Detritus from a dead poetic imagination


A poet howling at the moon.

Life in the 21st century as we all wait consciously or unconsciously for the apocalypse is boring and driven by distractions, an endless stream of distractions from the fact that 21st-century life is boring and driven by distractions. It is a life that is pointless, lonely, isolated, anonymous, mechanical, repetitive, robotic, imitative, electronic, vicarious, harried, bureaucratized, herded, wasted, bleak, despairing, impoverished, decadent, overripe for annihilation. So here are some distractions, scattered poems from my twenties not all of which are any good. Some are moderately disciplined (iambic pentameter or hexameter, or syllabically constrained (e.g., 1-2-3-4...)) but most are "free verse," and the first one isn't much of a poem at all, just a commentary on the vanity of the gym culture. The ones on this page are probably better.


***


At the gym.— The staring at my calf, the muscle, newly carved, old clay come to life (I am my own Pygmalion), sculpted beneath the skin the pockmarked skin, the staring at new creation ex nihilo ad nihilo, creatine-creation my calf my newborn baby, beautiful as the cut from the cow (dead now) on the dish—or in the dirt so to die as the diet of worms (‘From clay, to clay returned.’)—the staring, the stupid caring....


***


Detachment

Drippingly rain cuts the dirt

darkening it dissolving it

running it off into the splashed streets

sadly beneath absurd rubber tires

and the sky is white with the passed storm

and I am white with detachment


***


Tanka


with a single glance

into my stunned, frozen eyes,

or a light caress,

she gently plucks the worn strings

of this tired violin-soul

*

computer-powered

I sit here robotically

day in and day out,

airplanes roaring overhead

as Field’s nocturnes console me....


*

death-defying love

enveloping one’s little

space upon this earth,

all-consuming blessedness—

that is what I’ll never have


*


smiling at the child

giggling pink life-bubbles

naïvely to me;

they all pop and pass me by,

but I am happy for her


***


Heavenly love

Ribbons of eroding moss sinking from the sky

down upon white lily-petals of cloud,

snowy ferns rainbow-flowing,

rain-feathers brushing my warm cheek to your blushing

lips.

Rushing, snow-melting streams of woman’s body

meet my open soul, drench my open heart,

pool in my palms (cupped openly) from which I sip

as breathing wintry air.

Your soul-puddle ripples in my hands.

I drink you, drink your liquid hair, your liquid eyes,

your snowy breasts and moss-soft skin,

and slowly together we dissipate skyward—

earth-memories evaporating.

Eternal streams of stars engulf the night, swallow

the world; there we hover blackly, stilly.

There we hover.


***


nipple lips kissing

cool sweat of the cupped palm warm

soul undulating


***


A Garden

This is a vision.— I am sitting on the rug

In my bedroom, my back against a pillow propped

Against the bed (the maroon comforter),

Shoes off, shirt off (except a t-shirt), legs extended

Far off into forgetfulness, laptop on lap.

My laptop!—(What a name! “Laptop”. Suitably

Poetical.)—‘What would I do without thee, dearest?!

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways....”’ No;

That were—I mean, would be—to make this poem (so-called)

Excessively didactic (though I fear the damage

Is done already). Even so, I love you, laptop.

—Where was I?— Here I sit (or rather, lie: my grade

Of incline is closer to forty-five degrees

Than ninety), with my blaring headphones safely snug

Against my grateful ears (they’re being damaged, but

They don’t object); Beethoven is shouting—pounding

His silver hammer like a Nietzschean against

The anvil of Platonic Beauty, so that sparks

May fly—into my willing mind, or soul, or brain,

Or what-have-you. It’s a symphony—the sixth,

To which I’m partial. (Debussy once asked why this

One in particular is so beloved by all;

His answer....had something to do with the idea

That man and nature are divided by a gulf

Unbridgeable, and that the wonder which man feels

For something so mysterious and charming is

Communicated in this symphony. I think

That this is sheer bullshit. “Mystery”? And “gulfs”?

And metaphysical “wonder”? No! Philosophy

Has no place in the Kingdom of the Musical;

It is a trespasser—and it had best beware

Lest it be instantly revealed as a fraud,

A charlatan, a loathsome brute, when placed beside

The comely maiden, the Cinderella that is music.)

My mood is not....the other one, the offspring of

The Marche Funèbre; it is the radiant sister of

The cisalpine sunrise, or of Venice at dusk.

This solitude is far from loneliness; I crave

It, more than poets crave love—than Byron craved freedom.

To sit here on this rug—this drab and threadbare rug—

With music in my mind and freedom in my thoughts,

Is something more than paradise. —“Paradise”?

I pity those poor souls in Paradise, if it

Be not a room, a rug, a bed, a pen, and music!


***


Liebesbotschaft

Some people need some things that I don’t need.

Some people need to feel loved by all,

By everyone. They need the world to scream

Their names when they walk by and scramble so

To touch their hands. Others there are who need

To travel the continents, to migrate like

The albatross a thousand miles each year

Toward some receding point on the horizon.

