Schlesinger’s Goat

Dylan already said it.
The Simpsons already did it.
Billy Shakes probably had a hand in it
and Asimov maybe analyzed it.
I’ll bet Diana Schlesinger
from Third and Fourth Grade
already talked about it:
She was kind of a know it all.

I tried to write about this topic or that
but truly
I only dabbled.
I’ve been beaten at every turn
by betters
and now
my own memory.

I’ve said everything I can think to say.
If there was any more to utter
I’d have muttered it
or stuttered some variant.
I’ve run out.
I’m spent.
Even mentioning the very blank slate
of imagination
is old hat
and often experienced
by my hand
and every one else’s ear, eye, and ideation.
I’m out.

I wish I –
That’s it.

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Call It

You sit silent, insipid,
snivelsome, insinuating an attempt to curry favor
all while you avoid stating what your really feel.
You’re not as subtle as you hope to be
nor as effective.
You could try honesty.
You could attempt a truth.

We are here and I am hearing your words:
the ones you’re saying
and those you keep distant.
I understand, I think
where language evades,
just what you wish to ask.

I can’t say it for you.
I won’t.
It would mean so much less
if you can’t earn the answers
by asking the questions yourself.

I can’t even say
how different the conversation would go
were you able to have borne directly
into the storm where we head.
Had you not the need to steer clear,
could I have smiled at you
with some greater pride
and easier eyes?

That’s not an answer I am prepared to provide.
All I can offer is this:
I know where we’re going.
I wish we could get there faster.
I wish one of us
could seize the day
so we could more quickly arrive
at our terminus.

Please, let it be soon.

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Under the Bridge by No Pepper

A guy just said
that a guy once said
that everyone should write a song
about being lost under the Brooklyn Bridge
which made me a little lost
since if you’re under the Brooklyn Bridge,
you’re not lost. You look up:
you know where you are.
Hard to wrap my beard around the concept.
Maybe in the water?

The guy who said it is dead now.
Maybe that’s how he passed:
drowned writing under the bridge,
struggling with drafting verses
paddling, tangled up in pedals.
Maybe that’s how he found his depth
as a writer.

But probably nobody has ever been lost
under the bridge
unless they’re looking for an address
that the bridge obscures.
Probably the bridge enlightens
far more than it obscures
so anyone who writes a song
about being lost under the bridge
is writing lies,
writing bad songs,
and that’s why I’ve never heard them
or the concept
or the guy who came up with it.

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Could you help metell me more
pull on the strings of memory
and make a melody more pleasing to the ear
than the shit I’m hearing
on every station
I can tune anywhere near?

You said once
that you recall me
being kind to you
at a time
when few people were
and I
am having trouble
placing such an event.

I am having trouble
placing events
where I am kind
or I am fine
in any number of ways.
I am having trouble
identifying in a way
that could be seen
as good.
It would be kind
if you could help me, please.

I don’t remember myself
in a way like you say.
I don’t remember myself
much at all
except as you see
and what you see
cannot be much of anything
if you see what I’m saying
and know what I mean
since I mean so little
to so many these days.
Can you help me
make some meaning of me
and remember something
of myself?

I am lost
and some reminder
would help me know more
than I could say
if you could say a little something
to explain how I helped you
back when you needed help
and I was kind
since it meant so little to me.
it would mean so much to me.

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Best on Offer

This is not the poem I meant to write.
You are not the subject I meant to speak of today.
Today is not the day I meant to write.
Writing is not the way I meant to spend my time
at this particular point at all.

Intentions have not been met
in any way of late
but intentions and art
are not always
the closest of associates
so maybe it’s for the best
and maybe this
will end up better
than what I meant to be doing
which is better if not mentioning
if you know what I mean.

The manicured paths
of my planned corn mazes
are pointless in the face of destiny
and destiny desires another declaration
Maybe someday
I’ll get to what I hoped to say
but today
all I have is this.

