Elsewheres

I wrote something for you
the other day
but you didn’t hear it
because you are never around
when I compose
because you are never around
ever
because you seem to always find
some other place to be
whenever
I am
anywhere.

I do not
take it personally
(really!)
but you
are never here
and I
am always
without you.

I would like to say
that you
are missing out
by not hearing
what I wrote
but it seems clear
that
it’s not you
who suffers here.

No.

You’re not
suffering
much
at all.

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At Least, At Last

OK, if this is it
– if this is the end –
the be-all, end-all
catastrophic, cataclysmic, cat-gut guitar strung-out
last night on earth before the zombies hide their faces
then rending people in the streets.

If this is where we’re going
before it’s all gone…
then I’ve just gotta say: what a stupid way
I’ve spent just about every day until now
and what a waste I’ve made of everything.

I can’t believe I spent all that time
on trying to get in shape
when I’d never have been able to outrun the end
– and I should have known that, really.
The end was always gonna end up faster, right?
I should have eaten that last fatted calf
and then ordered another
because what’s it up to today, huh?

But maybe it’s not too late
to set right some of those last mistakes
because if there are hours left
before the satellites fall
or the demons ball
or tumbles wall
or whatever fates come to call,
if I’ve got a chance, at least we can dance
and I can say what I should have said years ago
and you reject me righteously
like I deserved had I ever dared in the first place.

At least there’s time for that
before it all ends.
At least there’s that.

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The Fuse

Abby, as a representative for your people,
please accept the appreciation of my people
for all you have done.
Thank you for the feminism and the gay rights.
I’m sure that Oscar Wilde and Sappho thank you as well
along with Rosie the Riveter, the Suffragettes
and Queens Victoria, Elizabeth and Boudicca
– but since they’re not of my generation
I’m afraid they’ll have to thank you separately.

Thank you for the fashion and the music
and the peace and the activism
none of which existed before you
and none of which could have been considered without your input. Thank you for your your and vigor
concepts previously unconceived.
Thank you for the fires in your bellies
which only you could start
and which could only burn for you, Abby,
and your kind, so long as your sort could live.

There will never be an era like yours
and we will never be able to thank you enough
so this will be the last time
I say these words
and from now on
I’ll remain silent on these subjects
and go in about my long life.

Perhaps you could do your own special variation of that too, Abby?

Boom.

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Don’t Have Time

It’ll smart for sure, I’ll bet,
but I don’t have time for the pain.
I’ve got a lot of things to get at today
and I think it’s gonna rain.
If I take a second to stop and chat
or look around or think or anything else,
there’s a very good chance I’ll consider
an extended break
and that way madness lies.

So I move
or strut or jive walk
or whatever it is I’m doing today
but movement is the theme
and there’s no looking back
or paying attention to any distractions
for even an instant
else everything gets cut short.
We can’t afford that.

Later
I’ll review.
Later
I’ll catch up on
what was missed.
Later
I’ll take stock
and see the wounds
and carnage
and I’ll calculate
how hard it might have been
to survive so long without a torso
but for now it’s just forward ho
until I say so.

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The Sidewalk Ends

This is when the Sidewalk will end;
where, if you walk the walk, you’ll break, not mend.
This is the date that you’ll tell your friends
is the day that the Sidewalk ends.

These are the times that you thought wouldn’t be:
with the doors unlatched; and all CDs free
and to see some AF, you must get on a G,
to a club that’ll still book your friends

’cause at this point when the future’s unknown
‘cept for prophets’ words in their random poems
all that is clear is that some bird has flown
and we’re here where the Sidewalk ends

and that’s alright mama, ’cause everything dies
and if it all stayed the same, that’d be the surprise.
It’s the time of the season, that’s where the truth lies.
And if it don’t break us, we’ll bend.

And maybe these words can bring comfort this time
as we travel through uncertain querulous climes
and if you don’t like the fare? I’ll refund your dime
to the place where the Sidewalk will end.

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Who can I be now?

You can call me Daddy
the master of disaster
and I shall call you Stanley
if I wish.

You may name me Madame
the lady of the land
luxuriously plump,
as I like it or lump it,
lording it over you,
these last days
before the empire cracks
and the apocalypse shivers
in its final clitoral climax.
I’ll be your Madame;
you’ll be my Max.

Today I can be a Renaissance song
for many a voice to sing along.
You can be an Elizabethan chant
for all the Brexicutioners to choose to rant.
Together we’ll end up the best of pals.
I can call you Betty.
You’ll name me your Madrig-Al.

Our identities don’t matter.
They change all the time.
Our roles vary like the days,
like the tides.
Like the ides – or Middlemarch –
change is always coming
and we are always in transition.
Whatever name you have for me
I will defy.
Whoever you think you want me to be
I will always be I.

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Shuttered and Sheltered

You were too dangerous.
There was no way they were going to let you out
of this place alive
that was clear.
You were far too much of a threat
and they knew it
and they had to keep you
in a box
under lights
beneath the pressure of a sequestered semester
so that you would never rise
to your full potential.

You have been shuttered and sheltered
that is clear
and the game was rigged from the start.
You never had a chance.

This was never gonna end

any way
but with them
beating you
because they
had you in a corner
from night one
when they saw
what you could have done to them
if you’d only been given
the opportunity.
So you never got it.

Doomed from the start,
that’s you.

Is that what you needed to hear?

Does that make it easier
to believe in your quitting days?

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Critical Assessment

But… they’re sketches, aren’t they?
Not paintings.
Not works of art.
You’re producing half-thoughts,
random concepts at off-moments, right?
You’re not not really investing
in what you’re doing.

These little things are good
for what they are
and you deserve some kind of credit
for what you’ve produced
but when you make something real
like a movie
or a multimedia platform,
then you’ll be a man
or an artist
or something like it.

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Loss

I remember how black it was
how dark and frightening it was
on those days when you kept yourself distant.
I remember how deprived I was
when I began to starve myself
in your absence.

I lost a leg’s worth of weight
when you walked away.
I just couldn’t find an appetite
for much of anything
when you were gone
until your memories faded enough
for me to forget what it was
that I once had.

It felt so narrow
in those tunneled days
when you disappeared
and I could see nothing but more darkness.
I lost so much
when I lost you.
It got better eventually
– obviously. It always does.
But I couldn’t see it
then.

I’ll have to remember
that.

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Plethora of Possibilities

It is indeed possible
just as you said.
In this infinite universe
with all of its permutations and considerations,
there is absolutely the distinct calculation that
if I beg and pray
and chant and squint at just the right angle,
I can effect the improved actuality that
it will all work out all right.

I can effect change,
it is true.
It is conceivable.
It is possible.
I can fix the mistakes of my youth
and become something new
and unimaginable.
I can transform into what has never been seen before
and save the orphans
and prevent forest fires.
I can do it.
It’s possible.
Anything’s possible, after all,
in an infinite universe,
among all its permutations.
Good could win out
and I could be involved.

I’ll just hold my breath for that, then,
shall I?

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