Monthly Archives: March 2014

Go. Lightly.

I try, and fail, to imagine what it’s like –
To not know that you don’t overturn a planter
on the kitchen counter. To have no way of
summoning the words to explain why you did it.

There is dirt, dirt everywhere, and she is
fixated on the barely-visible cookie particle
between the stove and the fridge. She
can’t stop wanting to get rid of the television –

the assurances that it will be removed when
there is sufficient manpower to do it
soothes for only a minute, perhaps two,
and then it’s back to the why. Why is it there.

Her world is shrinking. She has a vague memory
of being active in the morning, of making things
look better, but cannot remember the simple
actions of reaching under the sink for the

cleaning supplies. Her sleeves are always
stretched out, sopping wet. She moves
a knick-knack, a framed picture, then moves
it back again. This is “cleaning.” Hence –

the dirt piled on the kitchen counter. I think,
who knows what she would have done with
it if we hadn’t come up here just now?
She
may have put it back in the planter. She may

have tried to put it down the disposal. I have
so many trust issues now, and yet she trusts
me implicitly; she obediently sits and eats her
toast as we try to manipulate the dirt into

a Stop & Shop bag. She drinks her juice and
marvels at the cleanliness of the counter when
we have finished. And I can’t get mad. This
is not her fault. She doesn’t know any better
.

And this is what I simply cannot understand.

What I do understand is the power of words.
Not please don’t dump dirt all over the counter,
but Maybe the older you grow and the less easy
it is to put thought into action, maybe that’s why

it gets all locked up in your head and becomes
a burden.
I am reading Capote to her. In her
well life, he was a favorite. She listens, rapt,
laughs at everything you’re supposed to laugh

at, like she remembers having read it the first
time, and then again. And again. Golightly’s
frantic monologues soothe us. And in these
moments together, there is understanding.

Marquee

Be the headliner you want to see in
the world. If at first you don’t succeed at
becoming extremely famous, try, try
again. A penny saved is a penny.
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a
man as rich as Ryan Seacrest. Those who
can’t do teach themselves to be okay with
extra work. An apple a day keeps the
people from PETA away. Good fences
make good paparazzi deterrents. Fall
down seven times, get back up as many
times as your director tells you. Not all
that glitters is gold—sometimes it’s silver,
platinum, diamonds, or a new Rolls Royce.

We’re An American(a) Band

We used to play electro-punk,
Then tried out zydeco-funk.
But none of these things got us signed.
Another genre we did find!

We did an image overhaul,
And donned some dirty overalls.
We lifted from Neil Young’s “Harvest.”
Let’s go into a gang chorus:

Hey hey hi-yi hey-oh!
Ki-yi-yi yippee yi yay-oh!
Stomp your feet and yell oh ho!
That’s the way these songs all go!

We found a guy who played great fiddle.
And dabbled in washboards a little.
But he would not grow a beard.
Our interest in him disappeared.

We sing of backroads and old barns,
And spin our country bumpkin yarns.
Except that we all met at Choate.
But – hey, to some that’s quite remote.

Piano

It is possible to live in pockets
of existence, with but within the shared
fabrics, not altering the pattern but
having an impact on the general
shape the world’s clothing takes, making it bulge
or tear or shake in unnatural ways,
affecting the sway of reality’s
hips, the curve of her waist, the outline of
her figure in a lover’s hands, her grand
universal silhouette. You may be
her small musician. You understand the
right notes to strike into humanity,
and you play them from her pocket until
she decides she’s listened to you enough.

Icons

And why shouldn’t we worship the golden
objects that attract us? The Poetic
Example Number One and Poetic
Example Number Two? (Insert what works
for you: the perfect words of a preferred
author; the perfect curves of a foreign
sports car; the perfect taste of a well made
bakery item; the perfect all of
the above of your objectified love,
body splayed, role played, prayed to and for and
with all your heart.) Why shouldn’t we worship
the transient, the fake names and labels
we create to define experience?
And why shouldn’t my idols be godly?

Plastic Paddy’s Wake (and Bake)

(to the tune of “Finnegan’s Wake”)

Plastic Paddy lived on Linden Street,
A mutt with a tinge of Irish blood.
His North Shore accent wicked sweet
and in his life, smoked too much bud.
So he had a sort of a tipplin’ way
With a love for jäger bombs he was born.
And to help him get to class each day:
Sambuca in his Dunkies ev’ry morn.

CHORUS:
Chug, Chug, Chug, bro, let’s do shots
’til you hit the floor and your stomach aches.
Dudebro, it’s a rager here
At Plastic Paddy’s wake and bake!

One night he shotgunned too much beer.
His head felt heavy, which made him shake.
He fell from the second floor balcony
And they gathered around to help him wake.
They moved him to the futon
where they slapped him twice upside the head.
Someone panicked, “Call the cops!”
when they felt for sure that he was dead.

(Repeat Chorus)

His friends assembled in the living room
And Dave O’Reilly called for shots.
Whiskey, cream, and Guinness chugged,
then finished with a rip of pot.
Maggie McDonald flipped her shit:
“I’m so fucked up, but seriously
we should probably call the cops.”
“Yo, that bitch is tweakin’!” yelled Al Giovanni.

(Repeat Chorus)

Then Suzy Kaplan spoke up with haste:
“You’re killing the buzz, so there’s the door.”
Maggie then gave her a slap in the face
And left her sprawling on the floor.
Then the war did soon engage;
‘Twas woman to woman and man to man.
The kegger war broke out in rage
and a violent riot soon began.

(Repeat Chorus)

Then Teddy Davis ducked his head
when someone threw a can of Natty.
It burst beside the futon bed
and the beer exploded all over Paddy.
Paddy revives, see how he rises!
Paddy risin’ from the futon!
Says, “Whoa. Shit. I’m good now, bro.
Let’s do car bombs! Party on!”

(Repeat Chorus)

A Prose Poem Inspired In Part By This Incredibly Academic Book I’m Reading About Zombies

Why fear the zombie? Zombie – uniquely American contribution
to the Movie Monster Canon. Zombie is whatever we’re secretly
afraid of at any given time. Reverse colonization. Cold War. Terrorism.
Biological weapons. Loss of autonomy. Loved ones turning on you.
Having the entire infrastructure upon which you rely cease to function.
Who’s going to come fix your dishwasher now? Not the zombie.

Or perhaps zombie scares us because we know that deep inside,
we are zombie. We either have it already within us, or could turn
on a dime if we’re exposed. We look upon our friends and family
with dead, blank eyes. They are no longer the ones with whom
we play Cards Against Humanity, the ones whose birthdays we
remember at the last minute, prompting us to quickly fire off an

email with an Amazon gift card. They cannot push our buttons
because they installed them. Unless they’re taking a pick-axe
to our skulls, they cannot hurt us. They are food: gristle and
sinew to be masticated and never digested, because zombies
don’t digest. Zombies don’t surf. Zombies don’t shout over
cubicle walls about what happened on last night’s “Scandal,”

nor is there that one zombie who will always whine, “Um…SPOILERS?!”
This is frightening.