Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Old World

You couldn't have imagined the number of unfinished pieces of fiction and poetry I had sitting around on computers and external drives and parts of my brain I had the sense to let waste away. A complicated ungettishable embedded logictree open-circuit diagram of folders full of folders full of folders called "old" and "unfinished." Well, now there are only a handful: I've deleted everything I now hate. 

You know how once in a while you realize how stupid you used to be? I don't mean when you were a teenager. Everyone was an idiot then. I mean, every year I find something that I made or remember something that I said or (especially) wrote and realize that I was a complete idiot six months before. Why the hell was I ever reading John Ashbery? Did I really think I would be the sixty thousandth idiot to try and find something interesting in the study of a barren cityscape? Was I going to vomit up the Ozymandius of the twentyfirst century? Or what about all that synaesthetic faux-Asian crap I tried to pass off as interesting, much less a sincere effort at any form of expression? Minimalist fiction about drug use? Oh, no, please don't tell me that is a sonnet I just found. Lord Jesus Jefferson, III do I embarrass myself! 

Anyway, I almost never share anything I write, though I would occasionally post something on my old and now very dead blog. However, seeing as how Michela seems to share everything she makes, I figure I ought to contribute at least a little, tiny, almost invisible scrap of my heart to this cyber lovefest. So below is what was two days ago a fragment left over from several years ago. It was one of the very few things I found that didn't draw stomach juice into my throat, so I decided I would finish it:

To the Girl across the Courtyard

The rain ropes into the cracked cement
of our small Paris courtyard. Eyes closed
I smell its falling break the gray air. 
I ask the rain to fill the courtyard,
three floors to this stony terrace where
my clothes hang to dry, so that I may
shrink to the size of my own courage,
captain a matchbox with a cocktail-
umbrella sail to your open window,
and offer a love that only grows
larger and larger when you fear it.

I’ve seen you every day for a year
cry hiccups out of that cracked window
not three meters from where I’m lying
in the filth of study: Couturat
and Cauchy and what bread I afford.
Your mathematic consistency
and the way all your tears make colors
in the sun like a lake of oil
has made me suspect you a machine
built by some wicked god to break me—
but he miscalculated my heart.

Honestly, you might have repaired me.
I, the machine, the miniature
robot twisted out of a tin can, 
benumbed captain of the matchbox fleet.
Oh fearsome captain! Have her prism
tears awakened you? You remember
now what once made you a real human:
a blanket pulled tight around your ears
to muffle your parents screams; little
starving boy of flesh and blood; that last
acid scent of your grandmother’s hair.


michela said...

That is precisely why I don't keep journals anymore...though I do have a tissue box full of all the notes I received or passed back and forth in high school. Luckily they're so ridiculous that I find them amusing rather than humiliating.

the brain machine said...

I'm probably going to reread this is six days and disappoint myself.

evan said...

About every day I pick up a folder, notepad, flip book, a series of 2:1 bill envelopes that slide into one another, someone else's on-line journal. I write and I write, but never date the material with singularity, or address much of anything, really. There may have been a flash of brilliance I had hoped to preserve, mostly the kind that jams itself further into buffer memory and has a ridiculously long mocking tail, the prehensile ones of monkeys, to better collect all it's little brain droppings before I do. There may have been a flash, but it all translates like a stoner's interpretation of Dennis Miller ordering a celebrity themed sandwich, or anything of this nature that could no better eponymously meta-reference and deconstruct a plate of hot shit. And so whenever I move, there will be on average, say, three calf length boxes, all littered with colored crumples and violent tear outs, these schizoid notes to self. And of that, maybe two parts are remotely clever, were they turned over to a heady editor. The rest is undoubtedly over-sexualized weirdness that is just not foreign enough to come off as playfully innocuous were it all given a significant passing of months.
(Note: Not the stuff that adds mystique or gets anyone laid, not even God's tiniest hand job-- His hands are infinitessimally small, you see, it's a logic gate thing.)
I understand why. I understand the motions, the motives, notably the trashing, hyuck, because someone is lonely, I am lonely.

Dear Wizards at 3M,

Won't you one day soon invent graphing paper that is perforated at each illustrated vertice, because, honestly, confetti serves a better function than me whispering to the world that I feel inspired to better understand myself thru revolving pain...

P.S. Please enjoy the enclosed drawing of anal tits.

Not to explain to you, Evan, me, your own jokes and devices, the reading I mean, but I hate this already.

Anonymous said...

I could get used to your openness.