Bad poetry, Vol. I
I. Tea on Thursday
Paint a scene
A market, almost open air,
Down by the harbor on a not-quite-rainy day
Tea with a nice Chinese lady
Patter-pattering around the room
And chatter-chattering on the phone
Jade statues and hard-pressed tea bricks strewn about
One sip: earth, gunpowder, fire. Another.
If I shouted your name louder
than anything else in the world
it would take you ten hours
to hear me.
If I sped to you at the speed of light,
and returned here immediately,
my absence would be noticed, briefly.
You are far enough away
that now here
is tomorrow there.
Before the art of writing,
there was the art of listening;
aural memory was far beyond
what you’d ever believe.
Humans with minds like ours
could quote speeches at length,
twenty minutes of what Demosthenes said
this morning at the agora.
Is this what kept memories intertwined,
before I could see you
and you could see me
faster than sound?
I suppose there was always
the things that don’t leave with you
that song, that picture, that smile
Or the things that come back
before you do
that letter, that picture, that flower.
Eight thousand miles is
a very long ways to go
whether you are a lightbeam,
a sound wave, an email,
or a person.
And it takes just as long
to come back.
I would cut my hair every day if I could
I love the thick shorning sound as the clippers
Slice off a week or two’s production
Last Thursday’s bread and cheese,
Transmuted into four millimeters of keratin
I always emerge cleaner, sharper,
And not only on account of the mandatory shower
The prickly, stiff hairs at attention atop my head,
Their angled edges reflecting the bright mirror lighting
It’s as close as I’ll ever come to a halo
But I like the dull glow, the illuminated hemisphere
Tethered by each glittering earring
It’s a ritual of sorts; I am like the spider
That sloughs off its shell every few weeks
Emerging bigger, brighter, more virile, virulent.
The less I have, the more I find satisfaction in cutting it
IV. Walking, or, a slight correction to Mr. Byron
In beauty she walked
And talked and sang in silence
Spirit carried high among
Fine houses of questionable provenance
Not in darkness, but in light
And with it and in it and of it
absentminded intentional hand
in your hair
you like it, I like this
I am not