Daily Archives: September 26, 2017

Air-Conditioned Room

This air-conditioned
room has recently
been full of Nas

and Brand Nubian.
That’s just the truth. Not trying
to make a point 

or add to my name-weight
by borrowing heft from others.
It’s just that there’s an afternoon

of 90s videos on TV and those
were the only two
that made me look up.

I don’t believe in
nostalgia.  A lot of
so called classic rock

isn’t. A lot of hip hop
went over my head
and still does. When 

a good punch lands, though,
it lands well and age
means nothing to me

or to the music. “Street Dreams.”
“Don’t Let It Go To Your Head.”
In case you were wondering. In case

you want to know more as
I wanted to know more. I wrote
those names down

in an air-conditioned room.
I turned them up. I looked them
up and watched them again

alone, at top volume,
the way I listen to any rock 
that hits me right

at a given moment and makes me
want to know more. Anything that gets me
to sniff around new knowledge

excitedly, as if I was hot upon 
some original trail away from
the lonely air-conditioned room.


Beyond Expectation

Because I did not expect 
to live this long,
I have over the years
sold and tossed 
and given away
many things I loved, telling myself
that doing so 

was a way of ensuring
that I might be of some use
as a conduit for certain cherished things
to end up in righteous
and deserving hands. 

Then I did live this long,
far beyond expectation,
and now my hands 
are as empty as I am.

This is not a song of mourning,
not a self-pity song;
this is how we face the stripping away
of illusion at the close of day,
how we sunset when it’s time for dusk.

In the early days of knowing
I would not live long, I was free
and giddy as I shed
guitars and clothes and hats
and all those hours
of recorded music, all those
books, all those things
I’d loved, saying they were in me
now and no one could take them
from me.

Then I lived long
and now I am as empty as my hands;
so much sucked away, so much
drained from me by rough use
and diminishing returns. 

This is not a song of mourning,
not a self-pity song.
This is how we close our eyes
and see how hard the truth is,
how at once loaded and light it is.

What am I supposed to do now 
in such an empty space
if I want to stop existing at last?
Stick this truth in my mouth
and pull on some bitter little fact
like a trigger? 

Not at all: I’m going to sit here

with my empty hands
outstretched and see what,
if anything, falls into them
from above. Wait for the void
to take effect. See if my
remaining possessions 
flee me screaming,
leave quietly, or are taken
one by one into the light.