her mind is a chrysanthemum
a blade her every thought
though deeply analytical
perhaps she ought to be
involved in calculations
or solid geometry
instead she spends her time
examining a dream
wondering what these words mean
i need to get an oil change
and she thought
i came back and the world changed
i did the dishes they’re all clean and
why didn’t you do them
didn’t i tell you i’m working late and
it’s all up to fate
these are the miscommunications
that make the heart sink
the spoken unspoken words
that make you think and think
was such a mess.
He wanted that immortal thing.
But he was human,
less than godly
(even if one-third was king).
He wrestled bull,
he killed Humbaba,
he loved and lost poor Enkidu.
If only he had
there’d be nothing he couldn’t do.
he stood in front of me as we waited in line.
taped to the back of his white t-shirt was
a slip of paper, also white, on which
was hand printed in faint letters:
out of order.
who hasn’t felt out of order from time to time?
he was a thin rail of a young man
with eyes hidden behind ray-bans,
while about his neck floated streams
of white surgical gauze giving him the allure
of a wounded French aviator (à mon avis, at least).
his purpose there, however, was prosaic enough:
he wanted a cup of ice water, which made perfect sense
on this hellishly hot day in la la land.
another man sitting nearby, not understanding,
said to him, yo, someone has taped a sign on your back,
but the young man said nothing in reply.
instead, after getting his drink, he moved on
to the side counter, where he dumped out half
the ice water and filled the cup with cream
all the way to the brim.
Perhaps only then did he have the proper mixture,
the magic elixir, to put the self back in order.
and yet once out the door, rather than continue
on his way, he stopped and turned to face
the glass door as it slowly closed in front of him.
how this added to his starbucks experience
i’ll never know.
Are there cities that you just can’t stand? Cities that for no easily justifiable reason suck the life out of you? I remember meeting a Londoner in St. Petersburg once (and I’m not talking about either London or St. Petersburg in this regard – just relating what this man had to say) who told me he hated Los Angeles – it had no soul. Being from Los Angeles, I felt I had to explain. I said, L.A. is such a huge metropolis with so many different communities and vibes – weren’t there perhaps some areas he liked better than others? No, he replied. He hated it all and couldn’t leave fast enough.
Now, I think I know how he must have felt. I feel the same way about Pasadena (California). At different points in my life I’ve lived in that city and worked in that city and nothing good has ever come of it. (Just recently, I had a job there and breathed an actual sigh of relief when I walked out on it.) If you have never visited Pasadena, let me give you a glimpse beyond the pomp and circumstance of the Rose Parade. As you drive in you’ll notice the sky becoming gun-metal gray due to the place it occupies in the San Gabriel Valley, much like a sewage drain. In other words, it does a good job of collecting the region’s smog and keeping it trapped for most of the year. Although there is a backdrop of looming mountains, mostly they appear as a strangely spectral border threatening to seal you in (think of the TV show The Dome). As you drive through, you’ll note a general grayness to the city itself, despite the admittedly pretty Craftsman-style houses. But it’s this very quaint and old-fashioned ambiance that I find oppressive. (And, yes, I realize there are shiny new districts with top-rated restaurants and the like but these appear to me like so much finery on a decaying corpse.) And then there is the glut of century-old high-spired churches – churches competing in grayness with the sky – churches on every corner. Yes, Pasadena is an old-fashioned and downright God-fearing city. Of course, if you like this sort of thing, stop reading here. But for me, I’m already feeling panicky just giving you a glimpse. I’m thinking of the experiences now, my personal experiences that, rightly or not, are forever embedded in the landscape. The people I’ve met, the people I’ve worked for (of course, I’ve met some great people, too), these people have mainly caused grief.
In short, there just seems to be something about the city and its people that are not conducive to my good health, mental or otherwise. Though the place may be God-fearing, it does damage to whatever I take to be my soul. So, I do understand perfectly now what that Londoner was feeling in regard to Los Angeles. Some places you’re simply better off just passing through.
I did nothing and it was
everything I’d hoped it would be.
I didn’t go to work.
I didn’t read or exercise.
I didn’t watch TV either
or go see the latest blockbuster
(and though the movie would signify
nothing, it would still count as something).
I didn’t go on facebook—well,
I never go on facebook—but
I didn’t go on wordpress either.
No, I just looked out the window
and let my thoughts gather
and disperse with the light.
I watched it slide across
rooftops, sift through trees, and
turn the leaves into a shade
I have no name for.
I watched it fall brightly on
wet sidewalks and watered lawns.
I even watched it darken and fade
with the dying day.
And though in the end I can’t say
I ever saw the light, I sure
did watch the hell out of it!
I’ve a fixed idea about you.
I know I shouldn’t but I do.
Despite all the warnings
(the facts, they’re so boring),
I see whatever I want to.
My friends say you’re not what you seem:
your fangs, they come out with moonbeams—
and though I should I know it
(you even have shown it)—
you’re still exactly what I dream.
If you know Excel well,
you’ve never been to Excel hell.
Alas, I know it not.
It only makes me overwrought.
How I wish I could torch
this application and watch with
joy the conflagration:
Files smoldering hot,
the data hopelessly lost.