If you are following, please join me under a blog “People Need”, which will be going live tomorrow at lascauxtorothko.wordpress.com. “Wet Kindling” was created for a different time in my life and needed to retire. “People Need” is looking ahead to the next chapter and hopefully will reflect some growth and improvement. Hope to see you there!
This Is Old Now
Just put a bag over my head.
Put a brown paper bag from one of those big box stores,
where we would buy yogurt and bread,
down over my face,
block my ears and mouth tight-shut, hot eyes and nostrils flared with shame.
This bag will protect us all, this recycled relic of domestic desperation a new oppressive veil, it will shield us all from the distraction of my desire.
It’s dark and cool in here, a paper cave for my mind to crawl through, crouch in like the mutant men think me to be, scratching the days away on the raspy righteous walls.
I can’t bear to be looked at by them now.
Slut she’s a slut they all think
‘she’s a slut’
slut slut slut slut a slot slot s’lot
it’s a lot a lot
lots and lots and
Lot’s—I’m your wretched packed pillar of salt
frozen in place, forever turned toward Sodom.
My salt flavours every fragment of that night, a taste that ties us together—subsequent recollection smacks of our tantric tangle, a trial transcendent of our temporal conception.
I can still taste it,
salt of lips, salt of laughter, salt in the wound you opened when you thrust into me and bid me bite your best friend on the neck, nobody wanting this for the right reason; for the night’s treason we all paid dearly, now it’s done.
Would I could make you unsee that scene, scrub the scent and sight from your memory
Make a blank where this night exists, where there was no thrill in my eyes, no roving hands on not-your-body, no tongue on teeth not in your head.
Should have known when the necklace I made you broke and
the beads fell down your back and dove off
in different directions across your mother’s dining room floor.
Should have known when I couldn’t lay a proper likeness down
in the light over our little kitchen table
and you laughed your rich joyful laugh at the drawing
until it burst off the page in a puff of bone black charcoal dust and
swallowed my pride whole until
the stone of my face choked off your chuckle.
All I ask is that you oil my back,
So that these things might roll right off me, slide limply out of me like you do when you’re done, oil my back, make me slippery so others cannot stick,
So others cannot help me hurt myself.
February 12, 2014
Two bands of puffy dark figures stumble through the white air,
Not sure-footed as they are when it’s not winter.
They are human,
one band of men, a separate of females.
The men swag and dip in their large coats regardless of the rough terrain.
Their essence will not be compromised by the weather.
The woman shuffle without conviction, gingerly picking their way through previous footsteps and holding onto each other in case they slip.
Men and women will never be equal.
These men are workers,
they heft shovels over their blue-collared shoulders,
here to clean the way for the women,
who instead sling lacrosse sticks over theirs.
These people will never understand each other—the men who work for these women who don’t even see them,
don’t think that the only reason they were able to trudge to practice on this godforsaken snow day was because the men cleared the way.
That is their job, and every snow storm, while the women drink hot chocolate prepared by someone else
and enjoy warm movie parties in the comfort of their living rooms that
someone else vacuumed,
these men haul out their warmest wear and prepare to labor away in the bitter, biting, furious snow for the whole of the day
No warm drinks whenever they want
No living room where they can put up their soaking, sore, hard-working feet.
We the privileged consume these people, whose fate was not in favor of luxury.
Do you realize how seldom the sky is actually blue?
Do you see the lilac moon weighing in the
verdigris mists of dawn?
Or that sepia blazes through the mid-day haze?
Don’t you know the sky is beige when it rains,
Crimson when the day’s heat is fading,
Amethyst when lightning flares across its electric skin?
Black is not a color known to the sky;
Now see that Heaven holds no darkness?
I know you didn’t write this but
(your handwriting was never so neat)
when my brain reconciled the image
with the slide filed in my mind library
the breath jammed in my throat like a plastic bag
sucked in by some weighty unwitting whale.
I know you didn’t write this but
I do dream about you.
I don’t wonder if you dream about me, though,
you never could sleep well enough to dream.
I know you didn’t write this but
(you’d never go up Arthur’s Seat, let alone take a picture)
maybe you wonder where you wander in my sleep and,
in walking through my dreams,
are seeking the reality we never knew.
You can’t make me dream about you,
but you do obstruct my peaceful sleep—a dark figure
churning through the spectral mist
that lufts across the boglike expanse of
my nightly dreamscapes,
exploiting the temple of my memory,
trampling the freedom of my imagination
in order to create a
version of our love you can live with
And Thou art Dead, as Young and Fair
BY LORD BYRON
And thou art dead, as young and fair
As aught of mortal birth;
And form so soft, and charms so rare,
Too soon return’d to Earth!
