“just remember,” elder hampton solemnly said,
“god loves you. and so do i,”
a sentiment he emphasized by gently
placing his paw on my hand resting on the
“why elder,” i said, “i had no idea.”
as I flipped my hand
my fingers around the kid’s knuckles
letting my mischeivous and only slightly
speak for itself.
So I guess you reach a certain age when
even catching up isn’t enough, when
you can spend an extended weekend in
each other’s homes but never find yourselves
alone for long enough to discuss more
than the particular activity
at hand. You have a great time, get along,
click like nothing has change and time hasn’t
gone on separately for the two of
you, but the day to day despair eludes
mention, probably without intention,
but nevertheless. At the end of the
trip, you find yourselves saying, “Let’s do this
again, and soon. I miss talking to you.”
Have You Never Been Mellow?
– Olivia Newton-John
I. 1972. Motion.
I am going on only what I’m told here, from parents,
grandparents, people who were there and could retain
the memory of the constant blur of my hands, my feet,
always moving, even in sleep. 2 am rides in the car,
being placed on top of the washing machine during
the spin cycle. My father would push me in my stroller
to Nantasket Beach, unbuckle me at the point where
the white sand ended, and let me run. Keep moving.
II. 1982. Entenmann’s.
They were uncomplicated, small, easy to consume.
One by one they’d go down until they were tasteless
and I was just after the sensation of chewing,
of doing something that happened automatically
and without my permission. Because I thought
this was nourishment. Because in hindsight
it had nothing to do with sustenance and everything
to do with keeping my mouth full so that I wouldn’t scream.
III. 2002. E&J V.S.O.P.
Not quite bottom shelf, not entirely respectable.
I was the punchline long before I’d heard the joke
about you, about us. On a cold night, walking home,
I can still smell you, your siren song smell of bad apples
and battery acid tang. But this was never about quality.
Indeed, most nights you never even made it into a glass.
This was about how fast you could get me where
I needed to go. Oblivion always trumps unwinding.
Not like chicken, but a disposable
plank to hit skins with, a giant wooden
downstage guitar pick, twirled and discarded
at the end of the night, but forever
cherished thereafter by the overjoyed
passerby lucky enough to snag such
a massive corporeal reminder of
his or her time in this venue, the sheer
pleasure extended over this one night,
even if it’s for the second or third
or 54th time. These are the moments
of poetry in our lives, when we can
see what we are, where we don’t want to be:
namely, anywhere that isn’t this stage.
i don’t believe in soulmates
’cause i don’t believe in souls
and it’s always getting tougher
as i’m growing ever old
so when i tell you plainly
there’s nothing once you die
you should take it close to heart:
there’s no meet up in the sky
but i don’t intend this bleakly
or as fatal, dismal, dark
use the inspiration
make it light a burning spark
yet leave me stranded, crawling,
lost distraughtly on all fours
if i do not care for mine
how could i ever care for yours?