Preparing for Inventory, #92

Say open, open the door,
tell me you long to go through
and know more, to be able
to stay abreast of product.

These are lucite walls you look
through, what I hide you can see.
So you say: I know, I know.
Come in and unpack the shelves.

There are boxes labeled boy,
labeled poems, labeled Old
Love, Eric Clapton,
Jason D. on stage.

Say open, say show me not
just what the labels suggest,
but what’s alive and breathing
to this day in these boxes.

Ours is a young love for lives
already grown old, and I’m
living for this daily grind,
so I hope you wish to know.

Thank you for asking, finally.
It took long enough. Enough
prodding, cajoling, hinting.
So I’ll tell you a story.

J.D. desperately fell for
Nicole, he lusted and longed
and finally convinced her
for a date, for a movie.

By sunrise at the diner
she understood what we knew
already (her side aching
for days from all the laughing).

By the next week, we could hear
their lovemaking down the hall,
hour long sessions of screams
only college freshman make.

We laughed while Jason’s roommate
sat doing homework, leaning
beside the doorjamb banging
his head in time with the bed.

They were inseperable,
where went Jason, on his arm
came Nicole. A few months
in the voices adjusted.

No more games, repetitive
affirmations, hot begging
for more more more, the voices
shouted expletives and names.

By the next week Jason D.
was drunk and angry, Nicole
was beneath someone else’s
sheets bellowing out that name.

The story is old and has
no point except for what comes
next, and this is why I relay
this to you. It’s in the box.

For weeks we can’t pinpoint him,
Jason’s not in the dining
hall, not in the TV lounge,
not in class or the courtyard.

From behind his door we hear
his guitar pounding out notes,
seven of them repeated
over and over. More. More.

We beg him to come out, eat,
go to the diner at night
or to a movie, and stop
playing those awful notes.

The next month Jason’s on stage,
empty stage in the theater,
open mic where everyone
does comedy, dance, upbeat.

Jason tunes up his guitar
and sits, looks out. He tosses
the first few notes awkwardly
into the crowd then looks down.

People are silent, no one
catches on, J. the jokester,
clown at the party, tricky
little J. bringing us down.

Nicole is there, she knows, we
taste those seven notes, over
and over, hear his slightly
off key strained singing (wailing).

The next year we don’t see J.,
He moves out, moves on, sleeps with
random women at parties,
shows up red faced and cursing.

If this makes no sense, don’t ask
to see more, the crates are locked
up with guitar strings knotted
around Jason’s broken heart.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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