Sunday, March 14, 2010


Another cramped summer on the Left Bank,
though I guess the problem's in every arrondissement:
buskers clogging Châtelet and Les Halles
and pesky men at the gelato shop
polishing their disdain for your accent.
We all know God hates the fucking tourists but
sometimes it takes a squall of fanny packs to remind us
something is always beautiful
and not just there on the days
we choose to see it,
because even in Paris
the soul stays mostly at rest,
unprovoked by music
or poetry
or combustible love
or maybe some implacable, dapper-looking fellow
who seems mostly right when he says
we have the right to beauty
but no right to comprehend it.
Je cherche la région cruciale de l'âme
well, what do you dream about?
I'd always imagined falling in love
to classical music, the better Debussy,
though I guess if I were a different person
it could have been anything:
old movies, gardens, cars.
In our dream lives we
are always dallying about
with certain set pieces
plus the leading lady, and
in mine there was always
a grand piano casually left about,
plus maybe some snow.
When I was a musician
they taught us to bound the world
in elegant leaps,
but those were big words for such crippled lives
spent lurching to practice rooms
in tiny, exhausted steps.
It's there I learned how much practiced dreams
are good for practical lives,
and affection's as real as a dream, anyway,
because dreams are real,
they're just our rented selves.
So when wandering the Rue Mouffetard
with a lover
and barely a care,
except for maybe later
when I go to lay another rose
on Debussy's grave,
how much should we ask what it all means?
In the worst scenario
I find out that mine's a rented life,
where I need nothing,
own nothing,
and can only be turned out.


teased by the onset of depression
always needing to be at home
with a crossword puzzle
and a bottle of rye
protected from angels
by the ceiling fan
and rye
and decent television
sending one's self dangerously close
to a laugh
a sordid latitude
a quiet sight

to never be alone
o, never to be with my sweet thoughts
at home sharing dishes with madness
watching game shows and the weather channel with suspicion
o, to have people! what do they think
when I stare off into soup
in public
and murmur
these lines
what a world
when all is wicker-backed chairs
and TV movies
maybe I needed this
maybe I needed
to grip
terrible beauty
body radiant

crime life

In the spring there is hardly time
for our double lives, which can
comfortably take up the winter.
Now, there is too much ice cream
and too many easygoing girls in dresses
to leave room for death in my day,
which statistics say will happen
more frequently now anyway.
Maybe I'll go outside and buy a Coke
but just in case
I'll still have my guns and grieving mothers.
If I drink beer on a patio at twilight
I know there is a man somewhere who has
a bullet for every line in this poem.
No? The sunlight just seems brittle
to those of us with fantasies of disaster,
and even on rainy days
I am always dwelling over some
lost life or another, names swallowed
by drugs or love or government service.
Everything is tolerable but silence, because
those of us chasing lives of self-destruction
are appetized by madness, I guess because it
makes us still inside. And it's so quiet now.
Let's grab a Coke and talk about it.