I cannot wait for fall parties.
The invitations have begun to roll in.
I used to think I loved summer parties
until they got this year so sweaty and sad,
the whole world away at the shore,
sunk in sweet and salt.
you were supposed to save us
from spring but everyone just slumped
into you, sad sacks
pulling the shade down on an afternoon
of a few too many rounds.
Well, I won’t have another.
I’ll have fall. The fall of parties
for no reason, of shivering rooftops,
scuffed boots, scarves with cigarette holes.
I’ll warm your house.
I’ll snort your mulling spices.
I’ll stay too late, I’ll go on a beer run,
I’ll do anything
to stay in your dimly lit rooms
scrubbed clean of all their pity.
When writers die they become books, which is, after all,
not too bad an incarnation.
—Jorge Luis Borges
for Ben Furnish
All these years,
without knowing it,
I’ve been preparing for my rebirth
as a book.
I try to condense
light and darkness
into one more page.
I count the pages left
before it’s time
to come back.
Now that my destiny is known,
we need not say goodbye.
I’ll be there guarding you
from a shelf.
the word for the inability to find the right word,
leads me to self-diagnose: onomatomaniac. It’s not
the 20 volume OED, I need,
nor Dr. Roget’s book, which offers
equals only, never discovery.
I accept the fallibility of language,
its spastic elasticity,
its jake-leg, as well as prima ballerina, dances.
I accept that language
can be manipulated towards deceit
(ex.: The Mahatmapropaganda, i.e., Goebbels);
I accept, and mourn, though not a lot,
the loss of the dash/semi-colon pair.
It’s the sound of a pause unlike no other pause.
And when the words are tedious
and tedious also their order—sew me up
in a rug and toss me in the sea!
Language is dying, the novel is dying, poetry
is a corpse colder than the Ice Man,
they’ve all been dying for thousands of years,
yet people still write, people still read,
and everyone knows that nothing is really real
until it is written.
Until it is written!
Even those who cannot read
Driving alone at night, the world’s pitch, black velvet
stapled occasionally by red tail lights
on the opposite highway but otherwise mild
panic when the eyes’ habitual check
produces nothing at all in the rearview mirror,
a black blank, now nothing exists
but the dotted white lines of the road,
and the car scissors the blackness open
like the mind’s path through confusion,
but still no clarity, no arrival, only Pennsylvania darkness,
rocks, cliffs, vistas by day that thicken to black. It’s
sensual, though, too, and interestingly mental. What
I do alone, loving him in my mind. Trying not to
let imagination win over reality. Hurtling through the night
passions so spent become facts one observes. Not tempered,
just momentarily out of view by the body that perceives them.
Turning that into my prayer: to be deprived.