Since May

There is an Appthat will tell me
the number of days
between now and a given date
should I ever need to ask
so with rugged regularity
I drag it open
and I ask it, "App,
how long has it been
since May First?"
and the App
as it is with such things
will spring forth with an answer
which is usually just a day or two more
than the last time I’d asked.

It’s very much like looking at the clock
every five minutes
expecting somehow
for a change far beyond the obvious.

I don’t know what I expect from the days
other than their durable passage
just escaping me,
one by one,
one after the other,
ad infinitum,
ad nauseum.

Now, I await life,
passive, come what may.
For any chance of change I pray.
This is all I deserve, I think,
since the events of May,
when anger held sway,
and I watched you walk away.

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To Elizabeth III

To Liz, in the back who I can tell hasn’t been listening to any of my set so far today:
I could’ve been good.
It’s possible that I might be saying something interesting
something worthwhile
something that could have spoken to you.
It’s possible that I could have spoken to you
and had you been listening,
you might have spoken to me afterwards
and we could have gotten along
and this could have been the beginning
of a beautiful friendship.

But you weren’t listening
so you have no idea
if I was good.
You’ve got not clue whatsoever
if I’m anything worth hearing
because to you, clearly, I’m not.
That’s a shame,
because I think you’re worth hearing.
I mean, not now.
Right now, I think you’re trash.
But before this instant,
I thought you had potential
that you could have been worth listening to
that you might have had something to say.

Now, I’m just begging you to shut up.

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It’s Batman Day,
declared so by the owners of the trademark,
the company
that bought the company
that bought the property
from the guy
who sold out the creator
for the name recognition.

Today is Batman Day
as it approximates
the date on the cover
of the comic that came out
when Batman first graced
our four-colored lives
too few years ago.
He showed up in May
but the issue said September
so we celebrate in September
according to Time Warner AOL
or whatever the consortium may be today.

We are in Batman Day
right now
where are lives can be made better
by appreciating the wonder
the splendor
the majesty of Gotham’s greatest son
and his tragedy
and the effort he makes in fiction
to ensure it happens to none other.
We consider Batman
on Batman Day
just like every other day
and every other moment
and every other second.

Soon it shall be midnight
and Batman Day shall end
and we shall enter
into a new era
of a true dark knight.

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The Ocean, Off-Season

I don’t know what I’m doing
and the waves are amazing.
Splashing around
with no eyes to see
no one to judge
no one to watch over me
it’s something special.
I’m free
and wild
and waving, wandering,
in this hazy weather
as the fog obscures
even the possible passers-by.

I am alone here
with not a single other human in sight.
There are birds to keep me company
and billions of kelp and anemone
and other things I know nothing about –
salt? There’s salt on the beach, surely.
But no sapiens are here to experience what I am.
None will share this joy with me.

None will save me
should I fall in this pitiless ocean.
No one will know what became of me
for hours
or days.

I don’t know what I’m doing here
but the waves are amazing.

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Dear Friend

The offensive message
I meant to send you
purely as a joke
was returned to me
due to insufficient address information
and is now no longer timely.

Please assume,
in out most recent correspondence,
when you last expressed something
most heartfelt and sincere,
that I responded
with a statement
quite course and sarcastic
and not just a little bit racist.

The specifics are unimportant.
It is not the thoughts that count
so much as the sentiment
behind it.
Your friend,
The Jerk.

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The Lyrical Source

Never let her know
the poems were all written for her.
That’ll freak her out.
You think she’ll think it’s sweet
but I know:
she’ll think it’s creepy.

Maybe you can parcel them out
little by little
if things go well
with you guys.
If it goes on long enough
you can stretch back
and show her some of the earlier things
when you were new
or before you were two
and you were watching her
from across a room
sighing and replying to questions
she hadn’t yet asked.

Tell her,
“I wrote this one about you
when you smiled that special way”
or “I saw you look at that turtle once
and it inspired me.”
Maybe one at a time
like that.

please – trust me, now –
do not unload your canon on her
all at once
in one big burst.
It’ll be too much.
It will not serve your cause.
It will not do you good.
Hold those cards close to your chest
even while you are holding her close

And if you feel you have to admit
that you have written all those words for her
just keep quiet a little longer
because probably
if you think about it
she already knows.

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The Decadent

I am dying
but I will make it through this night
unlike the boy
who crossed the Hustlers
and left a chalk outline outside our door
so Emily insists on dragging me from my sickbed
out into a cab
and off to an SRO across town called,
if my fevered head can be believed,
The Decadent.

The cab and the overnight cost
about as much as what Emily has on hand
but she believes I am worth it
and nothing I have done yet
has convinced her otherwise.
She puts me to scratchy bed
and I soon dream of crawling things
and creatures come to punish me
while Emily meets out neighbors:
addicts and illegals all
who need a break
and are steps away
from being broken.

I feel my soul being judged here
at The Decadent
and Emily wonders
if there’s anything that can be taken from her
but these are good people
who live in desperate times,
surely, but will do nothing
to their fellow desperadoes.
We are safe here she finds
and I will make it through the night.

I don’t know
how many more are left in me, though,
and I hope Emily realizes this soon,
and finds a better place to be.

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Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me

Everyone’s trying to remind me
about the special occasion
– just alarm after alarm
on my all my devices
beeping minute after moment
with signifiers displayed on every banner I can see.
I don’t know why
the world is making it my business
about what it is they want to remember.

What if I don’t care?
What if I am not involved?
What if I don’t know anyone
or don’t want to learn anything
or just have better things to do?
Your cause needn’t be mine,
you know?

I might be an island.
I might be done with all of it.
I might be ready to call it quits
with what you call civilization
and not give a snot
about who wore it worst
or the last season of the Bang
or whose birthday it is this week
and not want to sign anybody’s card or anything

– and my phone just beeped in the middle
of writing this
to remind me again
about Em’s birthday
so there you go.
Happy birthday, Em.

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Janey Bag’o’Cookies

I gotta say, kiddo,
I don’t get it.
You guys were so close.
Back in the days,
it was like you would never do anything apart
but now I see her coming over
and you don’t ever look her way anymore.

What happened with you two?
What division sundered
what was once so close?

She asks after you.
She doesn’t say what happened
doesn’t admit that anything did
but these old eyes can see some things.
You don’t have to tell me
what happened between you.
That’s your story to tell,
yours and hers
but she wants to know you still,
this old nose knows that.

She left these for you.
She said she made them
from scratch.
Home made – she substituted with butterscotch chips –
like you like.
Cookies are forgiving, she said.

Cookies, huh?
They’re soft.
Chew on those for a while.

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The Statistically Measured Past

Four out of five.
Eighty percent.
That’s as much as you have offered
in the statistically measured recent past.
It’s not bad.
It’s passing.
You’ve made some effort,
I’ll allow that.

You’ve tried.
You’ve done something.
You’ve put in some hours
some elbow grease
some toil on your brow
to effect some sort of change.
You’ve been trying,
that much is true.

80% is what you have given.
80% is what you provide.
80% is the kind of worker you are
the kind of person you are.
The kind of person you are.

The kind of person you are
is eighty percent.
Four fifths of a human being:
that is what you have proven yourself to be.
that is all you will ever be.


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