no reason for the thing (or trying to get your own back)
“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”
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,
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”
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.
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”
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.
you tell me it would make a good story but it’s just something I’ll always remember
still, I could reel you in if I wanted to
but first you’d have to concede italy
that god is in the t.v.
god himself is a beautiful dead tuscany cemetery
a napoleanonic response
and nappy, he saw enemies everywhere he turned
yet he never saw the lazio fans in the stadio
never searched for a biglietto with a crazy taxi driver
or a word singing
not words, just one word in good voice
I’ve been hugged outside the gates of every future ruin amongst us
no, it’s not love, but it’s a bit of fun isn’t it. a kiss on each cheek.
anne carson (reading and writing)
a couple weeks before that there was a visiting scholar who flew and quilted a wit so they published it
the seat next to me smelled hooverphonic, an agitation of breath and height
a getty special
a los angeles high-brow mountaintop
a maglev climbing language stumble, it grew bored
a staircase prophet
a liar is a liar in courtyards or governments or on the cross next to christ
call it a monotone reading of the lively
a man in a net trapped campaign
reproduction, refurbishing, rewritten, restored translation of a break-down when the housed cracked on another los angeles hilltop somewhere near northridge, but felt all the way in rome, florence, athens
edison invented the light bulb
how does that compare to the statue of david
when I was twenty-one I went to the hilltop with a girl I had a crush on and another I was sleeping with. some holes are natural and some are man-made. malibu is somewhere in between, 30,000 pages of short hand, facts no one will care about a week from now. the way light sneaks into subways and construction sites. doodles.
what we finish falls down the sides of things. cut.
a pair of red boxers with a blue waist band
can you confiscate the taste of a shape
the reader is bothered by the collaborator
she glances twice and unfortunately gives in
why do we listen to a reader. is it the brain as a building, the smell of sweat in auditorium rows or the taking apart of apollo to destroy the taste of the beer that you get at the corner store for twice the price.
in 11th grade mr. brown was my spanish teacher, but he was mostly good with stories. apollo then, as a word, taken apart, is as unstable as a brother, is forgotten as a white-washed relief, is a broken rope ladder, is bodies in trees, is street walker overlooked, is a piece of the lake floating out to sea, is the wedding day long gone, is one participant in the stack of pictures emptied into bags in the aisle. they are mine as much as they are hooverphonics.