Another Maudlin Account of Self-Immolation
When the dust settles and no one is left,
You’ve sunk your great height and slimmed down your heft,
You smell something burning and don’t ask who:
The smoke that is rising drifts up from you.
Water won’t reach you, no, not on its own;
It rejects anyone who lives alone,
So you can burn down until you are ash,
Crumpled leaves reduced to flakes in a flash,
Providing no comfort, giving no high,
Explaining nothing, not a reason why
You breathed in the first place, yes, you drew breath,
Wasting the air that just prolonged your death,
And now you’re speechless—you cannot defend
Why you would bother to stay for an end
Made by a chipping, a winnow-away
That melted substance until your last day
On which the birds sang and nobody cried
Because no one knew, as you never tried
To make connections, to form a network—
You chose isolation, like a big jerk,
And now lamenting sounds more like a joke
As grieving’s reserved for more worthy folk,
But in your passing there’s something received,
Something too beautiful to be believed—
Trees that died in forests and made no sounds
Understand feelings that go out of bounds
Such as the sense of a vast open field,
The lack of watching as you at last yield
To conflagration you’d have no one see
Take you and your past now and completely.
Every sentiment is a big fake,
And I don’t know how much more I can take
Of overflowing banks of affection—
I think somewhere I lost all direction—
I think that’s my car sunk deep in the lake.
I’m an ingrate, a hothead, and a snake.
Think of the idiocy that I rake
Up into piles of pure predilection,
I put good words into bile and I bake.
Nobody crosses the street for my sake,
But someone would attend my dissection
Only to see the ruin’s perfection,
Over which people serve coffee and cake.
Traitorous treasonous poisonous world,
You have your reasons for fucking the mass:
You drink champagne; yes, you do it with class.
Under bright lights with your white ribbons curled,
You can salute the new flag you’ve unfurled,
Join the rich ranks of righteous kissing ass,
Knowing the party is cool—it’s a gas,
Guessing the landings of lessers you’ve hurled
Down from the ladders they’d managed to climb—
They don’t need lifting; that’s not for their kind!
You’ve got enough knives for all the right backs:
They’re silver-coated to slide right through slime,
And they’ll carve a helping of what meat they find
Each time you mount your fired-friendly attacks.
When the world’s shapeless, I must do laundry.
When days transition, clean comes upon me.
It’s not like I’m scrubbing spots on the floor.
Tasks for deep cleaning—I’ve got a whole score,
But when I’m listless, I seek rinse fondly.
Clean socks and undies, refreshing to see:
Fresh shirts and pants show me who I can be.
I use detergent from the wholesale store
When the world’s shapeless.
If it’s time to fold, I may seek to flee:
I don’t iron, I say, sans irony.
But do relax, I’ve a couple loads more;
I won’t run out; I’m a laundering whore.
Out of the dryer, my life comes fluffy
When the world’s shapeless.
I throw words away, refuse for the heap.
I’ve nothing to say; shallow cries aren’t deep.
You might find value, a phrase you can keep,
But I must warn you, hoping is a leap.
I’m not trying tricks; I am not a thief.
If I write nothing, nothing’s my belief.
Through these nothing lines, I intend no grief,
But, perhaps, the truth, where nothing is chief.
Why put ugliness of the world in bows
When my sweet nothings capture how it goes?
Why say pretty things, purple passion throes,
When life’s progression has just lows, lows, lows?
I find no reason. I find none at all.
To rise beyond nothing, look for a fall.
In the discard pile we live with such style,
People look and wonder, and we just smile:
Yes, we remember life inside the deck,
Back before everything became a wreck,
But we admit it has been quite a while
To live unwanted, packed safely with guile,
To rest on the stack with the rank and file,
Forgotten because we are all mere dreck
In the discard pile.
Do we view played cards with venom, with bile,
With jealous hatred because we’re servile,
Bereft of color, begging for a fleck,
Forced to kneel silent and bent at the neck
With hope of change nowhere within a mile
In the discard pile?
I hear you. Maybe someday I’ll do that.
The sidewalks are broad enough for slinking,
So I could pad through, an asocial cat,
Walking the town as I do some thinking.
I could get out, and people could see me,
And I could see them. It could be normal.
I’d order a drink, maybe a coffee,
And strike up chatter, something informal.
I’d learn a name, and someone would learn mine,
And maybe I’d get an email address.
The whole conversation could turn out fine,
But by the end I would feel like a mess.
Names, people. I hear you. Maybe someday.
Maybe I won’t always get in my way.