Member Rara Avis
This is me talking -- and, later on, yelling; finally, almost whispering -- into my tape recorder. Completely unscripted. The poem comes from reading a poetry book that I realized was missing about 10 pages near the beginning. Somehow, it inspired me to this feat of ... ordered insanity.
-a book missing pages-
The microwave clock watches me with its green eye.
Closer to the floor,
the red mouth of the answering machine is alight.
Lips forming 0.
Against the wall,
a clock two minutes fast, also red.
The vertical blinds hang like frays against the window.
I know just outside is a barred patio
with two pieces of molded plastic.
Across the room, another window
with smaller vertical blinds.
You can see the seams; little lines of light.
Into another room,
Where I can see my dark reflection
as shadow against the mirror;
and very easily,
the red square light of the tape recorder I hold.
Yet another clock,
hidden behind a cup
which glows light red,
blocking the display of the clock.
There seems to be
a little tiny piece of light
floating against the darkness of the door.
But when I get closer and look,
it's actually fogged, scratched, dirty glass
that gives a curved view.
Loping and sick.
And a light that is so bright,
it hurts to look.
As my eyes gradually become adjusted to the darkness,
I can see more details: the green eye of the microwave casting
light green aura against the wall,
giving a shadow to the switch that turns on the garbage disposal.
The table, sitting in the room,
three legs, long base,
up to the flat top.
On it lies a book that I bought recently,
and I notice that it's missing pages.
With the lights out, you can't tell;
the book still seems thick,
and I'm sure it's still full of words of wisdom.
But as soon as the switch is turned on,
the brightness enveloping the room,
making it hard to see
-- more switches; I just ground up a piece of glass in the garbage disposal --
I see imperfections.
Why are there so many newspapers on the floor?
Why are my shoes by the bed,
with crumpled sheets on top,
the mattress askew to the frame?
And where did those seams go? The seams in the blinds?
They're now shadows;
And now this book I bought,
this book I cherish and enjoy,
looks ugly under the wrong light conditions.
I can see my fingerprints on the cover.
I turn the pages. Just as soon as I hit page 24,
it goes to 33.
So it's my job, as a poet,
to fill in what I can.
Because isn't poetry taking the mundane,
the every day,
and showing the imbued spirituality,
the beauty within?
Poetry is not about taking a hook,
putting it in your ear and picking out pieces of brain,
flinging the bloody clops so it smears against the paper as words.
It is not about adopting a voice that is not yours on a microphone
to impress the ladies.
Poetry is not about opening the refrigerator door,
taking out the first can you see, opening it,
drinking it down, doing it again and again
until your mind is fuzzy.
And yet it is all of those things.
Poetry is taking the silence spinning around you
so slowly you don't even notice it.
It's taking that silence and the background noises:
your creaking bones,
the sound your feet make against carpet fibers
withorwithoutsocks withorwithoutshoes withorwithoutpants.
It's taking your hand and running it against the shadows of the blinds,
making them vibrate.
It's about looking at yourself in the mirror with the light fully on,
noticing the perfections the imperfections and everythinginbetweenthatcouldfallintoeithercategorydependingonwhoyouare.
Most of all,
it's taking that book,
that one book you cherish that looks ugly too close;
which you dissect, and therefore reject.
listen to the cool whisper of the pages.
feel them fan air against you.
this book is breathing into your face.
are you going to read the words?
Or are you going to take what was given to you and return it for more of the same.
Take those blank pages and fill them with your own words.
Write in the margins, write on the cover,
rip the book apart and reassemble it.
Take out certain words and phrases with scissors.
Paste them onto the door.
Now you understand.
Now you can cure.