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Rabbit rabbit rabbit that's what my sister used to tell me to say, the first three words of every month, it didn't matter if I told them to someone or just whispered them out loud, to my ceiling, my bedspread.
Fifteen months ago my resolution was to give up on superstition, give up the knocking on wood and throwing the salt and walking around the ladders, not under. I still think about it, but I never do it.
So I'm hoping for a happy march but I can't do any tricks for it, I guess it's really not my business.
I could have sworn that this morning, you were making pancakes, but you were really just feeding the cats.
I gave you guys
to prove to me that you could handle nachos, and it's pretty obvious you
I know I haven't called you back. I'm worthless.
Please don't tell me what to say.
don't tell me what to wear.
I know today is better than yesterday, maybe it already is and it's only
The morning, but in the morning, I can see a lot of things.
Can't you? All of my friends are sleeping right now.
Although, to be fair, I never watch or watched ballet, it always seems unable to hold my interest
To merge, from the right, lights blinking, accelerating, and the timing ends up rather perfect
To play, even though you know you're no good
With two minutes left on the clock, and that kid throwing it in
And all those early mornings mean something, all that time spent in training
The first two move back, the second two move forward,
It's choreographed, like dance, like acting,
But without all the fakeness, complete with pale honesty and self-mythmaking, what else?
Each day it comes up one minute earlier
And I remember how much
I crave the warmth, the sweatiness,
The short skirts, sandals, sleeping
All morning and meeting with people
And movies in the middle of the day. Okay,
So that's probably not too accurate, who knows
How I actually spend my time
In the summer
But the part I like best
Is the fantasy, the idea that I'll be
Traveling all over the country, listening to
Bands that I love every night, talking on
The phone for all hours, catching up
With you, with those nights when we cackled.
Aesthetic identity is a fascinating concept. (why can I never come up with adequate synonyms for ‘interesting'? nothing fits like that word, not ‘fascinating', not ‘intriguing'. ‘intriguing' implies mystery and suspense. If something is interesting, all that the word connotates is that I'm interested in something, not that I'm compelled to investigate or that I ponder it for hours on end, just that it does the simple job of interesting me.) Aesthetic identity is an interesting concept. However, it does
intrigue me to follow up on an expedition regarding identity. I do not ponder it for hours on end.
How do people kill time? Their free time. Do they all have this lovely posse of best friends that they've known since the first grade, do they go around, showing up at each other's houses, sharing secrets and nostalgia? That's what I imagine. Friends popping in while I'm working the coffee maker, swearing to me that I absolutely
to go visit this or that museum, this or that event. I think that's my television brainwashing at work; I think that we should all be a cross between a sitcom and a salon. I'd rather have my ideas to myself.
On peut prendre les vacances, n'importe oú.
a vacation could be, a night
on a city bus, when it's gotten dark
and lots of the people have just
left work and
we could be going to art shows, to movies,
to parties. It could be
walking outside, instead of
driving. Or maybe sitting
in someone else's house, just for an hour
or so, looking at the way
it could be
a lot of things, being awake early
in the morning, alone, like you
like it it could be
a long-distance phone call
it may be anywhere
there's something about the moniker "confessional poetry" that I find pretty humiliating; it implies that those who write it need a therapist, or a priest, or at least a diary. I think that's what I do, and it's an embarrassment. Wouldn't a
writer come up with
that didn't have to do with what she ate for breakfast? I can't. all I know is what I ate for breakfast (nothing yet); who I saw, who I think of, what we all want to do. Hopefully and probably, no one will ever read this stuff, and my impulses are safe.
I have lots of dreams, mostly they're banal.
I say many things, but I'm questioning
Of late, I notice that
I mention things that make me
Sound much nicer, more
Expectations of how
Reacts in many
Situations. I'm finding that
I don't like the man with
The tattoo on his arm.
I don't like
Being stuck in gossip. How did
That happen? Now it seems
So sordid. It's hard
For me to keep my brain
Working straight. I don't know
What to say
Half the time
It just comes.
Today'll be different, I'll spend my time WISELY instead of WASTING it on computer games and trash. Everyone will be SO impressed with me, if they aren't already. Who knows if we're doing something wise? So much yelling, grandstanding, arguing, not solutions, just talk. I'll watch my day usurped by chitchat and doctor's visits; by complaints and traffic. It's odd what pieces life's composed of, I can't gather them all. Some headlines there, some forgotten obligations. Some mysteries that don't get solved, some people who just leave, evaporate, don't exist for me again. I know I can't track you down.
I really have to fight for it, don't I?
