Friday, November 18, 2011

Late Night/Dark Self

Dear George,

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.



Almost Wednesday

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.

Distant Voice

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.

Cleaning House

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.

Innocence Unspoiled

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?

Pasta Regrets

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.

Futile Quest

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

Yellowed teeth

Disgust and shock, I threw it back.

But then I drank the water.

Inner Noise

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.

G-mail Comments

-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

1 comment:

  1. Well, David... healthy to explore your shadow side, brave and honest to share it in your blog. To move through my own despair over this fleeting thing we call "life," I've created my version of the Buddhist meditation on death -- by reading literature and poetry about death, And I've come to realize all creative voices have felt this angst. Take heart that you're not alone, in the light or in the dark.