Long a diplomat of an illusion in decay, a devotee of a mimicry without source, he curls up lazily on the corner, like the tongue of a cat, and rails at each passerby with nonsequiturs, his hand extended only enough to make it diffucult to reach. He likes the tentative shuffle.
He's sold every face he owns, and their shadows. Sometimes he bargains, "I'll die for your sins, if you will live for mine."
Yesterday, he arrived earlier than usual to find an ecologist with a stained beard in his spot. The man was bent over in a consumptive cough, holding a sandwich board which said, NOW OUR EARTH IS SHAPED / IN THE CHARACTER OF MAN. He didn't get what it meant. He screamed at him and threatened him if he didn't leave his area at once: "...or I'll kick your ass to the magic mountain." He was not dumb. In a past he barely recalled, he had read many books.
Sometimes, though rarely, he would engage me in a lucid conversation, letting loose the character he played. I remember in particular a dream he described. "I was right here, as I am in all my dreams (which I find horrible), and a woman... an old, bothersome woman, like the ones with the rags, shopping bags and lime green shoes...asks me the time. I scream at her to go away...I mean, doesn't she see I have no watch? And the clock on the left spire of the office building across the square is broken. It did work once, you know...when did you first come around? Forget it. Listen. I'm screaming, and suddenly I am vomiting the hands of a clock...one about the size of a, say, kitchen clock, though they were in roman numerals, the numbers that followed the hands...and they were coated with that uranium stuff, like the wristwatches that glow in the dark. And the woman waits until it's all up and says, 'That's because you have eaten so much time.' Dumb shit dream, huh? I though that was a good last line though, didn't you? Maybe you could write about it. It probably wouldn't be as good written down though. At least, that's been my experience. Oh, yes, I've tried writing myself...why do you think I always dream about this place. Always. I could be dreaming now."
What was strange about what he said was the part about me writing it down, since I'm certain I never told him I was a writer. He assumed other things correctly as well. It was that intuition of a beggar. Lazy as he was, he had the touch that was needed.
And that included knowing when a place was stripped barren. He left two days ago. All he said was he was trying, "Another cosmopolitan area." The spare change was getting sparse. It was all coin...thin coin. "A beggar hates loud money," he always said. "There is no sound as pretty as the sound of silent money."
ME, MYSELF, AND I
I was born in a pool. They made my mother stand. Gravity was unsure of me from the start; as I slipped from the womb I did not fall, but rose into the sky and over the cities. It was night, and the clouds were restless. I have been this way ever since. When I finally came down...when I was released after days, no one left their buildings for weeks. I sought out the streets neaer the filthiest markets for food, and thier pure silence was embedded in me. With the first sound of footsteps, I took to hiding behind the side altars of churches. I worhiped there...not for God, but for silence. It was gone; its pureness broken by the shifting of beads, a candle lit loudly by arthritic fingers. I moved always down deeper, into the storerooms beneath cold marble floors. In the darkness I am the holiest of men. When I sleep, I am awakened by blood from the feet of statues dripping across my eyes.
I am never bored. I entertain myself. I put deadly spiders along my thigh, and they inject me with God. At times, I pretend I am a man in order to laugh.
Past midnight, when the doors have been barricaded for night, I ascend and steal water from the baptismal fount to drink. For nourishment, I eat what moves across the floor in the darkness. I have never seen my food.
What need have I for companionship? Without trying, I have made an alliance with angels: my will and capability are one. And, against my will at first, I was given comrades in Hell. It is why I dance.
The saints know who I am. Because I dance, they have made clear that they may offer me no aid. Yet, they have vowed their respect for me nonetheless.
At night, to keep my body well, I climb these church walls within. For footholds I use the reliefs of Christ on his way to Calvary, ashe weeps into a veil. Sometimes, as a great feast day approaches, workmen use scaffolds to polish the facades. They ascend all the way to the rotunda ceiling. It is my only sky. I choke on the dead reliquary air of a hundred years. I will be here on this scaffold, like an owl, for a hundred more. Looking down, it is again the day of my birth. And I kiss the painted blue. I touch the painted stars.
yeah god, it is fear of dreaming
ha. i can play this game.
