Prayer for Kierkegaard.
Oh my dearest God,
I have turned my cleverness
inside, and now I know
all of the shrewd escape routes
of all the crimes that will
ever happen, but I will
never tell. Bless me;
I am a rat in plain sight.
From here I can see fifteen
balconies and the top of the bell
tower of a church. A neighbor
across Adam’s alley has been
mowing over the same 200 sq ft.
patch of lawn for 45 minutes like
it is center court at Wimbledon.
Pete is sleeping, Adam is
pretending to sleep, and Nathan
What is the point of pretending?
To close one’s eyes and to turn one’s shoulder
and to dream just long enough to dream
about waking up and turning off the alarm
and opening the freezer
and pulling out the blue box of Wild Berry Toaster
Strudels and putting one into the toaster and then to
multitask—to go out the back door and to hear the lawn
mower again (hasn’t he stopped?) to flip over the disc
on the third floor landing—it is a demo disc for the Sims 3
and someone left a bag of ginger peach green tea on the third to
last stair on the first flight down and the lawn mower cuts out—and to
hear the toaster make that satisfying mechanical click like the punching of a time card
or like dropping your first item into an empty shopping cart– and to enter the threshold of the
kitchen to realize that you only write poems when you are hungry and to grab the special wooden
toaster tongs and to clip the top of the plastic purple frosting packet and to decide that it’s true—
It’s going to be bright and hot today.
This is the set of a movie wherein fictitious you has sex with your future and also fictitious husband or
wife, it is dark and only the light of a charging cell phone brightens the room.
The bed creaks, knocking against the wall. Light spreads, creeping along the floor to the far wall opposite
the apartment window. On the other side of the wall two children are haggling in the hall.
Child 1: Why you always have root beer?
Child 2: What, now you don’t want it?—that’s cool.
Child 1: No, I still want it it’s just like you always have grape and root beer and you never break them up
right. Didn’t your mom ever teach you how to break your popsicles in two—you gotta push down on the
middle on the edge of your counter. Your counter got edges, right?
Child 1: Can’t reach it.
Child 2: The counter?
Child 1: Yep. So it’s either two bucks for this broke up one in the wrapper or you can keep lookin.
Child 2: Here’s two.
They eat root beer popsicles in the hall and listen to you while you screw in the bedroom.
This is the theater where people have been coming back night after night to see how fictitious you
(who is much more attractive and much better with words) tell your fictitious husband or wife that you
don’t like hair that is parted down the middle and that you would rather flirt than complain while root
beer syrup drips on the spotted grey carpet in the hallway and the balcony of the apartment across the
courtyard is on fire and middle parted hair looks especially bad when the face is asymmetrical and a
woman is standing in the courtyard, crying with a pug in her arms and your fictitious brother calls you
from fictitious suburban northern Massachusetts where the farmers have their own language about the
sky that is neither meteorological nor metaphorical and your brother doesn’t speak that language, so
small talk is hard, which makes selling remedial 4-8 mathematics books door to door especially difficult
and your fictitious future spouse is light blue and naked on a dark blue bed and fictitious future spouse
is laughing and fictitious you is red orange and naked and standing in the light of the balcony fire and
your ass looks great.
This is a poem about how
movies forget that there
are many main plots in reality
that are often not connected
at all. This is a poem is for all the sub
plots that deserved to have their
own feature films. Yes, someone’s getting
married. Yes, a pug and her owner
lost their home. Yes, the children are spying
on couples while they’re having sex and
selling popsicles to each other for 100%
profit. Yes, your brother will be
staying on your couch all summer
long. Yes, hair that is parted down the middle
looks stupid on everyone regardless of facial
symmetry. Yes, the farmers are talking about
the sky in their own way, and even with the
help of a feature film you could never know
what they’re really saying—
unless you are a farmer.
about a rough red
leather suitcase that
I saw in the trunk of my dad’s car.
He bought it in Illesheim in 1981
and he was going to take it to the
unless I wanted it.
I did. But sometimes
parents need only
the slightest indication—
a head nod, a narrowing
of the eyes—to give you
their junk when they
are through with it. That is,
walk through their houses
and they don’t see couches
and footrests or book
shelves and potpourri bowls
or George Foreman
Grills. Instead, I
suspect, they see
beautiful hot pink cursive
neon signs of your
name and the names
of all your siblings and
suddenly you have a tooth
brush holder in the
shape of an angel fish
that you don’t know
what to do with.
But in the case of the
suitcase, I want it badly.
Cory, I’m going to New York,
and I’ve already thought of
how I am going to fold
my clothes so that they all fit.
Right now I’m feeling the side effects of probiotics.
The label on the medicine bottle
says, “One billion live cells in
every tablet.” Right now I have
a little bit of white powder on
my finger. I lick it off. Maybe
it was one million living cells.
Maybe it was two million living
cells. It’s hard to tell.
Photo courtesy Joydeep