Friday, August 26, 2005

Practice Talking

I’m still learning how
to talk.
It’s been years now.
Some of my memories go by,
mean cars
passing the entrance ramp
to the expressway,
where part of me
is trying desperately
to merge.
The desperate part.

Somewhere along the line,
at some point,
my brain
wants to make
an example out of me.
My brain is looking
for a scapegoat.

In a research
and development laboratory
upstate New York,
scientists are practicing
firing synthetics
to thirteen-thousand degrees
They want to turn garbage
into plasma.

Where I live,
town officials sent helicopters
to patrol the town borders.
They wanted to keep out
alien garbage trucks.
This was during a dumping moratorium
in a neighboring town.
The mounds were so full
people were paid
to identify the geographical
origins of the trash there.

I don’t know how
those South American birds
stand it.
I mean, the termites
erect giant mounds of excrement,
letting off cubic meters
of methane gas.
It’s just so… offensive.

My brain is looking
for a scapegoat.
At some point,
my brain wants to make
an example out of me.

Well, it was a dream,
I was in a diner,
and it was very dark,
and I had died during dinner.
And since I was most
familiar with myself,
I had to lead
the dredging expedition.

Later, at the hospital,
the nurses were friends
I haven’t seen
in years,
and they kept coming up to me,
and they were saying,
and they were asking,
“How are you?”
sort of professionally.

“Hey, listen…
we said we’d call
if we were coming over…
we weren’t coming over,
so we didn’t call…”

In the dream
I’m holding
your wallet in one hand
and the phone
in the other,
and I hear it ring,
and I hear you say,
and I say,
“I’ve got your wallet.
I’m mailing it back to you.”

You’ll sit and listen,
so why am I telling
you this?
What am I
telling you?
Just what am I
recycling here?

My brain
is looking
for a scapegoat.

My brain
wants to make
an example out of me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Fripp and Enzo

There are unbelievable fields of lifted graphic on the Singapore servers. And knowing that none is original, the endless variety loses its calculus: there is plainly an end to stolen goods. Enzo has considered this and other thefts, and weighed their payoff per down payment. The larger, gun-toting contrivances are a contradiction to Enzo. It seems to Enzo that a robbery that really hauled big would be easier on his mica-like soul than would, say, a connive, or a fraud.

This is how romance grows between Enzo’s toes: an XTC song, teasing with history but denying the real background. Oh, another smell of past crash pads. Enzo uses Google to fetch information about old girlfriends from data bases that don’t exist, or were closed to memory by a freak death. Homer is there in Google, but not Enzo, or his old friends. And standing on another summer corner with twenty-five others in the misting diesel fuel, Enzo knows that you really cannot be alone in a crowd.

Enzo looks at all of them and recognizes none. No help that they are all strangers, he is not interested in their existential status. They are in the full regalia of hot weather displays today, and Enzo loosens his tie. This is risky – Enzo has also rolled up the sleeves of his yellow shirt. He is not wearing the jacket for this green summer suit, and he would feel half dressed at an opening if one came up suddenly.

He is thinking about how there are some people from his personal mythology that may be real. That he may contact them if he could find them. That he may be amplified, in a Frippertronic way, if he could find those living ripples in the urbi et orbi. And then a man passes, much shorter than Enzo, in a light green summer suit, with the jacket on, in a yellow dress shirt, in ox blood wing tips; this man passes walking faster than Enzo would in this humidity. A dream image, a double, a thief of Enzo.

It is as though he had been grabbed, as though Giant Smelly Man had sat next to him on the R train. Worse than this, worse than dropping fifteen bucks, worse than losing the whole wallet. Enzo is slammed back into his body, into the pinched toes and blood pressure which he swears he can feel. In all the shameful plotting to get more stuff, he had never thought he could rob his own soul. As a rule, Enzo puts himself first among the base, a weird megalomania without the satisfaction of supremacy, and now there is evidence of power.

And this is how the briar grows among the rose bushes; how Enzo has practiced bonsai in his dream life. Alone, he doesn’t know if he is awake or asleep, and walks sometimes somnolently through his work days, and that habit has paid off as a dream image of Enzo walking past. Suspiciously, he looks back to see if there are shiny chips falling away as his soul disintegrates. Enzo is a little freer today, hemmed in on all sides by over-heated New Yorkers, twisted permanently into the romance he imagines from his youth, hauled away by a ghost. Enzo feels his feet and legs walking in the blue sky.