Though Earth receiv’d them in her bed,
And o’er the spot the crowd may tread
In carelessness or mirth,
There is an eye which could not brook
A moment on that grave to look.
I will not ask where thou liest low,
Nor gaze upon the spot;
There flowers or weeds at will may grow,
So I behold them not:
It is enough for me to prove
That what I lov’d, and long must love,
Like common earth can rot;
To me there needs no stone to tell,
‘T is Nothing that I lov’d so well.
Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou,
Who didst not change through all the past,
And canst not alter now.
The love where Death has set his seal,
Nor age can chill, nor rival steal,
Nor falsehood disavow:
And, what were worse, thou canst not see
Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.
The better days of life were ours;
The worst can be but mine:
The sun that cheers, the storm that lowers,
Shall never more be thine.
The silence of that dreamless sleep
I envy now too much to weep;
Nor need I to repine
That all those charms have pass’d away,
I might have watch’d through long decay.
The flower in ripen’d bloom unmatch’d
Must fall the earliest prey;
Though by no hand untimely snatch’d,
The leaves must drop away:
And yet it were a greater grief
To watch it withering, leaf by leaf,
Than see it pluck’d to-day;
Since earthly eye but ill can bear
To trace the change to foul from fair.
I know not if I could have borne
To see thy beauties fade;
The night that follow’d such a morn
Had worn a deeper shade:
Thy day without a cloud hath pass’d,
And thou wert lovely to the last,
Extinguish’d, not decay’d;
As stars that shoot along the sky
Shine brightest as they fall from high.
As once I wept, if I could weep,
My tears might well be shed,
To think I was not near to keep
One vigil o’er thy bed;
To gaze, how fondly! on thy face,
To fold thee in a faint embrace,
Uphold thy drooping head;
And show that love, however vain,
Nor thou nor I can feel again.
Yet how much less it were to gain,
Though thou hast left me free,
The loveliest things that still remain,
Than thus remember thee!
The all of thine that cannot die
Through dark and dread Eternity
Returns again to me,
And more thy buried love endears
Than aught except its living years.
From a Distance
A tiny prick of light on the mountainside miles away,
I sit in my mustard-light dorm room and see you,
whoever you are,
pointing your flashlight out of the trees
and back toward civilization.
What are you trying to see,
when all the light is here?
Are you trying to find your way,
are you cold,
are you simply making the most of this
bizarre Indian Summer
on that mountain of secondary growth
that hugs our fruit-colored Valley
stolen by Pioneers long-dead?
I hope you can see the stars from where you are,
maybe you can look at them for me?
There’s too much light pollution down here,
and yours is the only star I can see.
“People ask why I want to have an exhibition in the streets, but have you been to an art gallery recently? They’re full.”
When Money Talks (Cover Your Ears)
Why can’t I ever seem to get it right?
You think money is what I’m made of,
you think only money will make me happy,
you think I’ve got nothing but money in my sights.
I do loathe that word: money. It sounds so dirty, so crude, so denigratory.
Why can’t I ever seem to prove that what I want is not what you think—not the paycheck, not the suit, not the frivolous hobbies, obscene house, not the bling?
Do you really even see me? I wear the same few clothes over and over; yes they’re nice, yes they cost me more money than I should have spent,
but they’re simple.
I don’t ever want someone to think I’m over the top, out of control, spinning and spending and playing the game I work to know so well but hate the idea of unwittingly being a part of.
It makes me want to shower, this aimless talk of money we don’t have, won’t have—not when ten percent of the population holds 90 percent of the nation’s wealth and our chances at employment are approaching nil.
I know I went to boarding school, and sure, I learned my etiquette there, of course I know which clothes to wear and what to say to whom to get what you want so maybe you have a bloody chance of providing for your future.
But I don’t want an ugly fat McMansion, I don’t want a flashy frivolous car, I don’t want a big yard, or a pool, or a room just for my clothes—
I don’t want the god damned American Dream.
I just hope for a small piece of success,
just a modest flat with everything old in it,
good wholesome food—perhaps the tiniest garden—
no car unless it’s so fuel-efficient it practically runs on air;
and for the sake of all things healthy,
please don’t you ever fucking think you need to buy my love,
because if that’s how you feel now, you’re already in love with the wrong person.