning, honing the sharp
edged intellect (such useless tender)
when bread lines stretch around city blocks,
the sound of bloated children wailing.
All the calamity in the world--
I know it will fall right here where I sleep.
So you see, I must keep an eye open,
lest I unravel carelessly like a ball of twine,
my oil lamp spitting out, flicking the last splashes of candlelight
against the white plaster walls.
It is better for a man not to marry, I reassure the chair.
Roll another plug, put out the light.

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