December 29, 2008

no reason for the thing (or trying to get your own back)

party one

“you’re trying to make me feel guilty”
“I don’t think so”

and martin luther was obsessed with his own shit
he was just another argumentative fuck who spent
          too many nights in bars and came out smelling like cigarettes
no one who knew him liked him
but he had love and the words loved him back
          so he nailed them up on a door like nailing jesus on a cross
still, he never really felt the presence of christ
just the words
his hand on the holster, a pen-inked four leaf clover
he said “sshh, don’t worry, I can always go back in the water”

party two

in 1985 I wrote “pain makes you smart”
          but I was looking over my shoulder
the a/c on high all summer
didn’t care about the rent

and john said to john “you know all that stuff that you wrote”
“well just, you know”

martin, he went to hell, there’s no doubt about that
anyone that afraid eventually does
they bubble over like opened coke bottles,
eventual dragons

and john said to john “you’re a sycophantic fuck”
“yes, I am, it’s great isn’t it”
“well, we’re great”
“but I thought this was about words”
“well, our words”
“lovely, aren’t they”
“well they get us laid once in a while”
“which is what martin was looking for if you think about it”

party three

earlier, two blocks from the end of the ‘n’ judah, my head against a metal pole, right temple. lobe. eyes closed. voices. cars. everything a contribution. I wanted to be no one else.

every poem I’ve ever written has been a waste of time.

party four

comes the avalanche of them like the way your mother cries and you don’t know what to do, or never knowing what on most days, so you pick up a picked scab, a chapped lipped pulse, I write, therefore I have something to do, but eighties dance music still holds a better sway, a lead guitar setting cadence and I’ve watched your face for a long time and it’s always the same.

“well get out your mirror then martin”
“I’m john”

party five

what if notice, the picker drove the apple from the tree, barely out of tune, today a south-wind, but not the north as the writing changed, a slant, a smell of culture calling the smell of another culture by name, first person familiar.

what if notice, you’re sitting too close. these are my battles, jingles from my sleep that I swore I wouldn’t listen to again.

what if notice, god got sick of martin, but I am still sanctified. I’ve felt them all many times. I call them sweetheart. I have no need to feel the hammer in my hand. I know songs that were famous from the year I was born. I only stop because it’s the bottom of the page and I need all the help I can get. baby we gotta go.

—John Cleary

Posted by dwaber at December 29, 2008 04:45 PM