Daily Archives: April 3, 2012

The Portland Moment

What drives what I am
is the thrill I get when dark syllables
clink together.  You might say
I’ve got a thing for such sound aggression.
A thing for near-shattering. A thing
for hairline cracking.

Other than that I’ve got no love
for anything about this mess
less required than breathing, eating,
pissing, shitting, sleeping, fucking,
or commiserating.

I call these moments of noting
hard truth about myself
“Portland Moments”
for the first one I recall,
when I was smoking a joint
on the fourth level of a downtown garage
in Portland, Maine.  The sky was sky blue,
the air was winter cold, the ocean
as ocean as it could possibly be —
for half a second I believed the Sixties
had it right and all you needed was weed
and light, and love would make it all work.

That was not the Portland Moment, though —

that came a second later
while ducking the cops and hacking,
my lungs cough-laughing at me
crouching behind the car; I said,
gee, sorry, almost had myself fooled
into thinking I was someone else

and not the guy
who’s got a thing for aggression,
a thing for near-shattering, a thing
for hairline cracks and rough repair —

a guy much like Portland, Maine,
where even the hippies walk around
with punk rockers glaring
from the rooms behind their eyes.


Rip (originally 2/2011; revised)

We have been accumulating solace.
Make us afraid of how we were.    
~~ Rumi 

When I’m all tore up.  When I’m
pissed at being at loose ends
and how I can’t tighten them.  
When I’m heating the air
with spew and it’s not fooling
anyone, or me either:  God,

smack me.  Don’t even try to 
touch me without full-swinging
an open palm.  

Mumbling now something about
stones thrown
in the crystal house:  
whatever, I want
to be judged and found wanting.  
Looking for a finger to write
a burning on my wall, my skin.
Hold off on the embraces a while.

Mumbling, now,
about the Abuser,
the Great Abuser:  whatever,
hello,
no, not that.  Not saying

that.  But
I could bear
a judicious scar or two
if the story behind them
is worth remembering and 
keeps me from gaping,
wounded, later on.

No sense in holding
all the comfort for myself;
it’s good, I don’t need it,
give it away, somewhere it
will be appreciated.

My inner child
was a whiner.  I like him
better now that I’m all
tore up or at loose ends.
I check in on him, say:

hey buddy, now what?
And he says:  up to you,
it always is.  
Stay afraid
of your used-to-be, then
let it rip.