It’s Sunday, so I know, before long
I will have the nagging thought
that I should call my mother.
I’ve had this thought for years,
once acted upon it with regularity,
listened patiently for her weekly
list of things I needed to help her with,
since I never visited to do the work
with her standing over my shoulder.
I stopped the calls four years ago
because the dead make few demands,
and she didn’t bother to answer
except in the darkest hour
of my dreams.
He never wants to leave this place. He never wants to leave wherever he is at that moment. Moving is the hardest thing for him, arriving is easy. She points out that you cannot arrive here without leaving there. He reminds her that something being easy is not the same thing as something being desired. He can and does arrive, but it is easy only by comparison to the greater pain of leaving. She says, I am leaving now, but you can join me. He says I cannot even bear the pain of that thought.
The truly pious will never get to heaven for they don’t know how to sing or dance. Kerouac roams freely like a rogue elephant unable to get a good buzz on but not for want of trying. He thought it would be Edenic, a garden somewhere between Babylon hanging and the lobby of the Royal Hawaiian but it bears a closer resemblance to Grant Park or rural North Dakota where the Coke machines along the roadside are often empty and you are rarely hit by golf balls the size of hailstones.
Recently appeared in Aurora, Down in the Dirt Vol. 167 (2020)
I suppose I ought to be glad that no playwright has ever written about me, for that is a fame that always seems to end badly, unless it is a comedy, and that, too, is dangerous ground, for such plays tread heavily for a laugh.
Consider Shakespeare, and ask yourself if yo would want to ever be one of his protagonists, no doubt ending up prematurely dead, and carrying all manner of sin and angst to your grave, while others gather to note your failures.
I suppose I could try a one-man show, autobiographical, but only if I directed myself, and even that would be challenging as I don’t take direction well, but my early attempts at its creation failed miserably, as my audience, the mirror, made clear.
Morning slowly encroaches on your dreams, eroding images despite your tightening grasp. Clear lines blur, become hazy and dissipate bleached by the first light creeping around the shades. The dreams do not care for they will arise again when they choose and this is for them a mere inconvenience. You are the loser here for the linear mindstring once cut never reties with simplicity and something is always lost in the tying.
Even when I was briefly in Edinburgh I dreamed of walking the streets of Lisbon or Porto looking into the faces of older men and wondering if this one was my father. the father I had never seen, never known. Was the one my Jewish mother described in detail to the social worker who took me from her shortly after she gave me life. It is many years later, now, my mother has a face, discovered in the twisting path of a double helix, good West Virginia Jewish stock, Lithuania left far behind. I may someday visit Lisbon, I hear it is a lovely city, but the faces will all be alien to me, and there I will dream of my day touring the Highlands of Scotland, the Isle of Skye, and which of the McDonald’s and McAllister’s might be kin and which Tartan I can now rightfully claim is my own.
Watching French movies you know why Hollywood seems less real than the giant letters stuck like pushpins into a hillside. Even in translation laughter remains universal but you begin to think in word pictures that have utterly no meaning le neige gris la belle chat la lumiere fantastique and you imagine dreaming in a tongue you have never spoken.