Portrait of the Artist as a Heteronym

You could engage in something.

You could engage the inner life of the spirit, and forget about everything else.

You could organize your life like a literary work, putting as much unity into it as possible.

You could testify to the cultural history of whigs from a colonial perspective.

You could try to charm by what is in your silence.

You could analyze the huts of hermits from the perspective of French poststructuralism.

You could study the lantern-bearers of old.

You could organize your life around chaos from the point of view of Deconstructionism.

You could lament the loss of community in colonialism from a Marxist vantage.

(You could cite the lantern-bearers as evidence.)

You could temper the will.

You could cultivate concentration, and forget about everything else.

You could make yourself a force by thinking, as inwardly as possible, that you are indeed…a force.

You could become part of the tragedy.

You could kill the killer.

You could become part of the comedy.

You could kill the killer from the perspective of French poststructural Feminism.

You could organize your life.

The Farce that will Become History, part ii

Remember

that dream you have

where you’re about to have sex

with a dead shark

except that white guy from NBC shows up

on his Patrol boat, with his silver hair, yelling

something hokey and obnoxious at the same time, like

‘You’re too late pal–this predator’s mine! Catch your own’?

it’s never very clear

which of you he is talking to, though

you always take off your mask

just the same, as if

preparing

already

for your mugshot.

Remember

that you have this

dream again and again, and

each time you wake up

feeling like a high-rise

that just collapsed

in the middle of the desert–

You do, really?

Because I just made it up.

Always

remember

that it helps to remove

your mask when you need to swim

for your life.

Hammock Series, part ii

Luftmensch (Yiddish)

there are several yiddish words to describe social misfits.

this one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense.

a Luftmensch is literally an air person.

Which is also a pretty good way to describe someone lying in a hammock.

 Schadenfreude (German)

so what, sometimes you sleep in a hammock out on your patio? it’s good for your back.

so what, one of your neighbors has a real peeping-tom thing going on? it’s almost charming sometimes.

sometimes, it almost makes you feel less alone.

Kummerspeck (German)

excess weight gained from emotional overeating in a hammock.

literally ‘grief bacon’.

Epicaricacy (Greek variation of schadenfreude), noun.

so what, you wear a komono to sleep now?

I bet you didn’t see that coming.

glas wen (welsh), noun.

a smile that is insincere or mocking.

sometimes caused by lying in a hammock too long, practicing

your face in a darkened courtyard

for someone who isn’t there.

literally, a blue smile. 

Metanoia (Greek in origin), noun.

so what, your neighbor is a fat woman with a peeping tom problem?

so what, she’s a fat lady who likes cheap thrills?

so what, whenever you wake up from a hammock,

you throw five darts at the fence that faces her window, one after the other, until

your komono flies behind you like a cape, leaving your body totally exposed.

(an Esperanza never wears his clothes to bed beneath his kimono.)

so what, when you’re up for it, you hold this stance as long as you can

to show off your perfect stroke and follow-through.

then you look up at the fat lady’s balcony, waiting for her

to weep, or waiting for her to turn away or red, or sing?

so then, you stare blankly toward the sky,

hoping she cracks or breaks into blossom

before you do.

so what, you don’t smile at her through the window

(because you’re not that easy).

so what, you always laugh first, because

she never does.

Ikstuarpok (eskimo), adjective / idiom.

that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to meet you at a hammock in the middle of the night and so you keep on going outside, looking around to check to see if they’ve arrived yet, because you haven’t spoken to them in so long you feel anxious all over again and don’t want to be awkward and scare them away; so you keep on going outside to see if they’ve arrived because you can’t remember what it’s like anymore to talk to this person, or whether you even want to; because you don’t know what else to do.

Vybafnout (Czech), noun. 

literally to jump out from behind the bushes

or from behind a hammock, and say:

‘boo’.

Zhaghzhaghzhagh (Persian), noun.

the chattering of teeth from the cold or from rage.

On the Particular Sadness of Virginia Woolf

Someone really ought to write a letter to the Times about

the sky. The way its cinema of untapped resources plays to

an empty house night after night after night after night…And yet!

What an a-list star the sky becomes in one’s dreams. What manifold

roles it plays, parading unversed and versatile treasures one after another.

Out here on the outskirts of acquaintance, there are no high-rises to obstruct

our view. And there is a virgin forest in each of us, a snowfield where even the

prints of birds are unknown. So why must we wait on the wrong side of a two-way

mirror, where the edges of clouds burn sharp and solid as stone, where constellations of

Apollo’s winged chariot radiate freedom, the way steam swirls from a beaker in an empty lab?

break yoself

a teacher once told me that cleverness
is only cleverness when it is
thinking out loud, and all that matters
is not how much you are ready to inflict
yourself on to the world but
whether or not you are capable
of revealing yourself to the world
without trying.

how convenient then
that i am the type of person
who goes to a bar ‘to get healthy’
and ends up forgetting who he is

so that when everyone sees me
shedding my clothes at Last Call
they’re reminded that
maybe all real love is
love in the dark and
that maybe the most
embarrassing thing in the
world is to be forced to watch
someone who has nothing
to reveal.

A Matador Buys Some Fine China

I have a friend who says the kind of love that matters is walking into a china shop
with a two by four; and when the employee asks if he can help us, ‘No’, we’ll say. ‘We can help you though’.

And whenever I think of making this city a playground I think of you.

I think of playing ding-dong ditch at the neighbor’s house, hoping he doesn’t own a gun. I think of lying in bed all day watching the movie of every last thing we haven’t done; eating lettuce sandwiches out of each other’s unpaid tax money; reading obnoxious placards in art galleries with an Austrian accent; feigning dead man’s float in a borrowed pool, waiting to see who’ll rescue us.

And when the universe in the ICU gets so cold and cruel that it blathers on like a baby, I want us to break into swimming pools at night and have water fights until they throw us to the curb.

Picture two children traipsing through the streets in diapers, waddling between the cracks in the sidewalks, popping wheelies like

‘I’ll race you to the bridge’!

Let’s lose our appetites so someone else can find them.

Let’s visit emergency rooms just to say hello, so they know we don’t only visit when things are bad.

Let’s tell them they haven’t invented a pill for this feeling yet.

It’s like coming upon a piece of fruit in the snow and
placing it above your mantel piece –
not out of respect or anything, but
because you just don’t feel hungry anymore.