When I reach France, every promise will be kept. I want to be there, nodding in a chair from some bygone court in the hotel lobbies, with its back so high and its velvet arms. I'll sit beneath the sweet chandeliers and reflect my dreams off them, and they'll give it all back. Across the cathedral of Paris the sun is bending, weary like the eyes of their marble saints, who blow cracked trumpets to the water birds at dawn.
I dropped out of school for sounds like that. I left it to those whose senses tok the borders for granted. Who let their eyes be covered with the dull loose tissue of their dying fathers. Whose hearts did not make vows that marked those veins above my wrists for a lifetime. Left me here to pay the price which is a thin red poison that does nothing but lower the odds for my shot at love eternal. But keep your eye on me now, because I'll break each vow open, like a book that has lied to me...I'll leave it back where I found it in the streets for some other clever white boy to carry away.
Then I will never love these gifted whores again. Or think twice to stop and watch down a long corridor two old couples dancing slowly before dawn without once changing the music. I'll have enough money to confuse myself and I'll clutter my des and rooms with empty boxes, and my lover's neck with jewels that whisper. Our children will come to us one evening near some ocean, with no regrets.
For now I lift up time at its edges and divide the day into quarters. When I am alone in this chair, I feel them dissolve like the darkness in a room before I take my aim. There are women with glasses and neat pleated skirts in a single row along the wall passing a baby through each other's arms. There are voices that aid me like a father, comfort me like a sister. Until the light shifts, and they crawl back to that dim alcove...saviors left unrecognized by heaven and its pedantic systems. Dressed neatly, with hair combed back straight. Do you know them? Do you know the place where I saw them last? Where the words have finally waited, and light in their eyes. And it's not France.
i think i like the book of nods the best.
WHILE SHE'S GONE
It's too late to change you with language
Your boundaries are always too narrow, and you bury
Yourself beneath a shallow grave of artifice, flesh and perfection
Look up above the mountain, to the right
Of the castle's turret, that's not a gull
That's a heart.
And of course it's tattered
Swooping too low crossing
The Atlantic to find you, its stomach
Was slit open on the horns of a caribou in Greenland.
Many species of birds have feasted on its eyes.
So, having come this far, I can now barely see you
It's two weeks since you've gone
The fragrance you left
Still remains in this apartment
As if it were bracketed to the wall like a shelf
It remains sweet yet somehow stale
The pressuring scent of expedience
How I hunger to devour it to devour you
Slowly, gently, vicious.
I chew on the pubic hairs you left on the sheet
Like a country boy ches a blade of grass as he walks
Near a pond, skimming flat rocks across the water.
If the angels knew, were kind,
That is where I'd be.
Instead, I have been been sitting down by the Hudson
At the end of the Gansevoort St. Pier
Reading Schiller on the sentimental and naive
Melville was a customs clerk there
The streets are still cobblestone
I'm hoping for an experience that pre-dates you.
For example, being chased by a dragonfly.
What is not perfect, you deign to destroy.
When you find your idea of perfection
You relax on well-cut grass leading down to the stream.
You make a stranger a lover and a lover a stranger
You isolate the curve of longing
Then accelerate the flow.
It becomes the curve of binding energy.
Under different circumstances,
I could admire that.
I keep finding your long straight hairs
In the blankets in the carpet on the arm
Of the chair where you were working
Perfecting your calligraphy
The lavish tyranny of words
Now I watch the red in each long strand shine, twisted
Between my thumb and forefinger in the window light
I tied one around the neck of an alabaster bear
The rest I just continue to drape across the roses
In the wine bottle beside the kitchen window
It's beginning to look like a spider's web. It seems
That each symbol possible, in time, finds its way back to me.
