again, there’s nothing else to think about

I have a friend, he’s mostly made of pain. He wakes up, drives to work and straight back home again. He once cut one of my nightmares out of paper. I thought it was beautiful, I put it on a record cover. And I tried to tell him that he had a sense. Of color and composition so magnificent.

And he said “Thank you, please, but your flattery. It is truly not becoming me. Your eyes are poor, you’re blind, you see. No beauty ever could have come from me. I’m a waste of breath, of space, of time.”

I knew a woman she was dignified and true. Her love for her man was one of her many virtues. Until one day she found out that he had lied. And decided the rest of her life from that point on would be a lie. She was grateful for everything that had happened. And she was anxious for all that would come next.

But then she wept, what did you expect. In that big old house with the car she kept. Such is life, she often said. With one day leading to the next. You get a little closer to your death. Which was fine with her, she never got upset. And with all the days she may have left. She would never clean another mess. Or fold his shirts, or look her best. She was free. To waste away alone.

Last night my brother, he got drunk and drove. And this cop, he pulled him off to the side of the road.

And he said, “officer, officer, you’ve got the wrong man. No, no, I’m a student of medicine, a son of a banker, you don’t understand.”

The cop said, “No one got hurt, you should be thankful. And your carelessness, it is something awful.”

“And no I can’t just let you go. And though your father’s name is known. Your decisions now are yours alone. You’re nothing but a stepping stone on a path. To debt, to loss, to shame.”

The last few months I’ve been living with this couple. Yeah, you know the kind who buy everything in doubles. Yeah, they fit together like a puzzle. I love their love and I am thankful. That someone actually receives the prize that was promised. By all those fairy tales that drugged us.

They still do me. I’m sick, lonely. No laurel tree, just green envy. Will my number come up eventually. Like love’s some kind of lottery. Where you scratch and see what’s underneath. It’s sorry. Just one cherry. I’ll play again, get lucky.

So now I hang out down by the train’s depot. No, I don’t ride, I just sit and watch the people there. They remind me of wind-up cars in motion. They way they spin and turn and jockey for positions. And I wanna scream out that it all is nonsense. Their life’s one track and can’t they see it’s pointless?

But just then my knees give under me. My head feels weak and suddenly it’s clear to see, it’s not them, but me. Who’s lost my self-identity. And I hide behind these books I read while scribbling my poetry. Like art could save a wretch like me with some ideal ideology. That no one could hope to achieve. And I’m never real, it’s just a sketch of me. And everything I’ve made is trite and cheap and a waste of paint. Of tape. Of time.

So I park my car down by the cathedral. Where the floodlights point up at the steeples. Choir practice is filling up with people. I hear the sound escaping as an echo. Sloping off the ceiling at an angle. When the voices blend they sound like angels. I hope there’s some room still in the middle.

But when lift my voice up now to reach them. The range is too high way up in heaven. So I hold my tongue, forget the song. Tie my shoes, start walking off. And try to just keep moving on. With my broken heart and my absent god. And I have no faith but it’s all I want. To be loved. And believe. In my soul, in my soul.

bright eyes / waste of paint

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