Sometimes I get a little too upbeat when writing blog items. I suppose I’m trying to be positive, but I’m not sure that’s my true nature. When I was a college sophomore, I read a lot of Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and fancied myself a member of the Beat Generation. I spent most of my spare time dwelling on the meaninglessness of life. It was depressing, but it seemed like one should accept reality. Then I went to grad school, got distracted, and simply forgot for a long time that life has no meaning. For some reason, life seemed to have gotten plenty of meaning, even if it really didn’t. Recently, though, I’ve found myself staying up late at night, trying to recapture some of those tortured adolescent feelings. Late night is good for that. It’s dark, silent, a little scary. Katja and the dogs sleep soundly, there’s rarely any traffic outside the window, and one is alone with oneself. As you get tired, your mind starts wandering, your daytime defenses fade, and you’re more in touch with your angst-ridden self. In an effort to get in closer touch with my dark side, I’ve been writing late night poems in free verse. Here are a few.
Tuesday’s almost gone
We’ll never see it again
Watch the pale moon rise,
Forget the dismal past,
Wednesday might be better
Or, more probably, even worse.
I can barely make out my mother’s call
From far across the field.
She speaks in an ancient dialect.
I cover my eyes and ears
Blocking out the sounds.
I can’t bear the thought
Of returning to my beginning.
They told me to throw my stuff away
I threw out the alarm clock and the scissors
But they wanted more
Two pairs of socks, a deck of cards, a broken pencil
They wanted my heart and soul
So I threw them out too.
Yesterday I saw a butterfly
Resting on a daffodil
Fluttering its yellow black wings.
Truly a creature of beauty,
But what does it know of anxiety or guilt?
Three days I went to the store
Searching for Sally, but she never arrived.
I bought cheap macaroni instead
I boiled it so long, it tasted of rot
If only Sally had been there.
Sad Morning Sight
Seduced by a whiff of cheddar cheese,
A small mouse lay impaled in the trap.
Frozen legs, stiff tail, vacant eyes.
One minor mistake can last for eternity.
I tried to hop on one leg
For three hours, maybe four
Around the edge of Dunlap Square
The adults ignored me
But two young boys started hopping too
Near the end my leg buckled
They carted me away
And locked me in a windowless room.
I never saw Dunlap Square again.
I went last night to the well,
And drew a pail of icy water.
Inside was a disembodied head.
Eye sockets empty, mouth hanging open
Disgust and shock, I threw it back.
But then I drank the water.
Sometimes when I get distracted
I look inside my mind
To find some clue of the world’s condition
Last night I saw three dogs barking at a toadstool
It’s so confusing, in there in my mind
Too many men and women, so much talk
You can barely hear your own voice
I struggle for clarity
But then I give up and hide in the cellar.
Too Clever a Cat
I saw this bird standing on my lawn
A cat saw it too, though the bird seemed not to notice
The cat crept up, slow, slow, slower
The bird stood transfixed
Suddenly the cat pounced
Whoosh, the bird swallowed the cat.
Cats shouldn’t be so relaxed about vultures.
-Jennifer M (11-20): I like the poems. And the images. Here’s my thought for you: After our walk today, I raked leaves while Rosie killed a snake.
-DCL to Jennifer (11-22): Raking and Rosie would be a good topic for a poem…
-Vicki L (11-18): Hi David, Your creative self is certainly having a field day. Despite your 'embracing the Shadow' in many of these poems, I find them filled with the bittersweet richness of living. I'm happy for you. I particularly liked: Distant Voice, Innocence Unspoiled (I'm frequently angry with butterfies; also squirrels); Sad Morning Sight (this sentiment, I believe, was inherited from your father); Inner Noise (I keep trying to convey this experience to my therapist but I don't get far:) Too Clever A Cat (Very engaging, paradoxical and mysterious. Upside: life is full of the unexpected; downside: be ever vigilant - the world is unpredictably dangerous? Or perhaps: usual victims can be predators or defend themselves; usual predators might bite the dust.) Thanks for your prolific contributions - so great. I spent much of the afternoon interviewing some strange dude about Medicare options. Perhaps I should write a poem about that? Much love, Vicki