Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Look at Us Now

I smile at the room, watching everyone clashing.
Reunions are my favorite.

The artist's in the corner, forgetting she never
Knew how to paint. Or draw. Or create with lines.
Her frustration is evident, but still she tries,
Wondering why everyone has to ignore the norm
And create something that looks like art.
The creep's standing still with her back against
The wall, appearing to enjoy the crowds,
But wary that any may turn apocalyptic cannibal
At a moment's notice. She tries not to think of
Pet Cemetery or axe murder.
The comedian stands on an imaginary stage,
Spewing jokes like a well-humored spit-take.
Her smile shows she knows her affect, but all
The same, their reactions of pleasure come as a
Surprise. She continues to speak, somehow keeping
From killing the joke and shooting it thrice more.
Just in case.
The romantic grips her arms, soothing her heart
So rough and tender from being so long on her sleeves.
She thinks about the time that boy walked away from
Her, or the time she accidentally terminated all
Chances with another. Or the man in the deli
And the way he smiles. If her mascara wasn't
Waterproof it'd run.
And the girl in the chair is sitting because
One mentioned the time they skid their knees on
The pavement. She strokes her left collarbone
With her right hand, thinking of trees and God
And anything besides the faculty of blood.
The actress finds the comedian, talking
Boisterously about her traits on stage,
And how the black of the house floors her.
There was one admiring the artist's failures
A moment ago. She's in the other room with herself.
The cake decorator can't stop talking about
The day she learned to make roses,
And that if she could just bake she'd have quite
A sure business on her hands.
The believer keeps her life on the Lord, enjoying
Her company and conversations, but knowing there's
Somewhere higher to get to.
A girl leans her head on the piano, knowing
She knew how to play once, regretting yet again
That the sounds in her head don't transfer to
The keys; that her songs are left to be sung in
Showers and cars and the back of her mind.
The photographer's taking pictures, going on
Memory card nine, and beneath the window pens
The author, the rush of inspiration wafting
Her in an out-of-body experience, fueling her
Word use and imagery. And outside someone's
Hugging a tree.

I smile and lean back in the couch.
They don't bother talking to me. All
Save the performers are caught in themselves,
And here I sit observing them, observing me,
And wondering why we behave like we do.
I'd analyze all their reasons, if their reasons
Weren't the same, and if the act of sharing a
Physical cavity hadn't given me clue enough.

The Quilt

I imagine life as a patchwork quilt.
The stitches aren't very meticulous,
I'm not that good of a seamstress.
I imagine each patch is a different
Color per year.
This year's patch: teal and pink plaid;
Last year's green, the year before ivory,
And so on and so on until my quilt is big enough
To cover all my instances and experiences,
Until my quilt covers me.

I imagined prayer as a letter sent on
Plastic seagulls from the Lion House.
I imagined angels ripping envelopes
And telling God here's another. For you.
What if he kept my letters? Saved them in a box,
Maybe slipping them straightly into
Plastic safe-guard sheets.
I imagine each letter a patch,
A quilt of prayers,
And that when I stand before Him
He'll hand it down with heavenly hands
And let me hold all I ever told Him.
God's a perfect seamster: His stitches
Sweet and minuscule.

I imagine I'll hold both quilts
As I leave judgement seat,
My life a wheelbarrow of patchwork,
My prayers a continent.
I'll take both to my heavenly mansion,
And use my life to snuggle through the nights.
My prayers will hang pinned from the walls,
Too long and sentimental to risk drooling on.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

These Things Will Change

(here's another ditty I've been altering)

No one uses telephone booths these days. Every man and his dog has blue tooth in his ear and cyber-space in his pocket. I walk the streets, airing out my summer shorts from their winter-closet mothball encasement, and watch the telephone booths forget communication; but they remember something else.

I'm not schooled in superheroes and comic books, but if memory serves I believe it was one such as Superman who used a phone booth for a rushed changing station, entering as Clark Kent, emerging as a flying mascot for whom America is now too small.

In spite of the phone booths' lack of placed calls, it seems to me they're still quite popular. The accountant enters, successful in his business, surfacing as a tattered, shadowed drunk. A young woman walks in, her smile and eyes bright, returning with scabbed wrists and tear-stains.

I've stopped on the bench across the street from a phone booth, watching the costumes change. Clark Kent, I believe, was an honest, just man, but was only unrelentlessly so in a spandex suit. The phone booths around town allow people who choose to strip off the facades of their lives and take their true, raw form.

Imperfection, unfortunately. That's what the booths reveal; as if all with facades have weighty faults. They know it; they hide it. Adults emerge as children with lollipops and propeller hats, or bruised knuckles and stiff jaws. Young doll-faced angels reappear with tense, sunken eyes. Good becomes bad. Bad becomes worse.

Was Clark Kent perfect? I wonder, crossing my legs. He left the booth a fearless man. He left the booth with victory.

All I see leaving are mistakes.