My Line, #166

I find myself sitting in the office, bargaining away my
will, like lines in a datebook I must
keep, or some great to-do list that scrolls
secret in my head, which will be neglected if
the i’s are not all dotted with my own blood. It’s no
secret, I can not cede control. I need to insure the
songs are in perfect sync and rhythm,
sung allegro and with feeling,
in the old styles
loud and off key, a
chorus of huzzahs
and boos, the whiny feedback
acoustic women howl,
solo on stage,
by themselves, lamenting
the loss of a boyfriend or the
voices of their fathers playing
in perfect discord and dissonance. Somehow
my perfect one-night-wasted lives here. She’ll
head in the door any minute
because of the smoke or
the coffee. She’ll
tune her guitar
and tug me tight on
the taut strings. I love her immediately for her
dissonance, feel a resurgence in
the pit of my stomach, and lower, in places
crass and untamable, useless adrenaline
and hormones pumped into my
pitiful bloodstream, the
lyrics of her ballad
are my most heartfelt insecurities. I’m
not a man tonight, my face is not
suitable to be seen. It is hidden
for the sake of the children,
all of those who cry on contact, the
audiences who only see me babbling.
Indeed, were I to tell you
what I was really thinking, likely
I would alienate all of you. I don’t
want that. I’ve worked
to hard to get you to listen, to
believe me,
because I love you, I miss you and
believing me
makes us closer somehow. So,
me, here, on this page. I still
feel the need to hide the most
powerful things
and share only the least
secretive. A man
is walking down a street
that he has known
each of his long lives. He sings a
song he learned as a child and
has a newspaper in his back pocket.
The paper contains a
potential bombshell that has the chance
to throw off his whole day,
tear apart his house and home, break
down the walls and sidewalks.
My first thought is that this is a
work. An interview of
words meant to entertain
or at least divide the
marriage of form and action into
its component parts. It’s
not like I owe myself anything
that I haven’t already paid.
I’m well paid. It’s not like I’m
cheating, not death or the numbers,
no, indeed, I have paid
the piper, these
lines are carefully crafted,
are laid out in rows, for
real. When I am working,
as I will be as soon as this
is done, I leave them hung on
my back porch for hours at a
time to cure
beneath the summer sun, under
the awning while I walk the
mall and wither under false
lights. It’s
as if the man
is never ready to go home, he circles
the block again and again, like the
ring for a boxer.
It’s creepy frankly. His demeanor
just doesn’t adjust.
I am not this man, you
know, this is not
my alter-ego or the sum of my
excesses, laid out to be poked
and prodded at. These are
my hopes and fears, my
limitations, the wheat
and the chaff of my daily living.
Realize, this here, this kiss
that I lay on your forehead, metaphoric as it
were, these words,
the curve of their spines and their
world, this is a letter
to my past and futures selves a way to
see the past and future, to bring
them, all my bodies, together,
out of the darkness out
there, the lines of never and not yet,
naked like a baby
and a corpse, both trapped
in the ground and the eyes,
all of them, afraid of
their shadows.
Glory. That while we
were on this earth, each, we,
I was given the tool, the body of
an animal to keep us alive,
athlete of the kingdom
or nature’s
ingenue,
the creativity of a god,
floppy sad bellies. We are
fat with possibility, the great
bits of the maker
left lying about, to figure out, this
hairy existence
and cold darkness
dangling in front of us. I’ve wasted
my chance by being
slow, by letting the
fat rest inside me, by watching it
greying and
wrinkling until my
form, the body of the lines
I wrote warped, and
would not get back into shape,
be those new corners that get
worse over time, more dented
than the frail ego I’ve carried around,
shunned since birth, dented
worse than an old AMC gremlin, worse
than the frying pan my wife
chastised me for keeping, the one she
kicked from the kitchen,
out the door and forbid me
or it from returning, threatening
divorce (or worse).
When she woke this morning,
I was hiding on the sofa, she
walked out of a drunk stupor
into my self-flagellation,
an internal monologue leaving no
room for her dramas,
filled to the brim
with the voices of sorrow and
strangers, who either hate
or taunt me and who
all disappoint my image
of what a good, decent human,
my warped image of a
good, decent human, family men,
friends, congregations should be.
I wasn’t wailing and she
would have thought it must
be just another poetic fit, easy to be
ignored.

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Author:

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

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