I like to own books. I want to slowly
accumulate a well-sized personal
library. I go to stores, I go to
sales, and I borrow indefinitely;
it doesn’t matter one bit to me where
a book comes from, so long as I can add
it to my ever-growing collection.
However, there is always something in
having a library card, in being
able to browse a taste and tempt my shelf.
I get no better recommendation
than from myself. How else can I learn who
to turn to when I am desperately
in literary need? Plus, it’s so cheap.
White plastic life giver, wall pluggable,
for everyday living. I suppose
this is where I’m meant to make some perfect
thoughtful analogy to my body’s
depleted battery, little lightning
bolt never to reappear at the top
of my screen, always running out my charge,
never knowing what percentage I have
left until it all goes dark, I turn off,
and excepting possibly through a well-
timed electrical jumpstart, forever
dead, absent of communication skills,
but still in my fancy protective case.
It’s all noise. Put me to sleep in a too
quiet room and I’ll find more than a few
voices to make up for the lack of tune.
There’s nothing so meaningful as the lone
convincings of the slightly insane,
and silence itself is usually
to blame. Give me a fan to blow away
the nonsense that nobody hears but me.
Keep me cool and quilt covered, and mostly
undiscovered, and unmolested, and
primarily at my best, ignoring
the restless rest of myself that no one
else has to listen to except in my
sleep, online, and at poetry readings.
Nice black shoes, I’m sorry I’ve abused you,
wearing down your soles and your soul like I’ve
had to. You were comfortable for a
while, but lately I feel like you hate me,
make me regret not getting something more
sensible. You’re well broken in (and down),
but that’s the problem: after all my years
of loyalty, I’d expect you to still
be supporting me, not tearing at my
heels and ignoring me when I beg you
to comfort more of me. Pretty soon I’ll have
to move on, or give you away, and then you’ll
miss me, my clean feet, the safety of a
closet, when you’re on the streets, homeless, gone.
You get to the point where living is a
pain in the ass, something that you’re doing
because you’re doing it, and each day you
wonder, “What’s it all for? What exactly
are we doing here? What’s the point?” But that’s
it, that’s the point, what. What is the meaning
of life, the search, the question, all questions.
And once you’re there, once you’ve gotten to that,
once you’ve decided that you’re going to
seek out the questions, all of the questions,
the big ones, the small ones, the stupid ones,
every question, and fuck the answers,
once you’ve decided, in short, to live, well,
you’ve got to brush your teeth every day.
I assume that I’ll die right here, mostly
killed slowly from the legs up because I
can’t afford the healthy pleasures of a
treadmill desk. Many days my ass hurts more
than my head, the sharp strain of muscle pain
eclipsing the pounding that creative
force exerts on my brain. Not that I am
complaining, mind. It’s better to spend my
time seated before a blinking cursor than
standing on a factory line making purses,
or even worse, selling them at perverse
prices to women who’ve never heard of
work, cursing under my breath. No, I’d much
rather sit here and write myself to death.
Bedside sentry, guardian of my dreams,
nocturnal furniture, wooden lamp stool,
condom cabinet. I have a habit
of forgetting you exist, which is, I
admit, blasphemous, because you are the
God of Holding Water, Keeper of my
Pre-Sleep Reading, and my life would be bare
without you there beside me (as would that
patch of carpet next to my bed—heaven
forbid we throw the flow of the whole room
off by your absence). You are beautiful,
and brown, and expensive, and essential,
so don’t let the other furniture pieces
put you down ’cause you’re not from Ikea.
Boxes and lines meant to represent time.
Our entire lives fitted onto paper,
written in ink or crossed out when we think
that maybe we’ve made better plans. Oh man,
wouldn’t it be funny if we all found
out it didn’t exist? This was all some
dream or cosmic restlessness? Phantom program
simulating our lives much faster than
real time, or slowing things down so we can
take what our unsimulated selves think
is a much needed break, a temporal
vacation from the real real places we
apparently have the technology
to escape from? Oh calendar, you’re wrong.
Small strip of dead tree wedged between slightly
larger strips of dead tree, ink all around,
corners worn down, nearer to puppy-eared,
souvenir of some long forgotten book
or store, mobile advertisement or, if
gifted, gilded with a saying, Churchill,
Twain, or Hemingway. Either way, keeping
place, marking lines for next time, because I
rarely now have the opportunity
to read a book from cover to cover,
undistractedly, sans interruption,
minus outside thought corruption, and I
need a proxy to stand in line and buy
my tickets to these Theaters of the Mind.
White ceramic with crouched Peter Parker
printed against a red and black background,
microwave and dishwasher safe, maybe
from all that spider bite radiation.
How much worse could it get, right? Quite a bit:
Aunt May mortified by the sight of him,
Captain and Gwen Stacy racing through his
conscious and consciousness, and Mary Jane
complaining about missed dates and staying
out late with some other girl, Black Cat or
an underworld princess, like there isn’t
enough on his super plate already,
but hold steady, don’t fork over the suit
and say you’ve had too much. It’s just a mug.