Daily Archives: May 3, 2010

My Scar

The only true art I’ve ever made

is the C-shaped scar I bear
in the back of my left hand
where I once laid a cigarette down
to burn through a fifty dollar bill
in an old bar trick.  The trick
is that you challenge someone else
to do it and tell that person that
if they can hold their hand stiff
till the bill is burnt through,
they can have it.  You of course
say this knowing that the bill will not burn through
because the heat from the cigarette rises
and will only char it, but in my case
I knew this and used my own skin and cash
to demonstrate the folly of such an act,
and thanks to Jameson’s whiskey
was able to shock and horrify others
with the resultant minute long endurance
of the pain.

My hand swelled and a cavern opened
on its back, weeping pus
for two weeks after, and I never had it treated
because where would my point have been
if I had, if I’d acknowledged how much stupidity
it took to point out stupidity?  To make a fool
of myself to the point of anguish?

Now I touch that scar and proclaim

that everything I’ve done since that night
on a stage or a page, every word I’ve written
or placed in its round hole,
has been a fraud and a cheat, and only the single “C”
on the back of my left hand has been the truest Work
of making my point known,
and the only thing that mars its perfection
is that I did not put it on my writing hand,
my good hand, my false right hand
that now lays down
ersatz spectacles
of vulnerability and sacrifice for others’ pleasure,
and there is not enough whiskey in the world
to make me believe it does not hurt
worse than the fire on my left hand
ever did.

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The Pot

The matter at hand
is this boiling pot.

A first bubble rises and bursts
to herald the success
of heated metal
at causing the water
to roll. 

My own contribution
has been incidental —
I filled the pan
and turned the knob,
and this happened.

I’m trying to recall
why I did this.
All of tomorrow
sits before me
this late at night
and I don’t remember
the smallest thing
about what happened today
or why this was
necessary.

Seems a shame to let it go to waste —
what shall I cook and eat?
Let it be breakfast time!
No one ever made a law
that a day must start
at first light,

and even if I don’t know why
I started this,
I can put it to use,
certainly.

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