I Should be Alone: Poem 24

moon07

It’s five in the morning; I should be alone,

the only one up in this house,

as I finish what I started twenty-four hours ago,

this poetry marathon, a sleepless creative

hell of my own making, only because I have

to work in two hours and then fry myself on

a soccer field after that–ah but sleep.

She’s just around the turned corner of the morning.

But who do I hear creaking the floorboards above me?

It’s she who sometimes doesn’t sleep at night.

The insomnia came after the concussion, that kick

in the head just over one year ago.

I saw her asleep at eight, while I was on poem fourteen.

I’m not surprised to hear her stomp, stomp, pull open

a drawer, stomp, stomp, and plop into her squeaky bed.

I had forgotten how quiet the night was in my room

when she was away at college up north, playing soccer.

But at this hour, this sacred sleep hour when no one

arises or goes to bed, I lay in my bed, IPad propped on

my naked belly, the screen’s light, casting a shadow on

the ceiling while the fan blows white noise about me,

and struggle through the last “poem” of this marathon,

the final, number twenty-four, for which I am thankful.

 

 

Post script: This was the last poem of a grueling 24 hours, and as the hours plodded on, my poetry became more prose blips or journal entries than poetry, aside from the form.

So, is this really poetry? What makes a poem? Inquiring minds need to know.

Day 4…

No sleep. At first I could not sleep for a reason, traveling, driving, moving on. Then I could not sleep for no known reason. A body rebels, becomes overwrought at the indignity of abuse, as if the parasite and host switch places.

Recreative plant and synthetic substances exist to induce a copy of the mind of the severely sleep deprived, only overlaid with some false euphoric-producing chemical. Surrealism must have been born in the condition of dust float watchers too exhausted to move focus. 

 

 
Like this:

Slatted windows, the verticals section the sun and leaves like an ironic cell, full of light divided.

Like the days waiting for deliverance–a package, a word, an acceptance, a surrender–the intangible falls prey to the patterns of urgent need, a tendency to sliver air, measure it up and pat it down, or hone it til it’s sharp and tight, acutely folded into square hours, minute feet, and toes of sleight-of-hand time.

The shape I am, even spaghetti strands of illuminating insight pass the day, squander the vision under scrutiny and sap the fight, a nap’s prelude. Only night crawls my skin with sparks. I’ll wait, multiplying numbers to the wheels’ passing golden trail.
 

credit: maimai.sega.jp

Time Travel

Travel Hangover–

Pouring damp memories over dying embers, 

anticipating the pop, sizzle and hiss of regret,

I refuse the temptation to stir the ash,

re-confirm the smolder hides no live fire.

Driving a rented van packed with her–

obstructed the view of road left behind,

held fleeting glimpses, speeding past blades

grass, roller, razor, “Did you bring knives?”

A mother reviewing, checking, fretting

the details whirring ahead to the horizon.

Unpacking the view clear, opened us up

to ponder, muse the hours in notes, little

cares, rehearsed sentiments, deficiencies

repeated with silent knowing nods, all said.

I play the game of focused movement 

to wile the hours, trick time to obey, my eyes

follow, attached to the point out there as all

else spins and races, rattles empty spaces ablur.

A splinter swollen sore and angry, riotous red

throbbed through a chipped thumb reminds me

I waited for you on wooden slats in the park

while you twirled a dizzy dance of fractured tune.

I stifled an urge to call out, make you notice,

but the stretching sound that circled us then

that moment I was churning in your disregard

of the world, of me, of the beckoning children

could not blanket the distance between us,

the one I carried up to your bed, squared 

to the wrong wall on the wrong floor in a room. 

  
 

Sharon Olds  

I Go Back to May 1937 (from The Gold Cell)
 
I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges, 

I see my father strolling out

under the ochre sandstone arch, the 

red tiles glinting like bent 

plates of blood behind his head, I 

see my mother with a few light books at her hip 

standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks with the 

wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its 

sword-tips black in the May air,

they are about to graduate, they are about to get married, 

they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are

innocent, they would never hurt anybody.

I want to go up to them and say Stop, 

don’t do it–she’s the wrong woman, 

he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things 

you cannot imagine you would ever do, 

you are going to do bad things to children,

you are going to suffer in ways you never heard of, 

you are going to want to die. I want to go 

up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it,

her hungry pretty blank face turning to me,

her pitiful beautiful untouched body, 

his arrogant handsome blind face turning to me,

his pitiful beautiful untouched body,

but I don’t do it. I want to live. I 

take them up like the male and female 

paper dolls and bang them together 

at the hips like chips of flint as if to 

strike sparks from them, I say

Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.

 
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