To hear this poem go to
We sit in opposition
Like cars gearing up for a
Game of chicken.
The wind blusters in your
Eyes, your piano voice comes
In crystals. I feel the years
Between us that have
Fallen off, revealing a hard
Skeleton of love in place.
How we try each
Other for fault! Your vanity,
my hands cut off at
The wrist. I have no
Stomach to pick through
These remains again or retrace
Plot points on the map
To here. I see it as a
Happy accident that
We have survived
Together at all,
Certainly not any of my
Doing. Was it the god
Of inertia who intervened,
limited horizons pressing
Were we not brave enough,
and if so,
Has it not taken us down
Was it something else entirely,
A flame of recognition
That held a mutual gaze
And burned everything else
And if it doesn’t come you wait some more,
It is something like fishing
Except you don’t do it in the sun.
It is not exactly pleasant
And it is not exactly unpleasant either
Why you do it
is difficult to answer.
It has something to do with compulsion
Your having to know that you can,
On that day
come up with something
That will definitely surprise you.
So you court the gods gravely and fervently
Because you know that it is not really
You at all who is going to do the work.
It is rather a chorus of Voices somewhere
Inside your nervous system
that will come to visit you,
Bringing with them words as gifts to you,
Which they offer in muffled tones or
In fits and starts, or in lengthier
Instalments that you take down
At your keyboard you hope in the right
You want to receive the message correctly
not mishear it,
And you have to learn to trust that what they tell you
Is in fact the truth because you have no way of verifying
Of course there will be at some point an overseer who
tinkers and censors
A sort of Father Figure editor
Who must get the package wrapped correctly.
But that is the easy part really because the gift is already
or in part.
Later, you and others will determine whether it was
A cheap gift or an expensive one.
You will provide your signature,
The Voices will be relegated to obscurity.
You know in your heart that you are probably
At best, an interceptor,
And the Voices will not be there to either
Confirm or deny it.
We have all been insulted some time or other in our life. And it is important that one learns to take insults well if we are to retain any measure of self-respect. When someone says to you, “Why don’t you go fuck yourself?” How can you most handily respond to that?
Act interested . Go, “Why don’t I go fuck myself, indeed?” Have your fingertip at your lip, your head cocked at an upturned angle while you say this. It is possible, though unlikely, that the big-mouth will join you in attempting to answer their own question, Or you could choose to remind them it is none of their business. Your insult to them. But the better course is to stay on the high road and not play tit for tat. It is possible that the person decides to up the ante with a more direct “Fuck you” or “Fuck off.”
Now you must clarify matters. Explain to the frustrated soul that you don’t wish to do either. Be firm but kind. Remind them that we live in a democracy, that they are neither your guardian nor your stockbroker (if in fact it is the case) and that you don’t wish to take their advice. Or, contrarily, that you may just do what they have suggested. Thank them for their tough-love manner and wish them well in their day.
If this leads to a physical threat, raise your hand and take on a stance of “Brother, you know not what you do!” in the style of Harvey Keitel, admonishing his flock in Martin Scorcese’s old movie, The Last Temptation of Christ. It is always useful to have a model in mind when you make a magnanimous gesture. It may even get uglier. If so, employ one of Ghandi’s tactics and sit on the ground. Do not allow yourself to be hurt, but don’t resist either. Do the right thing, a la the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Hopefully, a crowd will encircle you that includes a burly off-duty policeman. If that doesn’t happen, play dead, or convince the person that it is time for your nap. It is always amazing what people will accept at face value. The important thing is to keep them guessing and preferably under the impression that you cannot be bullied, or that you are mentally unbalanced and capable of untold destruction if pushed to it.
The best alternative, however, may still be the flight reaction. But usually it does not come to that. What is the worst that can happen? You die. There are worse things than death,( which I won’t get into at this juncture.) Suffice it say that even if you did die, you would know (how, I have no idea!) that you did the right thing. You did not insult back. You did not steep to their level. You acted with dignity, forbearance, a smattering of intelligence, bluff. You danced well. You went out in style (whatever that means) Could they say the same? It is more than likely that they will at some point regret what they said or did to you, or they may even become born-again and go on to years of meetings in dank basements with badly dressed overweight people .
You will have changed the person. they might never insult another person again, or at least in the same manner. You have made a difference!
Write about it.
Write about what?
Find an” it” and write about it.
This is it.
Then what can we say about it?
That it’s here
I can’t see. It’s too dark.
What can we say about the darkness?
And you don’t know where anything is.
And It’s on my shoulder now.
Yes It’s heavy, isn’t it
It’s gone now.
A little light, then?
Yes but it’s still hard to see.
Maybe you need glasses.
Which it is it now?
There is only one it.
Everything is possible in darkness.
It’s too dark to see.
Powder sky framing softly exploding bursts of whiteness and the cinnamon brickwork and the murmuring, grumbling city machinery and the empty stomachs and heart that cannot be sated and pains that have become housebroken and the boredom factor at high- grade fuel and the ever-present hunger for work, the peace that work may bring.