Life, that comedian

Life, that comedian
Time, that barbarian
Reason, that contrarian
Our traumatic designs, lies that hide and chide,
brutish, ignorant, rigid, unkind

Because she no longer cares
she lets his fiery mutual illusion
of unabated attraction disabuse
He slept like one who knew
he’d awaken in the morning

I never understood the fuss
you made over her
She wasn’t even pretty
They need to fight, I’d guess, to get off
It seems hot to them, it turns them on

What kind of person lets
the lemon meringue go bad?
We should all be afraid
I don’t need or want
your patronage, sympathy or charity

“We have a problem” she wrote
to us friends, via e-mail
What she meant was that Mike
had a stroke
and a few days later, Mike died

“Oh boo hoo hoo” she mocked the matrons
in her building, their sturdy regretful sadness as they cried
after they expressed some unfelt banalities,
when they first thought it was her,
the unlucky one, and not Mike, who died

It’s all your fault—
You must be a black man or a perv
to be caught for a chunk of your life
in this rash, oppressive and absurd
American gulag

It wasn’t the turn of her nose
that turned our heads
Not her physicality alone
that made her obsessively attractive
It was her irresistible character,

joined with her charm
the give and the wit of her conversation
that drew us to her
We attended to all she said and did
We were bewitched

Why do they insult the women,
fling insults and whistle at them?
Ladies, they resent that they need you,
want you, resent your pull
and their own unquenchable sorrows

There’s some very few that when they die
they leave an emptiness, a hole
We try to fill it with their stuff
and think about what they did
and can’t do anymore

This one liked old typewriters
He loved the cheap, old-fashioned kind—
their clumsy, modernistic, newish grey metallic,
the smell of their used, ragged ribbons, half red,
half black and all those words they typed

One sign of good health in the old—
you start to outlive your dental work
Another dispositive sign of good health—
you outlive your dentist
We’re taught to cling to what isn’t

Disaffected lovers are cruel
They take comfort in each other’s disaffection
Even if it exists, your god never answers
They weren’t my parents, no sir,
they were my guides

Matt and me we’d go to Mittaras
for the fried chicken, french fries, a small salad
drenched in sweet vinaigrette and a coke special
We’d go home with a bit of change
from the five bucks a piece Mom gave us

Two light purple trees
gleam and lean in the low autumn sun,
lean and gleam together in the void
No, the work wasn’t finished
until both of us said it was

He keeps souvenirs, juvenilia, pictorial notes,
burnished favorites of loves, triumphs, and traumas
His life that comedian, time that barbarian
reason, that contrarian—
the soulful souvenirs of this wondrous, godless life




-November 8, 2014-