I can't expect you to let me have the things I need,
To let me sleep, to let me
Calm down (for once)- I know
How much I
you; I know
How much you
Prove it right this minute, don't
Complain to everyone I know; don't
Send indirect messages through the
Grapevine, I know just what
You're saying. You forget:
You say you know me better
Than anyone else at all-
Remember that I have a seat
Unmatchable, without compare,
With popcorn and a view into
I've spent minutes wondering, what should I write about today? I have nothing, not much I haven't covered, at least in my brain, the things that spilled out easily. Maybe it's like weight-lifting, and the time that is most useful is the moments when the fun is over, the pain is gone, it's only dull and practice.
That you need me closer than I can be. I know
That all these dresses won't solve anything. I know
I need to listen to all this music, hours and hours
Of it. It'll all blow over, it's blowing over now.
Why didn't I read this book when I was thirteen? I would have loved it: all the incest, that would have thrilled me to pieces, and beyond! How creepy! One thing I noticed, we didn't get much incestuous education in Louisiana, regardless of our efforts. Mom didn't even want my sister and myself in the same bed. Believe you me, she's not the one I'd choose to date. None of my relatives are that appealing. Not my drunken uncle, my cousin with her dark eyebrows. Not the kid who plays on hockey teams. Women, men, they're not my style, exactly.
I have little to say, nothing that's instinctual; my days
Should all be spent outside myself, not mostly
Trapped under blankets, between pages. I see
My screen and know that things need to happen,
I need to see moms and bums and lovely women
With stomachs sticking out. I need to see
My city, my loves, some pictures stuck in
Wooden squares. I'll go around, I'll go to
Buy some things for a few dollars, listen to
Guitar sounds, incoherence, carry
Paper bags, strings, receipts. This world is filled with
Coffee, with magazines, with tired arms, directions,
Signs, whispers, currents.
Who are old
Always make it obvious
Their cheeks, which may
Have been pink, sometime,
And wrinkled; something
To do with the blood vessels
That burst, I don't know quite how.
Just look at
Al pacino. When he was young,
He was gorgeous and
Smooth-faced. Now, he's another
Man, one who spent months at the bar
I suppose. Or frank
O'hara, with the sallow look about him,
Even in black and white. Thinning
Hair or graying temples don't much help,
I guess. I see
Old drunks, reformed, who look like
Hell, they've been all
Around the block.
How much I know it's coming
(he's been dead for almost
forty years, you'd think
I'd be used to the idea) I still
Feel wrecked when I read about
His last minutes with his friend,
How he looked when his family
Got there; the funeral part has so much
Meaning; I think,
But how could he just die like that? I've had
Four hundred something pages to get used
To all his quips and flailings,
To understand his little life, to see myself
In him, though not as
Social, or as
Talented, most probably. Definitely not
When I am elderly
I predict that I will
Give my caretakers
Trouble; I give them
Quite enough at
This point, why should
It ever stop? I wonder
If I'll be able to
Spaghetti; if not, just
Pull the plug, or
Maybe grind it up into
Italian soup for me
To drink. I have so much
With my eating. Today
I don't like something,
Tomorrow it's my
Only choice. Hopefully
My fingers will still
Work and I can type
And knit. Imagine the
Computers they will have
When I'm infirm! I'll
Take gory pictures of
Have you noticed these weeks in passing? Have you gathered up data, something for reporting to people who ask, and how are you? Have you seen the sun going later? Recognized the wind as it warms? I have, a little.
I don't know what I would have if I could have anything. I suppose that once, I did know, I knew something. I knew that an apartment for me would be the zenith of joy, that a warm body could ease all my aches. Now, maybe, it's only a minute to think, to pick out the loveliness, the gentleness, patient.
Even though I smell the popcorn, I don't think I need it. (that would just be gratuitous, that's how I am sometimes, guard against it!) I can choose to sit still, only mildly aware of the couple near me. He says to her, you know, it would be best if you picked up the magazines and debris near your side of the bed. Otherwise, it just looks like a pile of junk. I wonder. The three kids behind me are enamored of the boy who is talking, not stopping, barely taking a breath. I was them once, the smartass kid.
I would say,
I'll do my homework
Outside today, after all
It is march, it is
Warm, it is humid
As always, and we have
This huge pile
Of green grass, tended
So carefully by
Gardeners hired for
That very purpose. How apt
It would be
To enjoy nature
In books. I gather up
My papers, my eraser,
My pencil, that book
That I'm using; I realize
I have nothing to write
On, a few trips can right
This minor wrong; some more
Exits, and I'm here, almost
Settled, no comfort for bugs,
For green tiny blades.