Some people need to be immortal—to live

Far in the future, not the present;—still others

Are tormented with lust for perfect knowledge.

These people, all of them, are Fausts, Faust-clones,

Unhappy as the universe expanding

Into nothingness—as nothing as

The abstract needs these tortured people have.

But I, my love, I do not need such things.

They’re nothing to me. For all I need, my love,

—And all I need—is in my arms right now.

And all I need is this soft shoulder, this

Soft cheek, these soft breaths exhaled with mine.

There’s nothing else. So I will stay here forever,

Not thinking of those people who need things

That I don’t need, since all I need is you.


***


Confession

(For Stephen Dobyns)

The Nazi within me wants to rid the world of vice,

which he defines as “everything different from me.”

Specifically, bureaucracy has got to go, and people

who follow rules. Authority is always wrong.

The Nazi within me hates power and those who have it;

he thinks politicians should be lined up against a grey

wall and shot. (He is perfectly happy to do the shooting,

provided he is in the right mood.) The Nazi within me

hates people who are unkind, and he will strangle

anyone who is rude to that nice old Russian lady in

the bookstore. Tobacco and pharmaceutical executives,

and most people in show-business, are to be sent to

Sudan to wait hand and foot on the natives; and

everyone in the Pentagon has been assigned to Cambodia

to clear the mine fields. (This decision cannot be

appealed.) The Nazi within me judges everyone, he is the

final arbiter of everyone’s fate and takes great joy in

meting out punishment. For the crime of smugness you are

sentenced to ten years’ hard labor in Somalia; for the crime

of honking your car horn when it does no good you are

sentenced to one year in the room where they test car alarms.

The Nazi within me hates falsity of any sort but insists that

when he passes people in the street they quickly step out

of his way and give a respectful nod, while wishing they

could be as good-looking and godlike as he is. As for

those who do not wish this: Siberia is their new home.


***


Merapi

shaggy sheep clouds skating down Bald Mountain

while a thousand white eyes look down

unblinkingly,

in wonder unblinking,

the rabbit-fur of Earth’s innards sleek and grey

and impatient beneath the unmoving night.

hot atmospheric felt caressing

kinetically frozen stone (white heat) eons-old

and doomed trees gasping.

raucous neon saffron-gash boiling,

liquid petrifaction (Earth’s candle, volcanic wick) oozing

up from under into

down feather-pillows of smoke

sweeping the complacent forests,

bleeding scattered life.


***


The midnight-aura

In the liquid sugar of this fantasia

I sing my dripping heart into the air

onto the frost-paned crystal that hovers and kisses me

its crisp threads weaving slowly web-like around me

round my molten-glass breath warm-blown

through chandeliers of lavender whispers

whispered

like a melting icicle

into the silent shivers of me

whence I sing

with the heart of Chopin beating in my outstretched

hand

hotly


***


Eternity

In the village hut,

Below the scalding metal roof

Below the crushing Laotian sun,

In the dark,

A blood-drained woman lies, leather-skinned,

Legs spread apart,

Dying, shrieking soundlessly, frozen

To her stillborn son in her arms.

But the waning day has no remorse,

And the coming night is empty

And not soothing,

And nothing—nothing changes.

On the fresh-tarred street,

Sprawled in the gutter beside the curb

With frozen mud in his hair,

Fingers rigid,

Lies a starved, bloodless man, homeless

Formerly,

Now nothing but something unpleasant

Which must be taken care of.

But the waning day has no remorse,

And the coming night is empty

And not soothing,

And nothing—nothing changes.

In the Adriatic,

Rusting, rotting like the hull

Of a submerged titanic ship,

In the dark,

A ruined palace of a city sleeps,

Unconscious

Of the irony, its famed canals

And piazzas home to memoryless creatures.

But the waning day has no remorse,

And the coming night is empty

And not soothing,

And nothing—nothing changes.


***


To Ilan Halimi

processions of stains of tortures of Jews

marching single-file the rank and file

of bitterest hate human-stained

human-fabricated hate

past the wide judgment-eye

glaring all the time

and all the while

hideous

death-throes

throw

death to

history

and all kindness

maimed mutilated

marching armies across

envy-sown battlefields

soaked with bloodlusting sadism

ripping apart Innocence’s corpse

as Love’s wide judgment-eye looks on and cries


***


The Prophet

I opened my ears and heard the past

sobbing

and the people in the past

sobbing

and I closed my eyes and saw the future

screaming

and the people in the future

screaming

and the bloody bodies slickly dying in heaps

and the suffocating

and the sobbing


***


The cry of impotence

If a tenth of the time I spend thinking of death

I spent thinking of life, I would be full of life.

If I thought to myself how little eternity means

and believed it,

I could live eternity every moment.

And I wouldn’t have to write like a wailing infant,

nor pretend to be weak because weakness was fun.

This damn sickness of having to need “perfection”

or prettiness because nothing matters

and everything changes

and everything dies

would no longer infect me

and I could live like someone in 18th-century Vienna

when the most unpleasant thing was horseshit on the street.

Just to not wonder why I so long for eternity and fullness

and have been birthmarked with this senseless yearning

for something outside the bounds of sense.


