Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Esteemed Visitor

We walked onto the stage
giving lines, taking notes
from the director, had her
in a class last fall,
my first semester,
director Heather,

now we're simply students
doing theater, a small
production based on
a draft by just another
student, from a class
on writing plays

today's rehearsal,
rehearse the scene,
where Superman
gets the key to the city

from a mayor, our very
mayor, with her fake
blonde hair, it looks
laughingly pretty and
I could really care
about her, hair

I ride in on a pantomime horse
with a fake mustache, to give
my opening lines, something of
a soliloquy, I look up and say,

what about the man from the sea?
they call him Aquaman, I think
he saved the fishes, and lived his
life in a shell, sure he might
not deserve a key, but maybe
he would like one

he could be a hero for a day
with his water wrinkled face
on the front page of every
single paper that cares

about people who get keys
to the city, whatever city
is giving keys to these people

there's a light from the
side, maybe from those
windows, it hits my eyes
so I look down and see
it's also on the floor,

it seems to mock us,
and the mayor begins to
laugh out of character
as the director, newly
careful Heather, holds back
on her inclination to be,
herself, which is to say,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Classical Conditioner Operantee

Simin was in an emotionally problematic relationship. Everyday when her boyfriend got off work they'd go to her apartment and end up fighting. Their fights always ended just before Simin's roommate Tomoko got home from classes, around seven. When Tomoko gets home she always turns on Jeopardy!, sort of loud. Each night as Simin locks herself in the bathroom she hears the Jeopardy! theme just as she starts to breakdown and cry. Recently, Simin broke up with her boyfriend. But now, every time she hears the Jeopardy! music she breaks down and starts to cry.

Whenever she cries she eats her favorite food, and now she's starting to cry more. When she stops crying she says she'll be good and puts away her favorite food too. I heard a joke about a guy abusing his wife, saying you stupid bitch and just beating the shit out of her. The onlooker says, if she's so stupid, why did you marry her? Fucking moron! Simin thinks it's funny. Then she says she recognizes some guy, but can't remember from where. Maybe he broke into your room. Aha! she says. That must be it!


Tomoko always tries to get home just in time for her favorite show. It's this long-running quiz thing and she plays along. She worries about her roommate though. Tonight she's up in the bathroom again. What is she doing in there? Tomoko wonders, hey wasn't she in there Tuesday too? She does that a lot. Final Jeopardy category, government. Afterwards, washes her hair.

An Absence Of Meaning To The Light

At five I saw my sister doing something special,
I think she was dancing, I don't know where
she had learned to do it like that, but she was in
this white summer dress with little red flowers
on it, her golden curls shining in the afternoon
light, and her face, I remember, was so happy.

At seven I saw my sister kidnapped,
this big guy, he took her in a white truck.
We had been out chasing frogs by our stream.
I remember it was kind of cold, and we were
laughing. Then the guy came up to her
and she stopped, when he grabbed her,
I lost it, just went blank. I stood there by
this tree and I watched them go towards the
truck. I followed slowly, he just held her like
she was some sort of doll, but she was screaming
he just got in the truck with her and drove away.

I remember the red lights of the back of the truck
just watching them pull off into the distance
and it just became this little white truck
and then there was this strange flash
in the sky, but I just looked up for a second,
and then the truck was gone.

I said she'd run away, I told everyone that.

I was walking home from school when
I found her body on the road. She was
wrapped in a blanked that used to be light
blue, but well, I think it was her blood.
She seemed so small, and her eyes
were closed.

I didn't do anything for a while. I just stood there
and then I remember moving, and I was going
to a different school, and it hurt, this thing hurt
inside, but I don't really remember much for
a while.

At twelve, I broke my forefinger trying to close
a window. This is awful, but for the next two weeks
I would stick my splint bound finger down my turtle's
throat before going to bed.

Each night I'd go a little bit further, a little bit
more. Sometimes I think it would try to throw up.
It couldn't bite because of the splint,
then one morning mom took that off,
and you wouldn't believe it,
but that same day
my turtle died.

I guess I've always done weird things, I don't
know why. And I don't mean to. Sometimes
I think back to my sister, her smile
and that glow in her eyes, but then she
goes away,

then I see her on the road, in the sun,
that dead face, and I always think
her eyes are going to open.

I just have to slow down for a moment,
it's there inside, that night goes around
like it's the only one, that little place
we'd go to and chase frogs, it's like
that place exists inside me now
the cold air, the little stream,
the trees, the grass, the
leaves and shit. I'm
shaking. I have
to think about

I know, you see, I know
a lot of weird facts,
just random things, like,

did you know Thomas Edison electrocuted
an elephant? Her name was Topsy. She had
been abused and was killing people. Edison
made a film of it, it's all green. Topsy just
stands there, like a regular elephant. Then
this smoke starts to rise, and she falls over.

I just don't want to talk about back then
anymore, I need to just take a little break.
I'm doing okay though, otherwise.

Oh I wrote this thing, I want to read
to you, it's about this guy who's just
moved out, he like nineteen or

“I have my own place now, but it's pretty empty.
My big news is last month I bought a used Honda
Civic. It's supposed to be a really good car. But,
now I've got this loan thing barreling down my
throat. So, I'm getting this second job at, if you
can believe it, a circus. I get to clean all the shit
up. I can do it, I mean, I just have to remember
I'll have that loan paid off in no time. And, that'll
feel good.”