Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Catching up: Poems 8-10/30

These are all so rough... they're the interpretations of sketches of ideas I jotted down in my tiny notebook while wandering the streets of Barcelona. Maybe at the end of the month they'll tighten up, maybe before then, maybe much later. In the meantime, here they are as they are now.

I didn't think anything when the books began shifting.
Hardly blinked when the shelves
started to sag. When I felt eyes burning
into my back I started to wonder.
When I heard her cough I knew.

The bookshelves that had stood, stoic,
so long in the back room without saying a word
began to follow me around the house.
"Pick that up," scolded the mass in a voice
I couldn't place at first. "Your house is a mess."
My life is a mess, I thought, as she stalked me,
like some memory's shadow, breathing
down the back of my neck. Her steps
at first were sluggish but before long
she walked with determination, as if she owned
the rooms, the house, my life, myself.
The more she reminded me of my mother, the more
I wanted her to leave. I never asked
if it was really her. I didn't want to hear
how she'd answer.

I couldn't sleep. She'd rattle off lists
of things I hadn't done, things I'd done wrong,
things I lacked. When I found myself
doubting myself I got out the matches. Lit the house
on fire, locked the doors, walked away
sobbing in tune with the sirens.

9/30 (GMB series #1)
We walked into the wine shop and asked, off-hand:
"Is there anything in these casks?"
I'm just saying there are some things you don't know
unless you ask.

Yes, she said, local wine, what the locals drink
for dinner every night, on the way home they stop in.
She fills a 1.5 liter second-hand water bottle
with their flavor of choice. We asked her to pick one.
She charged two sixty-five. I'm just saying
some of the best things in life are cheap as hell.

The tremors started in the morning
as I was brushing my teeth watching
my reflection in the mirror trying
to convince me I was dancing.
I didn't believe it. Set down the brush
and walked outside to watch
the town's undoing. Cracks in the streets
became crevices, caverns, doorways crumbled,
windows opened, then frowned. Flames licked
up the sides of buildings while mothers,
crying, leaned out of gaps in the walls,
looking for someone to catch their babies.
I kept walking. Walked right into the heart
of the city, right up to the steps
of the cathedral where you and I never kissed,
never traded empty vows, never ran through
those arches while people threw rice,
birdseed, or glitter. I sat on the steps,
just as calm as you please, knowing
I wouldn't be touched.

No comments: