Tom Clark Photography

meditation on a brazil nut

The starkness of a chestnut glazed table
willing to stare back at me with a dare.
It challenges with a static potential,
that which only a table can muster.
I cannot be envious of that.
But I do envy that on it sits a brazil nut
contoured by shadow.
A brazil nut that
too may desire purpose.
If it could,
if it were not
just a legume.
Though it too has grown out of itself.

I being more than a nut,
or at the very least
greater than or equal to,
do percolate with such desire.
But lying here, wrapped in chenille and scarves
find the realization of my purpose
much further off than the arm’s length
fulfillment of our artless brazil nut’s fate.
If I do extend my non-hungry palm
I will eat the nut, for the sake of Brazil.
I might.
But instead, as accustomed to,
I will not force purpose into my palm.

Thus, I continue to sit.
Encloaked less by blanket
than by denial.

scintillating drunkards, a poem

scintillating drunkards

My New Year’s Eve said to me: “You are a stoic woman.”

attended the opera alone at carnegie hall. die fledermaus, concert version. had two tickets, but never found the gorgeous stranger i fantasized i’d run into in the preceding days. it was fine. i cried. not because it was touching- no, this opera is fanciful, silly, a farce. i cried because the applause filled me up. because the stage looked so inviting. these sorts of tears are commonplace to me though.

after the opera, i imagined i would find a bar. walked down the west side about thirty blocks, never did. They either cost fifty bucks plus just to enter or looked like a college dorm. one lounge looked just right. simply called “the door,” velvet rope, attractive muscled doormen, discreet enough.

until the kid in front of me said “why are you alone?”

i looked at him. i just looked at him. you can imagine. “oh i guess that was a dumb thing to say…”

i shook my head. i was not really in a just-let-the-idiots-simmer-in-their-idiocracy mood. so i of course found myself grilling him about whether or not he is capable of going anywhere without his supportive cohorts who will stop him before he ever has the chance to experience anything or anyone new, or god forbid, think new, expansive thoughts. the poor boy was so clueless and apparently friends with so many of the people inside- that after one peek inside, i tossed my imaginary cape around my shoulders and flew off.

as the midnight tide struck, i do believe i was on the subway, being spoken to by a mentally disabled man who wanted to give me his phone number so i could call him and check up on him at his new job in a month. he said his daughter was gonna be on Jeopardy some day! in this moment, i feel guilty for not taking it. imagine how good he might have felt, had i called him in a month. so good, that it may have knocked some IQ points up and into him. oh well. next time. retrospection, once again, teaches lessons.

upon emerging from underground at 72nd street, the fireworks over central park had just started. and although i don’t particularly like fireworks, it’s all i had to work with. i really prefer the ocean or the moon, shooting stars, a waterfall, nuclear revolution… i decided to grapple onto any last shred of dignity and meditate on these god-forsaken rainbow preservatives. my primary resolution fell under the category of doing more of what i love, and the list was long, but tight: love, act, write, make love, meditate, write, dance, act, sing, make love, play the piano, meditate, be free, travel, make love…. and on through the rotations.

and i realized, so pristinely accurate, that i was alone. nothing i ever really cared about much before. alone? of course. it could not have been any clearer. i am entirely alone, as we all are. i was somber, but grounded and feeling myself. there, planted on 72nd street and so intensely focused on the night sky colorfully lit over the park.

and lo and behold, i was hit. not by a brilliant taxi nor a life-changing revelation. no, hit by the careening body of a sturdy, past the the point of alcohol poisoning english bloke. he twirled around himself, like a bulbous top without a proper point to spin upon. he smiled and chortled, not a wee bit humiliated. steadying himself on a fat woody lightpost, he observes “You are a very stihistioriric woman.”

“i’m an historic woman??” i admit, i was flattered by dragon mouth. i thought of grecian statues, joan of arc, egyptian queens… i could do that…

“A stoic woman. I said. You are a very stoic woman.”

“oh.” great. just what i need. “oh, really?” are you sure??

“yyyyisss.”

“not always.” i’m a fucking actress! was the only defense that lept to mind. and truth. Struck me as an inappropriate and showy remark, so I stuck with the mundane, and kept my own imagination, of the plethora of colors I keep in my wings, to myself.

turned out to be quite a funny fellow. intelligent, probably rich. make the best, or at least most successful, drunkards. i refused his card. i will not ring him when i’m in london, for “i’m never there. eat something.”

of course it was not the night personified that spoke to me, but perhaps the drunkest man I have ever seen, barreling unsuccessfully around his nonexistent equilibrium point. he thought he was fine, smashing into walls and poles and stoic women. he had another engagement yet to attend.

back to my meditation sequence, i ended before the fireworks. they overdid it as usual. the more fries the better, folks! this is america. supersize my resolution, my hips will thank you!

then back home, essentially doing nothing. minus the champagne. too leaden and depressed to pick up the phone. and finally slept.

New Year’s Eve, 2004

Photograph by Mike Gutkin

the arbor hollows

So what, leaves scurry across Madison Square Park’s stoned paths.
Unbending characters as they fall through the air.
Too dead already to leave a cicatrice upon their wombs,
They find themselves again alive in the afterlife
Giving voice to loneliness.

And the wind itself, which kindly aborts leaves
Before their deciduous infects the trees,
Maintaining its cyclic taunting,
As does the external world of interaction-mingling.

In its silence, we’re left to ourselves, to ignore the social.
We do not see nor hear, nor need.
But there, again. It submits to busyness.
With audible leaves who know quite obviously how to behave together.
No time for contemplation where the wind is concerned.

Leaves don’t chatter among themselves about social norms or seasonal etiquette.
And until one becomes its branch’s sole survivor,
not even self-awareness will it have.
No sense of being a leaf, a free mind to enjoy the journey it’s on.

Have you heard a leaf run across the pavement?
An unmistakably desperate scurry toward nothing
Because choice never existed in a life fated for death.

How could it have been sprouted with any greater purpose,
Than to die?
It could never truly be, with any being outside itself,
But only coexist with other pawns for the duration of life before death.

Why is the leaf said to be more alive, or alive at all while on its branch?
Only because it grows, until it doesn’t.
And so death sets in.
Are we as alive as the leaf?
Do you remember when you stopped growing?

Photograph by Mike Gutkin

Painting by Randall Paul O'Rourke

mutual muses

 

Wrapped in outdated expectations.
The aftershock of having let someone crawl up
Inside your brain to nest with charm.
And in there, suckle at your ravishing blackness.

In the scheme of bygones,
We’ve let charity equal sacrifice
And become the changeling children of the asexual.

The deadlines for forgetting
continually pave our paths with ruthlessness.
For those loves still unforgotten
threaten, as if from a flaming star too close.
Even when sitting quietly, the naughty midgets speak through our minds.
Plebian thoughts plague our not so plebian aspirations.

A poor man’s thrombosis
will infect
your unscheduled passions, if not careful.
And you’ll become another fragment of your imagination.
If careful, you can eat your fantasies, bless your own God, and
neuter
judgment flat.

 

December 2004

Painting by Randall Paul O’Rourke

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