***


Went to a party, didn’t get drunk and didn’t have fun. Feel a peculiar anger against the world.—


The candle is flickering because it’s getting dark, and people are flickering with it, away into the rabid black night, swallowed and hopefully digested; rage drips from my skin and I try to stomp it out but can’t, it’s there in the sheen on the black tar and trails me home, a stench of burning flesh hovering over it; the calluses on my eyes have blinded me so I rely on instinct to find my way back, but everywhere I turn I slip on puddles of rage; meanwhile I think of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton and Hart Crane and Kurt Cobain and suddenly my fist clenches with fingernails digging in, and I raise the gun and blow my brains out.


***


Trapped behind bars

At times when the light is on in my bedroom

and the night outside is blue and I look

through my barred window at the blue night,

I see strips of infinity across the sky.

And between them I can see my cloudy profile

repeated and distorted again and again

from the horizon to the apex,

like in the distorting mirrors at amusement parks.

It’s almost unrecognizable, but because I want

to see it I see it.

It’s there, stamped into the blue clouds in front of the moon.

(I want to blot out the moon, that serene patch!)

And I try to engrave that distant image of myself

into my mind, before I go to sleep every night,

but I never can.

And I realize how frightening it is to be alone.


***


A Bukowskian non-poem

In six hours I’ll be having

dinner

with the Asian chick,

charming

her pants off,

speaking my filtered

cock

between mouthfuls of fish.

Her smile

will be as unwavering as

my desire, which will be

as unwavering

as my erection.

Maybe I’ll

mention

my adventure with

malaria in Sapa,

a stupid

overreactive

episode

which will not fail to garner

applause.

(Every time a female laughs

is

another notch in your belt.)

Or maybe I’ll talk

about

how much rice I had to eat

in Korea,

rice twice, thrice,

a day,

for a year,

and she’ll laugh laugh ha ha.

Meanwhile I’ll eat my

fish.

I wonder

what Vietnamese pussy tastes

like.


***


love-

less I

lack a life

outside the knife-

sharp stabs;—picking scabs

off crust-dry bloodless wounds

to watch them bleed self-pity,

self-pity dammed back long eons

before this agonizing moment

let flow the flood of bloody self-pity;

and yet the agony is life’s blood,

my life-blood, without which I’d curl

up, shrivel and char to coal-

black insipid “real life”

of talking, smiling,

laughing without

knowing why....

—O, to

love!


***


you

I love

sun-harnessed

power of life

glowing tides of tears

moon-begotten through you

star-yearning astronomer

drifting buoyant through galaxies

distant star-beaded light necklaces

enwreathing invisibly your white neck

radiating sun-kisses through space

reaching from your unbounded eyes

outside temporal vacuums

inside concrete worlds

where bland life happens

which I reject

just because

I love

you


***


After the accident

I see her without closing my eyes,

she sits right there in front of me,

her eyes reaching for my fingertips,

her tiny smile hugging me.

Neither of us talks, though we want to:

words would be dangerous.

I cannot bring myself to smile,

though hers is unwavering

and tries to reassure me.

She is barefoot, as so often;

her unbroken skin is barely pale.

The tear in the knee of her jeans

makes me think of wet grass

and the day I met her there

a long time ago.

Her eyes drop, the smile fades;

she leaves me.


***


Regrets

I feel as though I gave too little

and kept too much;

and so too much was lost

and little will last.


***


Midnight pining.— The moments when you feel the pressure of lusty tenderness but you aren’t in the mood to jerk off and yet you keep thinking of the girl whose image chokes your heart like a wrung sponge and you have to wriggle from its grip or claw out from beneath this damned anvil crushing you but you can’t because the sexual release of whipping your cock to congestion has no relation to the required release of constipated tenderness, tenderness—tenderness.


***


What are your thoughts?

What do you think of this?

A world in which people are dogs and dogs are people,

And the dog-days linger like dying.

A world in which the nights, the lone nights, are slept through

Alonely in beds for two (bookend beds) while censored dreams come through.

A world in which all wishes are for an immortality which no one wants,

And people know one thing only, and that is futility.

A world in which sleep is not rest and people are not genuine.

What do you think of this?


***


Bareness

Looking at the snow, I know that I should go.

The moon is hidden by orange street-light, but I should go.

I am finished; my work is done, and things are dull.

Dusty books, dusty desks, dry reading

From dying books two years old, or dead-born.

I’m tired of things, and things are tiring too.

Outside the world, nature, nature is ever young,

Ever young-returning, turning old men into young.

There is a spot somewhere, snowy or summery, where

It is bare, life is spare, one can sit and be aware. And there

Is only silence or wind, no cares, trees standing quietly,

Things barely moving in the wind except for grass or falling snow.

No, summer is where to be. Under the sun is where to be

When one no longer feels young, when feelings are done.

Warmth on the face upturned, eyes closed, all feelings

Focused in the skin, memories forgotten. Books

And desks and metal things and former hopes forgotten.

Only immediate sensations and enormous space.

Wright's Writing

© 2014-2020 by Chris Wright