I would love (I think)
to know why I am here
stuck in the craw of the yachting elite
hundreds of miles from the gritty streets,
the fumbling managers,
the mumbling bastards of my home.

It seems unfair to be away from home,
and yet so obviously fair to travel.
To be in motion is to live and to slow time at once.
And to see the situation as such is to believe that only
benefits are fair,
and only obligations un-.
But how am I obliged?
I can travel. I am free to live and to slow time.
And were I to take that choice,
my time would be accelerated.
So my time now is slowed,
but how am I traveling?
Is it only through time?
Or is “only” too harsh?
I should not devalue my journey
through time, merely because my journey is involuntary,
and proceeds while I sleep.
A train, after all, does not stop for my fears.

Having traveled, I may also return.
These same rails may remember me
(albeit on a different train)
to those stations of my journey’s infancy,
though I must sacrifice my experience of those passengers
that have joined me to this point,
and abandon them to points forward.

If I were to point my bow backward and venture
to make a life out of stations passed,
how responsible am I to myself?
Not as I write, but as I read,
I may feel slighted by myself
for my retreat. I pay dividends
on each investment backward
that impoverishes my present path,
which truly lies before me only.
I steal from my own pockets and dull my sword,
I drain my flask and steal my rations,
Cleave my tongue to the roof of my mouth
and make myself dumb
when I fly backwards
to a port whose stamp I know.

And yet I find more and more
I have forgotten stores or supplies
at earlier stops. My mind ejected
concern for some sacred thing I require
at this station, as much as at my start.

The quandary, of course, being

Untitled (for now)

July 20, 2011

A sweaty fevered boredom
Whispered prayers and mumbled songs
(Did I say that out loud? Is that okay?
No one cares.)
Through half-closed slats I see
the highway, almost,
and almost,
the water.
Warm summer Saturday night mischief
Novelty car horns and tricked-out bikes
Shouted taunts of fun and squeals of ecstasy
Silence here, almost
Just enough noise to bring out the silence:
A piece of sheet metal warps, bangs
Water thunders into nowhere
out of nowhere
Coughs and curses
The hum of some distant machinery
Muffled shouts through the vents or the windows–
Angry? Triumphant? Boasting? Defending?
Sweaty fever prayers
The need for a drug
The need to need the drug more than to have the drug
The need for sleep like the need for
a gun in a dark foxhole, surrounded
by unseen menace and whispered movement
Whispered prayer
The Lord’s and Hail Mary
“Our father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name…”

Fumbled words, out of order
Put the “evil” where the “temptation” belongs
Words that don’t matter
Unspecified, emotional
The nightly rituals of a child in darkness
The proclamations of a man in daylight
Repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat
Until the words are sleep
Sleeping, the words repeat themselves
Back to neon: “…pray for our
sinners, now and at the hour of our–“

Neon again,
sweating like a wool blanket in July
Sweating like a 5-sided cube
atop a mound of seething flesh
Sweating like a light bulb that cannot dim

Out the window, through the slats
The highway roars on like sleepless America
Bright lights that cannot dim but only flash
before they are– suddenly, it always seems —
empty and without purpose
Something to be put away or recycled
“…blessed is the fruit of thy womb…”

lacking meaning or substance
that isn’t gray and dark and veined with electricity
from nowhere
Into nowhere
“…deliver us from evil…”
The same sounds
Repeated and repeated and repeated
Emphasizing the same silence
The same sweaty boredom
Like bad attitudes and boring poems,
the tone never changes
Demands to be dealt with
with active verbs and passive stares

“…thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on Earth, as it is in Heaven…”

In existence
someplace, always
the five-sided cube
All that is out must come in
To be digested, by force, if need be
Stare through the slats
at the life
at the night
at the life
at your walls
the walls behind you
Digest, in free will or forced
’til the fever takes hold of the words
in a sudden instant
“…now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

I have a tendency to freak out about peak oil’s worst-case scenarios. It doesn’t happen all the time, but some days catch you on the wrong side of the sun, and my thoughts wander into gloomy territory. As I’ve written before, I nurse an unhealthy, unproductive fear that I will likely die at the makeshift-knife point of a hungry, panicked former Nexium sales rep as we struggle over scraps of food at a monthly rail depot riot. He could be sitting next to me right now at the cafĂ©, this soon-to-be-once-proud man, harboring his own delusions about the housing market and the back pages of his Five Year-Planner. I can see our ultimate contest now.
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