the eternal conversation, a poem

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The Eternal Conversation

Hard wood portends on my truth, I long to burn every tree,

I long to sift the gray ash of discontent

for the few teeth and bits that remain.

My body is full of small holes,

the better to let you pass through me.

You old vagabond, the sun is you,

the sun is your heart, the sun is your eyes.

Look at me, I will blind you, you will remember nothing.

You will remember only how it felt to come inside me.

I melt men like sugar cubes.

Give me fountains of blue wine to drown myself in.

Let me swill from your fountains.

Let me piss in your bed and make you love it.

Only give me glory and work,

and I will tell you all I know, gladly.

This is what I know.

This.

Pretend you’re my father:  your one spurt of joy

caused me to begin ticking in your pocket.

Pretend you know my name.

Pretend you have always been with me.

Don’t forget me, don’t forget to wind me up,

don’t break the thin gold chain attaching me to your heart.

I am not a cat, I don’t have a plaintive past,

I can’t meow for attention.  I could try to scratch you,

but you would only fling me away in hatred, off to the floor.

Yet away you go, with soap to pass your outrage,

cleansing your sins like so much dry grit.

You boil your soup of amnesia,

burn your tongue with it,

lose the ability to taste anything, ever.

You are like a tourniquet of the breast,

keeping me tied to the earth.  I never let myself float,

I was always afraid I would never return to sanity.

I am an old vagabond, I will die without you.

But that is nothing new.  You abandoned me

on my first day.  You didn’t care what time it was then.

All you cared about was yourself.  You couldn’t live

your promises.  You are nothing.

You have no heart, you have only your tired words.

Taunt the people who are less fortunate than you.

Make them suffer even more, that is your duty and function.

Speak nothing without hunger and death

being always in your mind — these are

the only real problems.  This love, this is an illusion.

There is no love.  There has never been love.

There is only madness, heat and passion.

The game is to force myself out of myself,

into the bigger picture.  I want to be everyone,

all at once.  To rid myself of these cramps.

To stretch the labored muscles, to tear them,

to rend them from the bone, to flay the entire beast

and let it dry in the sun until it is harmless meat.

Dance with fossils without ceasing life.  The past haunts

but it does not weigh down our joy.  We can weep

and laugh simultaneously.  We do not need drugs for this.

I am finished viewing sickness at last.

I have no more patience for dying.  I will bury the dead,

but I will not visit their graves.  I will plant flowers

to bloom in perpetuity, then I will take my filmy scarves

and fly away toward joy.  I will sprout wings,

they will carry me to my own heart.

Those who have passed under my hand won’t suffer,

I am a slim ivory blade, sharper than a razor’s edge.

I am skillful at dispatching those who love me.

I am the merciful murderess, the killer who weeps

as she cuts the veins, sorrow for the blood but joy for the heat.

The others I have jettisoned are always sad,

they think of me with mingled regret and malice,

but they shouldn’t mourn, they’re better off without me,

this I know for I know where I have buried all the dead.

Courage for life, alleys are for the party afterwards,

the wake for the soul.  The body remains upright.

We live without life, we breathe without air.

We fuck without coming.  We give birth

without understanding the process.

The hospital where I will say my last good-byes

to everyone who harmed me, everyone who tried

to caress me.  I built the building, I know its every corridor.

May we all have a plain dance upon dying.

May we go stately to our blessed rot.

May we laugh as the teeth fall from our jaws.

I hope to see my destination, at least from a distance.

Will it be like a train through the mountains?

Will the air rush in to meet me?  Will the air

be like a baby’s kisses?

I see an old vagabond, moronic or just born,

and it is a mirror I stare at.  I have studied all the books,

but can remember only one thing.

Despair is a waste of time.

With artists, we dance my young age and love,

but white hair and rigor mortis are just around the corner.

I can get through anything in one minute segments.

I can breathe the pain through myself,

I can detach it from my body.

I am told when I was sleeping I was at my best.

That is when I hurt no one but myself.

In dreams, I am kind, I am eternal.

Respond to me, you seller of happiness.

Money can buy everything, didn’t you know?

They are only lying to you to keep you down.

The raw chicken sits on the board, weeping juice,

and it is cold under my hands.  To lift the carcass

takes more than I have.  How did my mother,

my grandmother, manage it?

I have been a good feaster of pain —

I have made the banquet from whatever bones were left.

I have seasoned the food until it does not remember

from whence it came.

Riches, I have dispossessed. I work hard

for tomorrow’s bread.  Someone will take care of me.

The poor are patriots, the poor can pass through the gates

into nothing special.  I am nothing special.

I am a very special nothing.

I have been asleep until I heard your voice.

I thought you despised me.  I tried to touch you,

but you were far away, and could not sleep.

You lost the paper with my name on it.

You forgot everything I taught you.

You old vagabond, you are maudlin and past.

I am the future.  I am the young blood,

the hawker, the fresh pain.

I hear what you say, I am only a poor man

but I will live to bury you.  I will live

until my energy is spent.  Then I will

tender my resignation.  Where is my combat pay?

The only true war is the war to be true.

Sharpen your teeth on my bones.

I have undressed the apple that moored me

to the board of my clothing.  There is no nakedness left

beneath this flesh.  I have fucked a thousand like you.

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