What it Was

It was either a slam dunk
or a cataclysm.
The beginning of the end
or the end of the terrors.
I’ll let you know
when I know for sure.
It was the wretchedness
or the rockin’ pneumonia.
The remains of the wrong
or the righteous rising.
The rhythm of the night
or the writing on the wall.

It was the best thing in life
of the freedom to fail
being availed
in all its terrible glory
for all to see.
I just can’t tell
so I just can’t tell you
what it was
just yet.

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I’m glad that you like me.
In the grand sense
that’s all I really want
but in the microcosm
I’m a little too fragile in my masculinity
about the specifics.
I’m not sure that I appreciate
that you like me
because I remind you
of your retarded grandma.

How do you even have a retarded grandma?
How would that work?
Was your grandmom, like,
molested and then your great grandparents raised your mother
and your grandmother just kind of sat around – shit!
That’s EXACTLY how it played out?

So how is it that someone
with my intuitive genius
would remind you of her?
What goes on here?

This comparison
to your grandmother…

is it because of complexion
or height
or our favorite color shirt
or something like that?
It’s not some vacuous gaze
or the way the drool collects or
how we might have composed our thoughts
is it?

don’t answer me
until I’ve spent some more time
with your grandma.

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Thanks to the Rats

I suppose I have the rats to thank.
As they eat through my pantry
I find myself with limited resources
and thus
I can now embrace simplicity.

The rats have offered me
an opportunity to live with less.
I become lighter
due to their influence.
I learn to thrive with limitations.

I become a better person
because of the rats
and their entry into my life
and my larder.

They are also nibbling on my clothes
so I don’t seem too majestic
or fashionable, either.
Truly, the rats have done me
many a great service.

I begin to suspect
the rodents might have bitten away
a bit of my brainpan, as well,
perhaps surgically removing
my ability to criticize them.
Well done, creatures.
Well done indeed!

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Wrong Term for Vinyl

I didn’t buy your fourth album because
at the time it came out
because I thought I knew you well enough
that you would give it to me
for free.
I did not.
I don’t know why I thought I did.
We knew each other, sure,
but I don’t know what got into my head
to think I deserved anything from you.
I was not entitled to any gifts
or time or attention from you.
It was ridiculous to imagine anything but.
I see that now.

But in the time it took
for revelation
your record went out of print
which is almost certainly the wrong term for vinyl
and the record company folded
and then they stopped making cassettes
(they being the world
I guess)
and then CDs
and now, I’d be happy to buy a retro LP
but I don’t know if you’ve started making them
or if you even remember who I am.
Do you?

And… do you think you could send me
that fourth album,
whether I deserve it or not?
I’d really like to know
what you were up to
back then
when we kind of knew each other.

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What We Talk About When we Talk About King Louis

When you say you’re speaking about King Louis
and then mention France,
you may in your mind
believe that you’ve clarified
just a little
which Louis you may be referring to
but there were sixteen the first time around
and at least three afterwards.

Odds are
you’re talking about fourteen
because all told
he was Louis for more time
than anyone else got to be Louis.
In terms of years
he was King Louis fifteen percent of all the French kings of that name
which, considering he was only one of almost twenty,
is fairly substantial.

But you didn’t specify,
which really cuts into the pretentious figure
you no doubt wanted to cut
when you referenced King Louis in the first place.
So, you wanna recoup a little cred
and offer a bit of clarity?
You mean the Sun King, Catorze
or the executed, Sixteen?
Maybe the Universal Spider, back in the Fifteenth Century?
Or the Fat, in the Twelfth?

Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout here?
Which of the many Louis Louis,
King, man,
do you want?
Oh, you gotta go now?

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Blocked Out

I couldn’t find your apartment today.
That place that was once like Mecca to me
the veritable epicenter of my thoughts, hopesand avenues of expression,
the place,
the place,
where it all went down
and then again
and back again.

All that.
I was near
– unlike you –
and I thought enough time had past
so I might stop by the entrance
and pay homage
but I couldn’t find it.

The block had changed
or I had changed.
Maybe I’ve grown
and the same old fetishes have lost their meaning
and I no longer am stuck in the same old patterns.
Maybe I don’t see you
and those days
the way I did.
Maybe my glasses have changed their tint.

perhaps my glasses are the same
and my eyes have suffered
Maybe I just couldn’t see the numbers right.
It’s really been a long time
and I’ve become a very old man.

Whatever has become of you?

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Bon Chan-

I’d say “break a leg,”
but I don’t want you to break anything.
I could give you a thumbs up
which looks pretty insincere
or a patriarchical, supercilious “you can do it.”
I’d suggest “good luck,”
but that’s kind of lame,
which goes back to my first thought, and…
ooh, never mind.

I’m sure you’ll do well,
whatever I say
whatsoever I may hope.
I know you are fine on your own
independent and strong
and capable of standing on your own slightly webbed feet
without any assistance
or guidance or nothing from no one,
but I hope you do great
and even if I don’t say it right
or at all,
I’m behind you.

I’m there for you
and good luck
or something.

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Ear Hair

You can see me better than I can:
are those ear hairs
streaming out of my ears?

those are not nose hairs in my ears
but I am feeling something.
Are they ear hairs?
What else could they be?

What else would I experience
and what else should I expect
as a man of a certain age
with certain groans as I stand
and certain cracks as I sit?
Of course my ears are hairy
and my head is bald
and my nose is runny
and my legs are weak
and my back is pocked
and my ears
– god, my ears…

it feels like silk on these things.

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Before the Laughter Dies

You know there doesn’t have to be a joke
at the end, right?
That’s not a necessity.
You think it is
to maintain interest
but its at the end
so you don’t really have to worry about interest anymore
and hopefully
those listening to you
will be charmed by other aspects

is only one tool
available in your kit
and you needn’t feel
that it be pulled out
with such required frequency.
You have other things going for you
and you’re not as funny as you think.

You can be effective
in more ways
that you believe possible
with a wider palette of colors than you’d conceive
if you simply rely
on the first set of tricks and trinkets
that come to your mind.
You can be more
and maybe you will be;

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What If

But what if there are no limits?
What if the boundaries are unknown
so you don’t know how to test them
or you have no idea where the fence is
so you have no way to swing for it?

Say you’re James Dean
or Jerry Lee Lewis
or Marlon Brando or a wild one,
ooh, baby, you’re a wild one, and you’re asked what you’re rebelling against and you wonder “what’ve you got?”
and there’s no response
because there’s nothing to rebel against
because anything and everything is possible
and you can do whatever you want?

What if the universe
is nothing but a complete totality
of “what if”s waiting to be answered
begging to be answered,
just a jar of genies
wishing for commands?

What if the sky is the limit
but figuratively
because the sky is not the limit
because there is really no limit?

Is there anything scarier than that?

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