I've never actually read the play, but I've seen it performed once or twice. It's something that I thought I would assume was schmultz, but truthfully it's quite magical. So she's dead, and I forget how she died, but she gets to wander around with the living to see how they've all reacted, and then she says goodbye, good night to this all, all this stuff that we meddle with on earth. When she says that she's going to miss coffee, I lose it; not because I love coffee so much (though I do) but to
coffee, how tragic.
Even though I could eat spaghetti all day, and I have a fondness for dark chocolate, berries, and peas (not together), I still dislike the eating intensely. If only it was a choice, like to exercise or to read a book; if only it didn't come wake me up or mess with my brain. I'm offended at inefficiency that I deal with on a daily basis. The insult to higher thinking at having to keep a box of cereal around to prevent mental meltdown! It just becomes fuel, oxygen, another tedious necessity towards common function, preventative measures, lifetime petty inclinations.
(most of the time I think I can handle it, I can handle pretty much what you throw at me- I've got tools, mental wellness, all sorts of things to combat the minutes when my heart starts beating and I know that if I think too hard about it I'll end up hidden in my closet bending hangers- I used to do that when I was little and I just got too angry too pissed to do anything but sit there and bend all the wire into odd unfunctional shapes so the clothes fall off) I hate checking the mail.
No, I know, I'm really glad I quit, I'm not saying I'll start again, not ever. But still
There's the little waft after leaving a place that has ashtrays, that says to me
You still know how to reach the other side of the universe, despite
Your grown up job, your rent-paying abilities, your regrets, your demises and peaks
You're still just a bit subversive
And just thinking that I know that I'm older, I'm turning into one of those people who listen to adult pop radio and vacuum all day, who worry about buying a house and a lawn.
To be posted on the front gates of metro state college:
You sneaky snivelers, I can't believe
You'd rip me off for art lessons that
I never took, you bastards. You know, I only liked you for
Your health insurance, the promise of my
Medication, my therapy, that's all.
I don't need
Your stupid classes, your lack of parking, your
Dismal-eyed adults and perky co-eds.
Find me a college that is really underfunded.
Show me why you need my four hundred bucks.
Prove that it will go to at-risk students' scholarships.
I'll give it up. Because I have to, dammit.
It's gotten so overwhelming that I see credits in my dreams, and all I think about is who that actor was married to when he made that flick. I think
Thank goodness someone's finally recognizing screenwriters!
I know that all this couch-sitting is good for me. It's like I'm learning!
It's quite all right to spend this money; I'm committed to culture.
But now I'm done, at least for tonight, no
Sixties melodramas, no crime capers, no husband and wife journalistic teams. Spencer won't give Kate a hard time, Clark and Joan will call a truce.
And I said, who cares? I might as well give it a shot! And I drove to your house with my burned out headlight, and your house was dark and empty. I rang the bell twice, but I wasn't too surprised. You're not home too frequently. I stumbled over and ripped out a piece of scratch paper, I was going to write you a note that claimed to still love you, to miss your company, when you arrived. We're inside, he calls, you tell him who's visiting. He says, didn't I tell you? You say, yeah, I know, it's cool.
I think I noticed it first when I was staying in this dingy cheap apartment, south of los angeles, and I saw all the others who lived there nearby; they were quiet, or loud, but usually alone. They had dogs or cats but nothing much happened with them, no weddings or births or things of that sort, and I realized: there are more people solitary on this planet than I ever dreamed of. There's no guarantee we'll end up with a husband and family, there are plenty who don't. I could come home to an empty apartment every night, forever.
You must be pretty fierce
To leave a mean-spirited dog
With a scar on your cheek
But you never have
Bad dreams about it
And you don't seem scared
Of dogs at all. Maybe that's your
To be kind and effusive
And filled with agreements
And still fight off dogs, or sadness,
Or evil that hovers around us.
You know more than you tell,
Unlike myself; I tell way more
Than I know, I just think
That I know it. You used to sleep
With this huge saggy shirt
So you could lie comfortably
Ignoring the outside sounds.
My life is up and down around you, I often can't think straight when you say certain things. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe when I met you I was at that suggestible age where everything is significant. You've been constantly on my mind for years now, and we never were a couple, we don't even live in the same place. I haven't seen you in some time. I know I miss you, but it's that jealous missing where I don't want anyone else to be around you, I need for you to miss me. Hopefully you miss me.
Okay, I am retiring. I'm hanging up the jersey, at least for a while. I can't do it anymore, it's not that I've run out of things to say, just of the energy to say them. Now for my private thoughts you'll have to dig straight into my head, I just can't do it. Not anymore. I would have liked to, really, make it a full year or even nine months or anything like that, but eight is it for me, I'm spent. I just can't do it anymore, I just can't do it like I used to, not anymore.
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