I put my faith in I put my I put mine in I put my faith in you
While it rains outside through the night
Through the twilight of the gods
I want to watch the rain falling with you inside
Inside you I want the rain to fall inside you
Lap the drops that drain
Lost, I remain inside you
When I took off to swim the river last week
I left the wine glass on the table beside my bed
The one you drank from here
Near full with bottled water, as you asked
The capricious symbols are turning cliche and wet
When I got home it was five days later, the humidity
In the city heavy that week but still
When I held it up there was something left, just enough drops
To wash down a pill to fall asleep
The I filled it again and left it to the sun and defiance
There are times I hate you there is no question
But an unforced grace remains. Your generous silence
With our tongues we could tie the laces of angels,
Light or fallen, no matter
Your thighs moved smoothly as Latino gangsters
It's hard to walk from a love that never ended
The fury is deadly, as if I were locked forever
In a room with movies of bridges collapsing
Too rigid for the quick wind
You see, your leaving occurred without
The foreplay of anxiety which is essential
Before one flies through the window of a car
Out of control
Unprepared, only a certain yet vague prescience which didn't
Seem to concern me much I left it in your hands
As I took you at your word. Now I see the only means
I had to heal the burn was to replay again and again each permutation
In all its bitterness, and illusion.
It becomes tedious
As the tedious becomes essential apparently
Cassandra (Bobbi): that's you incarnate
Sweating the details of a future bliss
As if you could control it
The angels are more confused than ever
For once they call out, and there is no one to listen
You called from a phone by a lake
Deep in the canopy of black forests
The entire country deciduous, leaves rotting
Among the fresh angel skin a heart flown so far, it's fallen
It's grey among the leaves like a dying frog
And, seeing it, you step away, glad you avoided it
I foudn another of your hairs on the floor
This time I just threw it away it's becoming old
It keeps us from floating away.
Yet presses down. We stumble and fall.
I thought dusk was the moment dividing
Night and day, all things possible.
Yet, tonight looking out from this terrace
Twilight is filled only
With red taillights moving away, to bridges or tunnels
Yet always water, above or below, red taillights
And the mercurial sadness of another darkness descending
A thicker gravity. So many lost loves
Your boundaries were too narrow
Everything planned assiduously
Within surgical thin perimeters.
Now and then you would test the borders you defined
But never too far, inside the fear of finding yourself
Even for a moment lost. At times you did
Step beyond, paler slightly from the risk,
To burn in the wilder sun, yet always returning
In time for the mail and the certainty and the phone perhaps
Inside those boundaries assurance and fantasy blur and merge
Inside those boundaries, thought and action become one
Without distinction. Those outside
Get spun, unravel. Your arms shrink in the cause of embrace
What you try to comfort you can no longer reach.
And I've done everything I'm accusing you of.
All the while I was staring straight
Into a wavering blue flame
Among the flaws, I watched
Your necessity bloom
Like careless crawling orchids
I didn't really notice until the first petal fell
And a strange arboreal wind blew it away
I was always seeing you on the move
As if passing in airport after airport
The smell of jet fuel, vanilla, fancy soap and ambivalence
Without an hour nad, a minute hand emblazoned
On its heat and glow, I could have
Watched the dew in these days reveal you as you opened
Perhaps I could have unveiled my own hesitations, washed the poison
From my lips, held you down by your wrists and watered you
In all resistance. Once again build myself a thirst and drink your overflow
I could have taken you to the dark gods
Still getting us back home on time
To sleep with with the anorexic angel
Who I would pin motionless, radiant
Between your breast and my hand
My hand unyielding
Extended outward as light, the light
You learned as you lost it in a single moment
It's months now since you've been gone
And what I feel I'll tell you what it's like
It's like a glass of Spanish Champagne slipping from my hand
Taking months to reach the carpet
It's like a slow hanging
This city is a scaffold my room's a trapdoor beneath
Not rope but a long red scarf a silk noose
Tightening slightly more day after day
Even now as I type
My feet are dangling a foot or two above the floor
Breathing only through vanity and my fingertips
The time hasn't changed since you left
That moment in front of my building throwing your suitcase
Into the trunk of the cab, a Hindu driver. I check the airport route
He has planned for you. We kiss long and sad and I
Watch you drive slowly off, your head craned back at me
I watched until you turned at 19th St. and were out of sight
Leaning my head to the side and feeling the cool of a marble pillar
Against my cheeks making one last wave one last
I went upstairs, called her, and slept
Forcing myself not to wake until daylight the next day.
