Friday, June 6, 2008

Update (Fragments)

tangent 3, tommy Oshima

- I believe I am an expert in listening to people shout at one another, people's unreason, and diffusing situations by exceedingly tasteless humor.

- The car ran out of gas on the highway offramp. It shook and puttered, stopping just at pump #2. (we laughed). The sandstorm made it hard for me to exit the car, lift the nozzle and fit it into the gas tank.

(several minutes later)

__"Triple A?"
__"Yessir, what seems to be the problem?"
__"We've ran out of gas."
__"Right. Are you in a safe place?"
__"I think so."
__"Where are you?"
__"Yermo, California"
__"Where's that?"
__"10 miles south of Barstow on I-15"
__"never heard of it"
__"wouldn't be surprised, it's comprised of a closed-down diner, a trailer, and a gas-station."
__"Are you near the gas station?"
__"Yes. __ I'm parked at pump #2."
__"... I don't understand, why don't you just fill up your self?"
__"the gas station has no gas either."
__"you're kidding?"
__"Last time I got a call about this... was... 1987"
__"How time changes."



__- The Book of Certitude, Baha'u'llah
__- The Art of Reading Poetry, Harold Bloom
__- The Goat (or: Who is Sylvia), Edward Albee
__- i: six nonlectures, E.E. Cummings
__- The Way It Is: Collected Poems, William Stafford
__- The Best American Poetry 2004
__- Collected Poems, Frank O'Hara


I got a haircut. For no reason. I was walking past, I looked in. I stopped. It seemed to me the world could change little either way. I walked in. Walked out. The world had not changed. I was not surprised. (and continued to walk)



__- exhaustion
__- a serious lack of humanity
__- I see most things as a blur.... I cannot focus my eyes. When I sit still I see myself walk on. There are 14 versions of myself contained in just one chest.

__"How life twists and turns.
__How some fall, some... climb."
__"What's that line you always quote?"
__"Judge no man lucky till he dies, free of pain, at last."
__"you mean he's lucky to die?"
__"no. As a measure of success- you can't quite know where you'll end up, which way it'll twist... till it's over."
__"what's it from?"
__"Who?... wha... never mind. (intellectualite)"
__"(stop calling me that)"
__"in any case; Life's ups and downs."
__"shifting sands. all of us. no bedrock."
__"You've seen more at your age than me in my whole life."
__"you've seen too much."
__"you're wise because of it."
__"that too."
__"[looks down]
__"Don't think anymore. seriously. you're too old for your age."
__"(too old)"



the car is finally still.
the keys lie flaccid on the table.
(the earth continues to turn soo
fast I can't hear my sister
say 'I love you' in sign-language.

sing me my dirge
and let's be done with it-
I see you, your sickle, and
your hooded figure following me.
(who... me? he responds)

semi-sincere resolutions written in anger during bout of fear and self-loathing:


I feel the moon move all day.
My 3/quarters water edge towards
my side at noon.
At night I am high-tide,
__my heart unable to beat

Also it sits up on a rock
and fishes memories out.

- I'm not what you


Soon my sister will be independent.
I am expecting a crack at the border of the sky and building rooftops. The horizon to fall off. Gravity to reverse. Th universe be anew. Also, I simply don't really care about all this very much anymore. I am life's prole.



__- writer's block
__- internet cutting out
__- midnight showers seems to have regained some of the cathartic properties they had 8 months ago (thankfully)


__"what about you?"
__"sooner or later you're gonna have to-
__________________________"I know"
__"do you?"
__"what's your plan?"
__"oh God. stop with the poetry!"
__"[shrug] what other language is there for it?"
__"for what?"


An arrogant young man, handsome but balding leans against the outside nightclub wall. His girlfriend is beautiful, and his handsome face manages to not be obscured by his ill-chosen clothing. He doesn't say much to me. He seems pleased he has a thing or two on me. I play along. Self-deprecate here and there to guide him to wittisms he doesn't have it in him to think up on his own. I set the play. he gathers a few of my words and the pun comes to mind. He smiles as he delivers it. I nod and smile, encouragingly. He nods more enthusiastically. He puts his hands in his jean-front-pockets and exudes a confidence only a second-best can muster. I smile, always courteous, almost never friendly.

__"what d'ya mean you're not doing anything?"
__"I'm doing this and that."
__"are'ya goin back to medicine?"
__"probably not, no."
__"heh" (he likes that)

Later, upon farewell, I offer him a hand for a shake. He does a strange brotha shake and gives me a pat-hug. He no longer feels threatened. I have no need to compete.

__"well, best of luck with doin nothing."
__"thanks, I'll need it."
______(he looks confused)


golriz said...

what did you think about 'the goat'. albee is a bit of a sicko right?

a penny for the old guy said...

i love albee. he is tremendous. the goat wasn't my favorite, but I was giggling and giggling all over Seatac Airport with people looking at me funny. I think depending on how it's acted, it has sooo much potential to be simultaneously hilarious and... serious... no actually, you know what, it's brilliant. I really can't think of any other playwright who could do that, turn a farce into a tragedy, and a tragedy into a farce so coherently... and the closing scene with the wife breaking things- LOVED it. totally, absolutely could see it all in my head.

alex_and_ra said...

have you read An Oregon Message by Stafford?
that's the only one of his collections i've read so i have nothing to compare it to, but i love it!

also, random question, i was reading some Eliot and i'm wondering if "a penny for the old guy" is a reference to The Hollow Men?
if so, cool!
if not, that's cool too...

a penny for the old guy said...

mmm, no i haven't. The collected poems I have has 'highlights' from all his past collections, so I've read parts of it, but not the whole work.

a penny for the old guy is in fact from the Hollow Men. I had liked the Hollow Men for years, but had never quite worked out the reference. Later I read a book of criticism about the Wasteland, and it spoke about the Hollow Men and the epigraphs. I've thought it one of the most beautiful phrases ever since. (for a while I thought about being mistah kurtz- he dead but decided on penny old guy instead.

good spotting.