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The End.

and he died.
The end.

and they lived happily never after.
The end.

and the howling winds reminded them
that the demons would forever be there
to torture their ancestors
for the crimes of Toreador.
The end.

and Alabaster swore
he would never leave the tea off the kettle
unless it were an especially frosty Tuesday
and they all laughed and laughed and laughed
except for Alabaster’s aunt
who swore in a tongue that nobody understood
but that is a tale for another day.
The end.

and we danced.
Swept away for a moment,
by chance,
by the Hooters,
we danced, romanced,
liars in love.
We danced,
‘til the end.

and in the end,
her majesty was a pretty nice girl
so we just let it be.

and Doctor Manhattan told Ozymandias
that nothing really ends
in the last chapter of Watchmen
after which The Original Writer thought
the credits would revoke back to him
but Doc Man was right
and DC kept the credits
because they were worth so much
and anyway, stories never really cease,
it’s just a matter of when you stop pay

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Lost Days

You’ll remember none of this, I’ll bet.

All these days
in the car
on the road
with the radio
with the questions
with the pestering
with the mustard on the fries
– which you know I hate,
but you purposefully put on,
time and again…
these times, they’ll be a’changin’,
and we’ll be changing, too,
and I will treasure all of it
but I can’t say the same for you
because you’ll remember none of this, I’m certain.

The hours we spent
just dancing about nothing
and glancing at architecture
and séancing seashells
looking to get a rise out of something beneath the waves
on gray days and moonless nights
and fogged over afternoons,
you”ll have forgotten me, I’m sure of it.

These coins trickle down slots of memory
filtering through paths of weight
and shape and form
going to exactly the place
they were fated to go
as destiny designed.
These coins go
where they are meant to
and I place my bets
that your coins
are not weighted so heavily
where I am concerned.

You’ll consider these days a little
every now and again
and wonder who I was
once in a while
but while I may have echoes of our yesterdays
blasting through my everyday
I very much doubt that I will be quite so much your concern
nor will my concern
be your consideration.

This will be a long lost time for you,
and for me, too,
but probably in a very different way.

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Big Al

I saw him once
before I knew what he meant
before understanding the breadth and width of his accomplishments
prior to generations of best minds howling out prayers of proper devotion to the dead
… the word for that escapes me…
I saw him read at my school.

Some hyper pretentious TA knew him
– he knew the guy from That Championship Season, too –
and brought them to our school
for Show & Tell
to talk about art
or Art
or do a little dance
or sing a little song.

He sang a little song
– not the guy from Championship Season
(who was also in the Exorcist
{another thing I knew nothing about
when I got to meet the guy}
back in the day).
He was nice
but he didn’t sing anything –
based on William Blake’s
“Tyger, Tyger,” which isn’t really called that at all
but rather “The Tyger,”
which isn’t spelt right anyway.

He was trying to show us,
I think,
how visceral poetry could be,
and we knew even then
he was a big important guy
but I don’t think we really understood
his place in the firmament.
I’d been on a couple of roads at that point
but it’s not like I’d been on the road,
if you catch my drift,
nor framed any’s fearful symmetry
(he’s pronounced it like try, by and by.
Don’t ask me why).
The context of his greatness
was a little bit lost.

I lived in the greatest city on earth
with this amazing word warrior at my table
happy to teach all the young nubile minds like mine.
I could have learned so much
but I did nothing
and the opportunity was simple squandered
just taken out of my hands
like a magic scepter
I’ll never have another chance to manhandle.

I’ve had to learn how to mangle the language
as best I can
with whatever other resources I could eventually muster.

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I’m not trying to start a fight or nothing
but wouldn’t it be
kind of the best thing
if nobody remembered what we were supposed to be memorializing?
If we somehow got it in our heads
that we couldn’t consider the concepts
that brought so many people
to those so many places
where they met so many disturbingingly sorrowful ends
to so many stories?
What if we didn’t understand
what we were here to celebrate?
Why if it was only
about taking a day off work?
What if some callow youths
didn’t understand what we fought for
what we died for?
What if war was so foreign
they couldn’t consider it?
Wouldn’t that be
some sort of victory?

Agree or not
I’m fine with result.
I don’t need to be combative about this
or anything else.
I’m just willing
to surrender the rest of the day
to whatever you think best.

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The Last Cause

Maybe it’s time to admit that your talents haven’t been wasted that you’ve lived up to your potential
that you have always been
the very best that you could be
working your hardest
at all times
and this
is everything you deserve to be.

No conspiracies have you restricted
No bad luck has cursed you.
No dark gods have had it in for you
since your earliest days.
Nothing has held you back
because you haven’t been held back.
Maybe this is the best of you.

Take it all in.
Soak in it
and decide
if you maybe have any more in you
to prove this possible prophesy
into something closer to heresy.

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