You're in Amsterdam.
If they took those reinforcing beams away
From the old wooden houses along the canals in Holland
The would most likely have fallen into the water by now.
That is your art form
Out of lace and lashes.
Everthing just fell away.
The bridges over the canal
They're quaint and banal
Tourist boats pass beneath.
I was a tourist
to your body.
Why do you smile so widely in every picture I have of you?
Sometimes it makes me feel like slapping you
In this room everything comes as a whisper.
So what did you say?
Why do I want to know?
Because that's the way it is for me, and always has:
To be amused, bewildered, bemused, and fucked
Without the slightest aspect of left out.
I thought I had been floating with the tide easily
These last three years, not looking ahead yet waiting
For some small island
Even a rock would have done
To land on and survey how far I had come
And if it was worth going on
And all the while I now learn you had somehow fixed, shifted the natural flow
And I have been swimming upstream against those vacuumed years.
Salmon are an endangered species
Man, and the paws of black bears
I'm tired too tired for conjunctions.
Having reached land,
Are you worth love in any form?
An old story getting older
You may not possess irony, but you carry it like a silk purse
Now the mute fog rolls in off the river
And I can't speak.
It makes me listen too hard
With an urge to believe.
Why couldn't we find a love in that too-American exhaustion
Melt into each other as the hour that moans
In Europe now you have reached a mountaintop
Whose scent is things dead a thousand years
That is the fragrance of betrayal.
A cologne you took years to create
A chemical pun you mailed me in a white envelope
A white wedding envelope
The chemical wedding of C.R.
Child bride antelope
Collide and elope
This cologne is what you would have me press
In two subtle drops around my neck
Like a noose of splintering tears.
I flew straight through that car window
Without the essential anxiety
And the only way to recover
Is to play it over and over
On a screen too small
For the curve of time in this ward where I have been waiting
It makes everyone a fool, awake and in dreams. I wound up
Loving something I was forced to reinvent, deconstruct
Though i know you so well now
Come to understand your meaning
That's the worth of a lifetime
Everything else collapses
Or repeats often enough to forget
Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us
It's hard to find comfort
In this world.
You brought that to me
That's hard to let go.
Only you and I know only you & I
You have always been so far away
You have always
Been right here
Jim_Carroll, Void of Course
everything i read reminds me of you
and you pretend like you can't see me
without a word
yeah but it sure beats Rikers
those are people who died (died!)
they were all my friends and they died
learned all about sorrow
people who died is one the all time best punk rock songs. possibly one of the very first "emo" punk songs. the emotion evoked in that song is something everyone can relate to.
Eddie i miss you more than all the others, this song is for you my brother.
i read him jim_carroll over the phone when he was drunk. i still remember his voice in my head. i still have his card on my fridge. that was one of those things that i_fucked_up . fucked up my phone bill, fucked up being friends, yep fucked up. he didn't like to call me by my really name. he called me unhinged more often than not. i don't know many. it was weird like silent money and voodoo guitars. and it was weird that i blathered this in my head a few days ago, sitting in my apartment alone and miserable and computerless and he's back around again.
i feel bad.
A card from her
She played her violin over the phone for me even though it must have been tiring and hurtful after a full day of playing. I thought that was about a perfect moment for my less then perfect memory box. She didn't fuck anything up, we both did. And while I may have harboured some hurt at her saying don't call anymore, it has passed and all I could ever wish is for her to overcome her manacles of the past. I would and will always carry her voice in my head, especially when I made her laugh, that I couldn't forget if I tried.
I was afraid to contact her again after my episodes of fogginess and exploding heart shards. But she can always contact me, anytime. And I hope she knows that.
z can paste too
people who died
such an influence on my young life
i read him now and see angles i couldnt comprehend when i was young
(i am disgusted by the empty boxes of condoms and broken needles along the sidewalk, at the busstop in my neighborhood. maybe i should try to pull a jim and write an eloquent trippy poem about them)
what's it to you?