you’ve gotten yourself
into this bar argument
with some friends
about the greatest works
of american literature
and when you mention “bartleby
the scrivener,” everyone looks at you
like you’ve lost your mind
and you’re just standing there
with nothing to say
and no one’s even heard of it
so you try to explain and someone says
“that’s fucked up” and you say
“yeah that’s kind of the point”
and everyone ignores you harder
as they discuss hunter thompson
and jack kerouac
and they try to get you back in on the discussion
but you say, “i would prefer not to”
so after a while people drift off
and you’re standing there
not even touching your beer
and at last call
the bartender tells you to go home
so you do. and at work the next day no one
remembers what you all talked about
last night and you decide
to let it drop but the days go by
and you find yourself doing less and less
socializing with them so you stay home
and stand in a corner
with your arms at your side
and not eating or watching TV
or even listening to the radio and when they come
to carry you out a few weeks later
someone at work the next day says of you
‘that’s fucked up”
and they’re still right.
Daily Archives: October 17, 2009
you’ve gotten yourself
When TV crime shows
do their work, they leave us certain
that causes can be determined
that has ever happened.
But when old Herman Gunther
was found suspended upside down
in his oak tree, twenty feet up and shirtless,
his wheel chair still parked neatly on the porch
a whole yard’s width away,
his eyes wide and staring,
all I could think of was this:
late at night
I sometimes get an urge
to clean my windows.
That doesn’t make sense,
so I never do; maybe Herman
had an urge to fly
and after all these years,
he did, or tried to,
and amazed himself
until his heart failed
and he fell.
the techs said. Circumstances
leading to the death
were unclear and the investigation
would remain open.
I watched them
scratching their heads.
I watched them all night
as I wiped the grime from my glass
and thought some more.
At eleven PM
when the news starts,
go into the yard and strip down.
The floodlights will catch you
and the locals will come to their windows,
staring and pointing.
You’ll be naked, your scars will be showing,
but no one will be able to say
you’re not in your own skin.
In the glare, you’ll find yourself growing
like a nautilus, each new curve saluting
the previous curve, and you’ll glide away
into the current. At last — no longer
contained in a shell you never wanted,
now carrying a sculpture around you that fits.