Tuesday, April 29, 2008

One Hundred and Fifty Fourth Entry

So, it seems almost a lock that I'm starting a reading series!!!! The first one will be on the last Wednesday of May and will feature Nathan Austin and Lauren Ireland. It'll be at Home Sweet Home on Chrystie St. I have more information, but I'll update you dudettes later, okay?

This week is crunch time for me, work-wise. Tonight especially. And I'm dealing with it the only way I know how: by watching Back to the Future II and ignoring it. I am currently listening to the Gin Blossoms.

Also, I went to the Flarf reading at Bowery Poetry Club this last Saturday. It was interesting and good, mostly. Shanna Compton killed, of course. I loved her new poem. Anyway.

This poem is being posted especially for Dan Magers.

Here's my poem:


I burn most of the things I own
soon after buying them. Some of them
are cigarettes, and I guess that's okay,
but often, while musing in my study,
I'll forget my left hand set the house
on fire while my right hand set
the house on fire.

This town is why
red light bulbs were invented. Dinosaurs
used to roam here, but most of the bars
they frequented have been shut down.
I like it when old people,
sitting wherever they sit, smoking
whatever it is I smell, tell me
about how everything used to be better
before I was born. I don't think
I'm the problem. Young people,
wearing black, often tell me to go away
when I sit in the tattoo parlor
and tell them they are making
a horrible mistake.

But I don't think they're the problem
either. Most of this town is grass
spread out on each side of the expressway.
When mowed, it's easy to compare the surface
of the Earth to your very own face,
but actually there are differences,
just like the differences between architecture
and those little paper models the architects

When I set fire to this town
watching the fairgrounds melt
into unintentional outsider art,
I will smoke a cigarette, and it will
just be something I did.
Firemen will try to arc their hoses
high enough to put out the ferris wheel,
but up there, at the top, there is no fire
and there can be no water. Most of the old people
understand this confusing truth,
and that is why they sit there
and let flies settle in their glasses
and let the beer go flat
just so they can tell me
that the town you're born in
is the only town you'll ever really live in
and though you might hear of other places
and know people from them,
and even go there to live, all of that
is an illusion, and really you have never left.
Being Texans, they actually believe this.

Young people, to, think they are wise
about all kinds of things, and even though
they are wrong, this is a kind of wisdom
and it cannot be reproduced. In the tattoo
parlor, they relieve themselves
of the responsibility of owning their bodies,
and instead leave the big decisions
up to the pin-ups, battleships and wildebeasts
now taking up space on their thighs and forearms.

A tornado came through here once.
Not really, but it could have. Tornadoes are always
showing up. They never ask if they can stay,
and I guess they never stay that long, but they leave a mess,
an indelible impression everywhere that they go.
I am not like this. I try not to leave stains anywhere,
or marks on the floor, and although I am
unsuccessful, when I leave a particular area
it's as if I was never there, and whatever
I have done gets attributed to someone or something
else. This makes it incredibly easy to start fires,
and I have started many of them, but there are always
more, every day, that I haven't started,
and that's how I make peace with the idea of it.

My state has a long and interesting history.
At one point, many of us attacked
the Mexican army while they were asleep.
At Goliad, several of us surrendered
and were executed by the Mexicans.
This seems to have upset some people.
I'm sure they didn't mean any harm. It's just that
in the course of history, bad things happen
and people get hurt, often by other people.
If I have learned anything, and I have,
it's that worrying about the consequences
of these actions is not really a good way
to spend your time. There are so many
important things to eat. There are so many
important things to drink. If you don't
take advantage of these items, somebody else
probably will.


Dan Magers said...

I approve of this veritable tower of a poem.

Stephanie Elise Burns said...

Me too. Very nice.

Amy Lawless said...

that poem was long. i didn't read it.