The Spice of Life

You scare me.
Goddamn, you scare me.
You scare me more than you did yesterday
and you scared me then
but mostly because I was so frightened to talk to you.
Now, I’m scared of what you might say
what you might know.

You know too much.
You seem to know too much.
I’m scared you know too much.
I’m scared how much you know.
You look at me
and say things
and ask things
and allude to things
that suggest other things…
Just what DO you know?

I’m pretty sure I could learn to hate you
twice as much as I now yearn to know you
want to learn you
hope to have you
in any way that possession makes any sense
for one of your sensitivities.
But you don’t make sense to me
for as much as you seem
to unearth every gleam of me
and as much as I try to inch into understanding
of any aspect of you
I find over and over again
that I am lost
just as I am lost
by your confounded pronouncements.

You scare me
with so much that you say and advise
and I don’t even know
if all of what I’m saying’s meaningless
but if anyone could tell me
I suppose it would have to be you.

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Mixed Blessing

We gave each other mixed messages.
You said you wanted me
but didn’t like men.
I said I was all man
but acted like a frightened baby boy
howling at the smallest smart.

You seemed like you could take on the world
but any contradiction
would throw you for a loop.
I claimed I wanted to be with you
but made no room for you in my life.
You said nothing was wrong
but made clear that everything was wrong.
I made like I could handle it.

We gave each other mixed messages
pulling one way
then another
delivering signals to all sorts of stations.
In this way
our affair was truly unique.

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You say you are happy with who you are
and I would like to believe you
but nobody tells the truth
so why would you be the one
to be honest in a way
like no other?

I wish you were happy with who you were
but I am not happy with who I am
so why should I expect
anything else from anyone else?

You are certainly unlike any creature
I have ever met:
stronger and more secure
but strangely delicate
seemingly sensitive
at the strangest times.
Try as I might
I can’t begin to decode you.

So you may be exactly as you say
but I think you’re sad
even when you say something else
and I wish I could change that
even when I say something else
no matter how unlikely
any of that may be.

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If This Is It

This is the podcast you never listened to.
This is the story you never heard.
This is one of the thousands
of thousands of tales
full of sound and fury
signifying yadda yadda yadda.

The world is full of this
which is an anagram for shit, anyway.
There is too much of this all around us
for anyone to care
for anyone to listen
– for anyone to absorb all of this
any of this.

This is a lot to take in.
I don’t know why
you’d even begin to try.

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Political Song for Ray Brown to Sing

(to the beat of a guitar body
being thunked sporadically
by a white boy with dreds)

There’s a rumble going on up there in the Bronx.
Once you hear what’s happening, you will be zonks’ed!
Here’s a story that I think you’ll find of worth.
of an apartheid in an apartment in the north.
Free Barry!
Free Barry!

There’s a man who’s been kept hidden away and enchained.
He hasn’t been accused of anything – or even framed.
You keep asking me if there’s any other way.
I keep shouting the only words I have to say:
Free Barry!
Free Barry!

This shit is wack!

This shit is wack!

I don’t think you get the severity of this:
We haven’t seen Barry ’round in hours and I’m pissed!
If I don’t get word that he’s secure or that he’s fine,
then I’ll have to resort to end on a non-rhyming line!
Free Barry!
Free Barry!
This shit is wack!

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The Continental Drift

It’s closing down,
dying, at least a decade
after giving up the ghost.
Once a great dive bar,
its fortunes rose and fell with the waves
of the neighborhood
but now, the local tastes
have proven too rich
for what the Continental could provide.

It is doubtful
that had they continued
serving that steady diet of scuzz rock
of generations past
that they’d survive any better
but at least the club’s demise
would be a little bit more honorable.
Rest In Peace, Continental,
as you should have
when you buried your purpose
with the bands
all those years ago.

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Vegan Patty

Yes, I see you striving,
struggling to be a better person.
I see how hard it is
no matter how very much you have improved
in such a short time.
It is stunning
what you have done.
It is really quite staggering.

Whatever your accomplishments
and however proud I may be
it is still quite lovely to see
that despite how you combat it so admirably
you continue to crave meat.

You can’t rid yourself
of all your baser instincts,
can you?
All the primitive things
that make you muddy and base,
like us,
still are part of your biology,
your chemistry cannot be purged
even with some physic.

You seek to be clean and chaste and pure
but there is darkness within you
a taste of the demon.
You still crave blood and flesh
and I am happy
to be with you
to provide whatever you may need.

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The Other Answer

You asked me a question
which maybe was the question
but I didn’t see it
or hear it, rather,
at the time.
I didn’t recognize the import
even though I found it somewhat significant
at the moment in question
when you posed it
– the question, I mean.

You asked if I was worried about you
and you seemed a little worried as you said it
as if you were concerned
about the fact that people might be worried about you
and I explained
that I wasn’t worried
so much as concerned
– which was true.
And is true.
I am concerned about you.

But I realize
after the fact
that while I spoke the truth
I actually avoided the truth
because while I do often act
out of concern for you
it is always truly because I care.
I care about you
and am looking for ways to care for you
that I would not be concerned about
for some other mere mortal.

It is a relevant distinction, I think,
but one that didn’t occur
to make in the heat of conversation
and is probably the real answer
to the real question
that you were asking
in the conversation
when we were speaking about such things.

This is to say,
unless I misunderstood everything
which is always
a very certainly possibility.

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My Therapist #44

He keeps telling me I smell,
keeps bringing it up
intimating that no one else is motivated to speak this truth that only he has my interests at heart
or his nose to my grindstone
and that the grindstone is pungent.

I keep suggesting he has some sort of synesthesia
or delusions about his sense of my scent.
I continue to argue
he might have some alternative agenda,
perhaps an investment in a local perfumerie
or a traumatic incident with a pigpen as a child
but it is not my job to heal his wounds.
It is my job to pay his bills
with my frequent sessions
as he tells me
over and over again
that I stink.

It must be very difficult for him.

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It’s gotta stop.
After tonight, I’m out of here.
We’re too toxic. I’ve got to get away
from all of this
ugliness we’ve made.
It can’t continue like this.
We just can’t.

Maybe with a little time
a little space
a bit of breathing room between us
it won’t be so awful
and things can get better
and I won’t be half as much a dick.

The farther I am from you,
the less likely I am to hurt you.
That’s got to be worth the effort, right?
It can’t go one like this?
I’ve been far too terrible.
Something’s gotta give out.
Let it be me.

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