09 Oct
(For George Rounthwaite)

I fly the bottom line like a spicy old gnat
woozy from post-Germanic stagefright
unmounting your governing body with the same flair
along the decided ridges of a glimpsed scarlet swimsuit
as I might if I were to straighten my hair with curlers
or roll up a newspaper to swat the dog
who just pissed on my appetite,
as I do this outside of habit,
suffering like a fixed whisper through hooking
wind tunnels of time, bouncing off
corrosive walls of unknown fragrances
imagining myself trapped in a microwave oven
forging deep contours into my handwriting
living in a jar of unforgivable battleships
floating hard cocks and polite whistles
among the wet, zenith waning.

I’m afraid I’ve procrastinated
teaching myself happiness without just cause.

Having started this swipe at all things accelerated
first with a bang then that accomplished whimper of mine,
I have stopped, started again overcautiously, stopped again,
scorched the soldiers of my fingertips, sculpted tiny industrial
elephants with toothaches storming my ear wax,
and lived to laugh about it while gaining weight
unlike coy women who disrobe for Christmas dollars,
fretted each word as if I were counting beads of the rosary,
even though I have never done that sort of thing
not being catholic or ridiculous while I write maggots
into the sky’s distorted huge and spongy apostolic succession,
re-filtrating every grounds of mutual respect with acrimony,
the world with me, here, not at its swirling epicenter
but along the frays of its weatherbeaten dust jacket,
deliberately unpersuaded as to what to put in
and what to leave out of this reforging
a retooling of friendship once quite
the vocabulary of need.

Of course all of this thinking and thinking about thinking
led ultimately to overpostulating the whole of what
memories and what urges I keep in pockets
lined with the rash and rescind
toward you, my friend.

Far astray the garden of youth, I am
faced with rallying back like a long distance
echo still stammering a single quote
from Kierkegaard under which
the flag of my soul
flickers gently—

“…the poet who wants to transcend himself
but gets only as far as religious longing,
not piety as such…”

Thus is, and always has been
his unchecked swarm of needs
buzzing around inside my gut
and my head, and to obey
that nature I first laugh & flirt

I have no choice but to spring forth
like a foul-toothed mantis
spew everything I know of us
within parameters of earnest friendship. Perhaps
you will not be forced to concur with early 20th century
German critic who once summed up his side of the argument
with the crushing dictum that still tastes like chicken...

“Geist auf Brod geschmiert ist Schmalz”
(Mind smeared on bread is lard).

Letter not meant to reintroduce
hardshelled polemics
into our man to boy tongue,
for that leads only to eventual ruin,
but I think for clarity, honesty, and foundation,
an assault of the past not only necessary but rational,
still unclear of extent your stroke has debilitated,
sorry for estrangement to wife and boys
no wish to aggravate your recovery,
thick patches of irritating weeds,
spurs and dandelions
wherever you find them in this glib landscape
of a remembered past whose nostalgic tone
may get lost in translation under brittle
cover of stale paragraphs
bibliophilia my escape...

© 1995 - 2013, Gabriel Thy. All rights reserved.

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"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""