Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Last of the Seersucker

Season Finale
It’s time to find out what happened to your favorites.
Under a sliver of that song you couldn’t get out of your head
All last year, their futures unfold in artful montage.
All over the world, people are watching. They’ve set
Their clocks and arranged their schedules for its sake.
Some, and their number might include me, took time
To compose responses previous to this episode.
Don’t let them fool you. Most of them don’t know
Any more than you do what will happen.
It’s just an old habit of those perpetually
On deadline: Be prepared. A few lines,
A frame, even a full scaffold on which to hang
What you’ll have only minutes to get out there
Once it’s done, can serve you, they say.
But here’s a funny thing: I’ve always trashed
Anything I’ve written in advance. It doesn’t
Measure up to the moment. I demand
Fresh language and images from myself
Even as I’m secretly amazed to see just
What I’ve anticipated unfold. See? I knew it!
With everyone else, I watch the fragments:
The ship tilting, the muzzle flash, the crash,
The embrace, the solution, the hospital bed,
Hoping we will learn everything we want to know
About what happens next. Like you, I will not accept
With much grace a finale that offers us less than this.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lenny Bruce Is Not Afraid

Don't think it didn't cross my mind that the bill may not ever come due as I tried to bury myself in consumerism to offset anxiety about the end of the world and not think about death. But it's kind of hard to rack up much of a bill when your shopping places are a yard sale and the closing 30 percent off Borders books. The vastly reduced discount haul:

--yoga mat for my daughter, turquoise with a planet inside a peace sign, her choice

--a plastic facsimile of a movie popcorn box for my daughter, her choice again, to keep important papers in, plus a koosh ball and a pair of dangly earrings that look like orbit patterns

--a travel book on Tennessee (hoping to do Memphis this summer, waiting til it gets real hot; won't take long)

--the Vision tarot deck

--an astrology book called "Cosmic Couplings: The Sextrology of Relationships," from which I learned that Virgo men stay hardest longest, Capricorn men have the biggest peens, Gemini women are "typically bootylicious" and Aquarians are most likely to be genderqueer. The relationships I've had that have mattered have all fallen into the Virgo, Capricorn, Gemini, and Aquarius decants, and I'm starting to think there might be something to this here star sign stuff after all. Oh, I forgot the Libra. He's still charming as hell. Hey there Tennessee!

--the Sonic Youth bio, "Goodbye to the 20th Century," which I'm looking forward to diving into sometime before 2012

--an Emily Dickinson collection

--the best of it: a stone chip impregnated with pyrite...a friend's mother was a spiritual practitioner, and after her death he invited others who shared similar practices to take a spiritually charged item from her things. I was moved to take the pyrite...fool's gold, the courage to be a fool. It is sitting near me with an orange candle burning right now.

Because it is foolish to write poetry as a nuclear reactor is melting down. Go Coyote Go!


Taking my last breath alone, I could survive
Knowing that's coming. It's having just one I love
And not the rest that would kill me, relative
And irrelevant as that would be at that point.
Hands on the wheel and 24-hour news on the radio,
I wonder if the flash will find me in the dentist's chair.
Will my face be broken out when the world ends?
It would be nice to be pretty on my last day
On earth, or at least attractively disheveled,
Like a heroine in a movie, inches away from
The crashed asteroid. Whew! That was close!
I idly assemble a cast for my Decameron--
A medieval frame, like that carved and gilded
Around a triptych on deadly sins, both boundary
And elevation for the realities enclosed within.
You need a little distance, like that. Because this,
This is Scheherazade flipped on her stomach,
This is telling stories not to live another night
But to distract from the night closing in.

[And furthermore!]

You might as well yell to the wind to slow
And stop nudging my car into the next lane
Of the elevated highway that affords a view
Of the Pentagon's rooftops, the top
Of the treeline, the hawk, the jet trails.
Engineering has put us all on the same level.
Tomorrow, we have contrived to gain more daylight.
You might as well tell the sea to stop
Rolling in, the rocks to stop rolling
Into the sea, the sea to stop knocking
Over the trees, the jet trails to stop
Flowing into the air, the hawk to drop.

Image: Pasolini cast himself as Giotto in Decameron.