Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poetry Wednesday today going to be SHORT STORY WEDNESDAY. Did I just rock your world? Don't worry, the "not mine" part today is still a poem.


There’s this god-awful table in our house that I always pass out on. Not on it on it, but passed out on a chair, head and elbows on the table, sleeping in a puddle of my own drool. And this table pisses me the hell off, every single time. It’s got this really beautiful exposed wood grain you’re supposed to want to stroke and make conversation about, but when I wake up in my own drool, it just makes me real mad. Staring at that wood grain when you’re hung over is like spinning around 300 times when you’re four years old and have a half-pound of gummy bears in your gut. You spin and spin and then throw red and green bears up all over.

So I’m waking up on this table, and I’m only wearing one shoe, and my shoe is sticking to the floor a little where last night’s wine never got mopped up. My other shoe is hanging by its dirty laces from the overhead light. There’s a fly zooming repeatedly into the closed window, and the god damn wood grain is moving in my peripheral vision.

Cold chill. Freezing-cold-for-just-a-second-reminder-that-you’re-human. I get them when I’m sunburned, slow-cooked and shiver-roasted in the sun. I get them when I’m drunk. I get them.

It’s early afternoon before one of my housemates walks in and suggests I take a bath. I’m exactly where I was when I woke up, and I’m not going to answer, so she goes down the hall to start the water for me. No choice.

Shoelaces are too much to handle. So I’m chest-deep in hot water with one tennis shoe still on, knee slung over the edge of the tub to keep it dry. I’m gonna have this one dirty foot, this one cold spot where the hot water wasn’t welcome. I’m Achilles.

What would you say if I told you that it’s all fate, all of it? That we never really have a choice. That we’re all broke-back bunnies shaken in the mouths of rabid dogs, and that’s all we’ll ever be. There’s a controlled IV drip feeding you your love and hate, and you’re sad and silly if you think otherwise. You’ve got this call button, and they tell you it’s for when you need more medicine, but the button doesn’t work, and you’re stuck with what they give you. Drip. I love you. Drip. I hate you. Drip.

We all make choices, she says. My housemate. She’s sitting on the toilet seat watching me get waterlogged. She’s chewing on her cuticles, she’s talking to the wall. She’s being silly and sad. You’ve got to want to be happy, she says. She’s pulling the psychoanalysis shit on me, and I’m not having it. I pull my left foot, shoe, sock, and all, into the water. It sends up bubbles. She sighs and walks out.

It’s not that I don’t want to be happy.

You’re a terrible, selfish-ass skunk of a human being, and I love you to death. No choice.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, something not-mine that I love:

An untitled poem
by Joshua Beckman

The birds know. The wind knows. Call me. I’m always
in the same place watching the same thing. The sound of
water, of wind, of flags, of the birds’ deserved babies
crying for the rain. The birds know. Translucent is the wallet
that holds the money on its way. Children stop. Pilgrims
stop. Tugboats drift. The wind knows. I’m always in the
same place watching the same thing. You know. The blue bridge
opening for no one. The water knows. A translucent wallet
filled with water. Flags flapping at the sign of water. We
know. We start singing at the sight of the translucent wallet
holding water. It’s singing. It knows. It’s always in
the same place watching the same thing. The blue bridge
opening for no one. The rain on its way to a wallet of water.
The birds know. Always the same place, the same thing.

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