Two Poems

There’s not a lot to say about these. One of them was written yesterday, and the other one came together a few hours ago. I try to get come up with somewhere in the neighborhood of ten to eighteen poems in a given month. God knows if that qualifies as ambitious. I guess the great affection for writing poetry is that it gives me something to do between larger projects.

I can go days without writing sometimes (self-loathing and all that), but I never like to. It’s best that I have some project on the table as often as possible. I guess that’s why things like acting, stand-up and the like are so welcome. My mindset is such that I should always be working, always trying to get something off the ground. The idea is to keep moving forever, or to at least kid myself into thinking I can do that.

It’s fun.

Right?

Right?

I like how these two turned out. Poetry lets me play around with imagery that generally doesn’t work as well in fiction.

Looking to get back into that blasted movie challenge this coming week. That should be fun, too.

I’m all about fun tonight. I’d rather be kicking around New York, Santa Fe or some other place. I’d rather be getting into trouble and having very little show for it. Things have been slow lately, and that tends to bug the living shit out of me.

Ah well. I guess we’ll just settle for whatever’s around.

**********
Heaven and Heck
By Gabriel Ricard

It’s getting to where I don’t even have to
pull myself up as best I can, chase them down
and ask as kindly as possible why it was necessary
to skip the hello, work wonders on my ribs
with a pair of Chinese finger trap brass knuckles
and leave without the courtesy of a forwarding address.

I used to try. I used to faintly remember them
from one of those get-togethers,
where I’m more likely to regret the songs I mouthed the words to in the kitchen.
Instead of some stupid fire that took over the living room.
Or some strip-Life game that turned into a reasonably kinky puppet show.

That psychic tab is going to haunt me until the day I stop dying.

Watch me count my closest cohorts on one hand,
and still have enough fingers left over for a midnight cooking accident.

You can’t impress everybody,
and in trying to do so
I’ve had to accept that I may not be able
to go out to dinner in peace.

Or go grocery shopping
without waking up in a freezer,
surrounded by peas and carrots
and wondering what in the hell just happened.

People lose their goddamn minds in the summer,
but I’ve run into this kind of thing
in November, too.

It used to scare me to death.
This was back when I took medication,
bothered nuns on the televised streets for guidance
and could sit through an entire stranger’s funeral,
without starting a food fight.

Then I just got used to it. Sleeping alone
six days out of the week ain’t so bad,
and when the bad dreams drop me into a thin room in the long dark
I can actually figure out where and when I am
about half of the time.

I’ll do whatever it takes,
put up with anything
to keep my place as a guest motivational speaker
on the misadventure circuit.

That’s not destroying the candle from the inside-out.
That’s called progress, baby.
**********
Eggs for a Rainy Month
By Gabriel Ricard

Anger management classes that turn into basement weddings
are a lot like those desperate Friday night football games.

In one of those desperate Texas towns
that’s taken to adding a few landmines
to bring back the roar of the crowd,
the benign drug-dealers
and deformed cheerleaders selling auto-parts.

They’re the same,
in that I’d rather not be at either one
ever again.

I wasn’t even invited,
but I still have to take these things and more
and turn them into deeply personal stories.

My substantial,
useless free time is spent standing in the doorway
and assuming an earthquake might eventually
shake Richmond, Virginia out of its enlightened cowboy boots
and into the Pacific.

Although sometimes,
I’ll be in Annapolis or Seattle
and just drink enough to think
I’m in Richmond, Virginia.

My psychic ex-girlfriend laughs
until her ribs cave in,
every time I stupidly call to tell her all about it.

She tells me
that it means the stars are seriously looking
to fuck me over
when the tires burst,
and I’m out of gas
in Death Valley’s hallucinatory metropolitan masterpiece.

It’s okay. She’s probably right about that.
And about being liked when I’ve been gone for a month
than being loved when all eyes are on me,
and the chandeliers up top are meeting
the mousetraps on the floor for a compromise.

I never get invited to anything,
and it wasn’t until I learned how to live on traveling
constantly that I finally did something about it.

It’s that one summer vacation from my childhood
where every day was someone else’s two-day birthday party
all over again.

You learn to find a way in.
You work on two-part jokes
when the cops show up
and want to know
why your fiancé pulled a butcher knife
on the downstairs neighbors.

It’s better to sneak in the front door,
steal some eggs for a rainy month,
seek forgiveness from the host
and remember to thank any women,
who toss you out on your ear.

You meet a lot of fascinating people that way,
and some of them even take you out to breakfast
at gun-point.
**********

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