Saturday, July 23, 2005

Things As They Are

Coffee’s tepid. I put in too much milk.

A dead fly
on the window sill, another
on the table.

What Charles Olsen said was right.

The light advances.


I listen to the sound of water moving in the aquarium behind me.
You shake your spoon over your bowl like you’re holding a fish
by the tail. Dog fur clings to the sleeve of your black sweater. We
are not speaking. You clear your throat, one hand
holding open a book, the other dangling that piscine spoon.

Nothing jumps up from the bowl to claim it.


You say you dreamed that you were kidnapped by a mob boss.
You started to like him. The two of you tried to make love, but
something kept happening.

That’s how it is in dreams.


Soon our daughter goes off to boarding school.
A few weeks left of the phone ringing every five minutes,
a few weeks of exasperated disdain for our parental
excesses, a handful of mornings to catch her
asleep in the bed of her childhood, her arm cast over the belly
of a soft, white bear.

Still the light advances.


Yesterday my mother called, distraught. She thought her neighbor
had been killed in an accident and she asked me to find out
if it was true. I called in and confirmed it: a vehicle vs. bicyclist
fatality on Highway One, between the Castle and San Simeon,
a guy coming home from work, her neighbor.

I called Mom back and told her. She got so sad. She takes misfortune
as a personal affront. It knocks her socks off. She said “Oh,
I feel so bad.”

I agreed it’s always sad.

She said, “I don’t know how you do it, every day. Stuff like this.”

Her voice sounded so far off. I knew there was something to say,
something that would connect her pain to what makes sense.
Some way to connect her heart to mine.

I didn’t have the words. When she hung up I wanted
to reach out again, but did not.

The danger’s everywhere, is what I should have said.


Your blue breakfast bowl is in the sink now. I type away
and you have just closed the door behind you as you step
out into the back yard. You are going to work in the studio
with scissors and a needle. Something wants cutting,
some other thing stitches.

You’ll bite the edge of a sheet in your teeth and tear,
rending it in two for your art.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

scott, scott, this one is so special. i love its every image, every color and gesture. it's so alive, and so distraught. i think you could maybe do away with the one sentence about saying something stupid. just cut it. you captured each of the characters so well, and rendered them with such grace. i think the collages have spilled over into your poetry, adding to its humanity in some indefineable way. perhaps it has to do with not feeling you have to spell things out so carefully, that they will find a way to speak without you. and here they have. a fine, fine work.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Radish King said...

To rend, to wrest, to tear it seems it always must be so to create art. I get sad inside of it, too, distraught. It makes me want to fly away, fly away on my bicycle, along the curve, past the marina and into the mountains.

10:35 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Well. Thanks. And yr spot on with the dead line, its gone and good riddance. Thanks for the keen eye.

Sometimes things work out right, and I do think there is some give and take between the collage and the poetry,
at least some all comes from the same place I guess...

Anyway, thanks a ton.


Ah,, too.

thanks for stopping by.



11:59 AM  
Blogger OrphanedPoet said...

makes me think of how every one of our lives are drops of nitroglycerin.

beautiful- so beautiful it makes us cry and tiptoe around- our mouths open in wonder, hearts full of the dread of destruction.

how every day, we are poised on the lip of extinction, and the moments explode between the really big explosions that sway us into each other's arms- or god's- or into despair. this is a wonderful poem, scott.-

2:04 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Poised on the lip of extinction. I don't know why or how we don't all see this as the primary fact of our tentative existence here and act accordingly. I guess our blindness and inattention acts as a palliative.

Better to be stark raving alive.

All best to you.


2:49 PM  
Blogger didi said...

I never read you before.


5:02 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

I guess you caint say that no more.


5:50 PM  
Blogger early hours of sky said...

Scott, this is beautiful. A prose poem mix. I like it a great deal.

6:56 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Hey, Ms. Ballard!

Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed this.



8:25 AM  
Blogger jenni said...

wonderful work, scott. enjoyed.

9:16 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Thanks, Jenni.

Hope all is well with you two.



3:14 PM  
Blogger 666poetry-finchnot said...

beautiful work

thanx scott

such a pleasure to know you


8:08 PM  

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