Monday, 13 October 2008

I wish that I believed in fate, I wish I didn't sleep so late

So, its done. The whole thing, all 20,500 words plus essay, handed in to the secretary who raised her eyebrow when I had put the non-plagarism declaration on the wrong side of the title page. well, there you go. still got in.

much thanks to Howard (too fried to re-figure out link posting-- just go to www.johnheronproject.com already) for reading through my stories and making sure they weren't horrible messes of grammatical fuckup and narrative goop.

this means that while I'll still post poems here, it won't be as regular, probably. Or maybe more regular. But the Summer Writing Project is over and this will go back to being a bit more of a blog that people can read. I'll keep the livejournal (as I have) because there's many people that read it that I'd rather only deal with on there.

I was going to post a reflective on my Year In Swansea.
I decided not to. At least not right right right now. Instead, i'm posting an old poem I wrote, shortly before leaving Seattle. I expected to re-read it and not identify or think "oh, MAN things have changed" but maybe I'm not as different as I feel. Or maybe it was a moment of clarity. Anyways, it'll probably get posted elsewhere too, so don't get annoyed if you end up reading it more than once.

because it's really fucking long. It will get trimmed someday, but hasn't been touched since I got on the plane.

here you go.

I still owe gas money 9/13/07

Riding shotgun through highway nine past the chip-and-sweat
smelling garage I practically lived in the summer before I
cut my hair and all that meant,
I wonder if next time really will be the last time
we disagree on movies based on comics, if quoting you
back to you will still be funny in 17 years and a few more
pounds or if all the licorice has already gone
to our teeth
or if I’m all idle threats
and you’re all big-voiced drama
threatening a collapse when ten years later
will simply find us in a more spacious garage
cleaner clothes, better reasons for short hair

as highway nine’s forests are replaced with
gas stations, spacious estates and finally, condos

northgate way has long since been deforested
and ceased substantive change;
it wont always be northgate way
someday, it will be iced over or renamed by
a conquering nation with virus-shooting guns
but as is, in the car with my sister, past miles
of couches I’ve been sleeping on, I can’t help
but want nine years back, and a shower
--shower first

* * * *

stacking poems into “keep”
and “toss” piles in a rapidly emptying room
is a lot like picking the lint and pennies
off the carpet in preparation for vacuuming
is a lot like cleaning up your nostalgia,
filing it in boxes in storage spaces, bringing it
out again, primping for public consumption
sanding it down for maximum curves, photographing
with black and white film for the sort of
detatched, timeless
quality, is a lot like hanging those pictures up
sardonically captioned so everyone will know
you haven’t lost your edge.

my “toss” pile is immense.

* * * *
riding shotgun down I-5 has become customary
explaining the specific dynamics of today’s tired
--the long wear of a month of goodbyes, the universal
sigh of explaining the same things to everyone you meet,
the internal sturm and drang of making memories
for the sake of it—
versus yesterdays’ tired—too little sleep and
too much to do
is enough to keep me in conversation for a car ride
so much depends on the five dollar bills I
finger every time we pull up to a gas pump
whether it’s accepted or not

we are making the highways into lengths of rope
we can pull towards ourselves and bring the people with it
but you can’t drive across the atlantic.

we are making a point of having fun, of doing things we’ve
meant to, of it being normal, after all nothing’s going to change.

there’s echoes, though, of the joke
“this is probably the last time
you, me, lailey and ryan will walk down this street
holding books in our hands
on a Sunday.”


* * * *

my grandmother is downstairs on the couch
watching Dr. Phil, waiting for the painkillers to kick in

at 5:45, my father is taking her down the hill into town
for a haircut

in the mail today I received papers with information
regarding tuition, campus life, courses. the same that
they send everyone. there’s a separate, smaller paper
with tips for adjusting for overseas students

they assume I don’t speak english. probably safe.

I’m trying to decide if a thick glass of orange juice
will hold me until dinner, which percentage of
camera after disposable camera worth of pictures
I will want a couple thousand miles from here

There’s not room for the whole box, but I’ve
already thrown so much away, forced my nostalgia
back down my throat and tossed in the fire
that these decisions are inventing a new typeof tired
one only knows these things once they’ve seen
the wall they’ll be covering.

Before there, though, there are passenger seats
with people I want to see and people I don’t want to
see and the distinctions between the two are
blurring into the last month’s worth of slow bleed out
but bad shocks and jolting tires bring me back
for the handful of nights left, my eyes on the road
and the dripping down of questions I don’t have answers to
I am not leaving town; I am draining out of it

“Is there anything you want to do in Seattle before you go?”

2 comments:

Ryan A. Johnson said...

cool.

Jake Tucker said...

shit. i like this because it's the shit we'd talk about on drives.