Three Minute Poem #2
Posts tagged poetry.
ee cummings - You Are Tired (I Think) - (fragment)
There is a homeless man in my coffee shop.
he likes to babble about the sky
but when he talks about Maureen, a
woman made of steam, and ribs
and stationary sets,
his mutton lips run scratchy
and he points into the air like warning shots.
His face looks like how I thought
God would look when he was
mad at me.
There are three songs I will
never play again. The keys
were new when you told me
you loved them but now
they remind me of the time
I twisted my ankle on purpose
because I couldn’t breath
and couldn’t run anymore.
My cousin died and I didn’t
cry until I sat on the ground.
and had to cut onions .
My grandmother died and left
me a music box. It broke
and the words I’ve got you babe
played until they ate
the porcelain man and woman
who danced around without
moving their feet. I threw it against
When I die, I hope that they burn me
outside, in an open field, fingers
melting into the air and ashes
drawing suns in the ground. I hope the air
will swallow me whole. I hope the
homeless man still talks about
April is the cruelest month, breeding
insomnia with blue skin, mixing
bad dreams with bad vodka, stirring
soft arms with boys who don’t call.
Nighttime kept me warm, covering
blemishes in dark apartments, feeding
a little life with dried throats.
Strangers surprised me, phone calls at 3 AM
showers like chrome, we stopped because my skin was breaking
and went on because my nails were sharp enough.
And we smoked a while, and talked for an hour.
No tienes mi confianza pero no puede ser exigentes mendigos.
And we slept, bodies crossed on dead matresses,
my bright eye, it took me out into the sun.
And I was frightened. He said oh my god,
dear, I’ll hold on tight. But away I went
through the daybreak, when I felt free.
I wander, much of the night, and
go west along the dew drops.
“There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death. They don’t honor their own lives, they piss on their lives. They shit them away. Dumb fuckers. They concentrate too much on fucking, movies, money, family, fucking. Their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them. Their brains are stuffed with cotton. They look ugly, they talk ugly, they walk ugly. Play them the great music of the centuries and they can’t hear it. Most people’s deaths are a sham. There’s nothing left to die.”
for someone who hasn’t been in it for awhile.
and any poetry that isn’t modern for even longer.
So I pulled out some Keats today and I can’t say it really made me feel better, but for some reason, it made me feel bigger.
I remember you sending me a picture of a mourning dove with the caption that said, “I saw a mourning dove die the other day.” I couldn’t decide what the saddest thing about it was. There was the fact that, without the caption, I would never have guessed the mourning dove was dead and I would have wondered how you got so close to it. There was also the fact that you sat on your back porch for an hour and a half and watched a creature die for the poetry of it.
John tells me to describe my dream house
and he’ll draw it for me.
and so he sketches
and I describe the chandelier and
all the wood panels and how I would
love to have a little space where I could put a piano.
And he hands me the drawing when
he finishes and it’s a picture of a church—
the one I used to go to when I believed in
god and felt like hell for drinking wine.
John and I sit with our knees touching
and our hands behind our backs.
we’re testing the theory that we’re one person
so we say one two three and put up
a number of fingers that the other can’t
see until we finally take our knuckles off the floor
and check if we picked the same amount.
We both put up seven, but he has five fingers
on his right and I on my left
and so we determine, rather, that he is the person
and I am the mirror and that’s why
neither of us wear shirts with writing on it.
John and I worry about being young
because it’s the only time when you can have
a love that is too passionate to be sustaining
and believe in all the things that are bad for you.
and I tell him that I’m afraid of getting my dream
house full of hymns and angels and that
I’d rather have the stained carpet in his
apartment on the street where Kurt Vonnegut lived.
John and I wonder about how stories tell us
as much as we tell stories, and about how
Scheherazade could tell them for a thousand nights
without telling a lie. Maybe it’s easier to be honest
in the presence of royalty because I lie all the time,
I lie to the extent that by the end of this poem
I almost really believed I knew someone named John
and he isn’t just a love I made up to make my
stories sound a little bit bigger.
The morning air is all awash with angels
—Richard Wilbur, “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World”