When I realized
When I realized I could no longer find the words
I needed, I was flying out of myself with the regularity of breathing.
There was music on the stereo and I rose thinking I might dance,
and it was ink on tracing paper, it was hypertext clicked and swallowed,
it was the chill and moving letters of the signs in Times Square
on a tiny screen. My ideas fled and separated, groups of bright
sophisticated girls smoking and half-smiling in the after midnight
streets of the college town where I lived, who suddenly were half
my age, wearing absurd costumes and then spookily wearing just exactly
what I wore when I was 14, 15, 16.
Poetry flying out of my head like the rhythm
of water in the shower, the calm desert sun of California and the
uncanny farcical figure of St Francis rendered at the Serra retreat
out of something halfway between plaster and Holiday Inn plastic.
When I was a kid the mall in Kokomo, Indiana had the largest
cow in the world, made of a similar substance, ironically exactly
the opposite of what was happening to me as I became less and less
solid, thoughts blending dissolving as if stunned by hot dry air.
The chemicals of my mind my body the dynamic
pattern itself surely evanescent, clear like liqueur, like the Chambord
in a twisted James Bond glass, drunk at one of those bars that is
like someones cool basement party, and can you believe I thought
I was pregnant? It is too small and pitiful, the shape of my personal
and sentimental tragedy, the way the hurts and losses are buried
inside like the treasures we had in metal boxes when we were six,
imagine looking in one of those now! Dirty toy figures smelling
Cling to them, theres nothing to do but
cling, under knotted sentences, cellophane, unsatisfying, let what
I mean to say come right to you, I think that all this grasping
after material things is just fear of change and what is honesty
except for the biggest change of all? After all like Plato said
our carpets hallways hairbrushes signs and trunk lights that flicker
as the headlights go on, you have to slam it to make sure it will
stay closed, bring me the cigarettes before you get back in, illicit
borrowed keys, booty of my youth, all this is elusive, shadow, reality
standing behind it like the parent or therapist who we always, but
always damn it, find out is right after all. I am afraid of this
change, this process toward honesty, I want to hold onto the poems
I wrote when I thought about intrigue, flirtation, danger, thought
it was the center of me, when I still thought I was hard sufficient
and capable, capable of anything.
Thin like tracing paper, words that turn and
dissolve, animation that cant be kept in the face of the advancing
years, that fades till they are indistinguishable from the light
that faded them, that comes from within, light we cant escape,
light that comes from everywhere.