a poem.

Museum of the Sea


I could hear coins jingling

in my bank account. I was not anything

to anybody, but a stranger,

a well-played one. An indifferent

symphony of signs. The white shirt

crumpled against a wall, the cigarette butts

strewn at the toes of creased shoeleather,

not much light is needed. Everybody begins

somewhere. We sent you roses

in the hospital, it’s a strange place

for a love affair.


The three of us banded together

in forgetting. Your tuba dirge

urged us onward, or perhaps it

was the cold stone at our backs

and the strange fright of fire,

the lightened corridor before us,

each step irreplaceable.


Bulbs of cameras flashed and captured

half-lunatic grins, the grin is a lunatic gesture.

We were banded together in forgetting,

who are you?, we sent flowers to you

at the hospital. 


One response to “a poem.

  1. Interesting things draw me in here. First of all, your imagery is at times as strong as one of my favorite all-time images from you (In bars / mounds of … [I hope it makes a comeback here]). The first stanza, almost does nothing for me. Almost. First, there’s fact that the narrator presents himself as a stranger, and then this sameness is expressed in used, unvivid turns of phrase. This would be a bad thing, but then again, “not much light is needed.” The roses in the hospital is a haunting set up.

    The second stanza is my favorite. The “tuba dirge” drums up “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, where the tuba motif — an operatic buffoonish bass line — pulls Larry David forward in his inevitable comedic march. But in life, is it that tuba line that pulls us forward, or stone and fear of fire? And time, always forward. The hospital, in this stanza, feels like a mental hospital — harsh, sterile, fluorescent-bulbed.

    Of course, it feels more like a mental hospital with the “half-lunatic grins” of the third stanza. There’s also this paparazzi feel here: the “bulbs” remind me of 1950s La Dolce Vita paparazzi. A red carpet leading to the hospital, maybe red flowers, taking shots at the leader fallen. Heroes are not made in the hospital, or in the grave, it is there that they are enshrined.

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