Posts Tagged ‘ Poems ’

Cohorts and Collaborators (Pt. 2/2)

There’s not a whole lot else to say about these collaborations, so it makes more sense to just let these last three collaborations speak for themselves.

I suppose the next couple of entries will be movie reviews, as I’m still looking to be finished with that damn challenge by the end of this month.

It’s time to move on, ladies and gentleman. It’s time to see what the hell else is out there. My life has seen better fortunes than usual over the past month. Some momentum is actually coming my way, and it would be nice if I could use it to actually accomplish something a little more substantial. Some risks ought to be taken, and I need try a little harder at keeping and maintaining an open mind.

It’s weird that I actually feel as though those things are possible at the moment. It would be nice if these thoughts hung around long enough for me to do something with them, and I suppose that falls into my arena of control.

Let’s just see what happens, and let’s try to enjoy that good fortune. There are still things that are probably making the tumor in my brain bigger with each passing hour, but right now the good is in better shape than usual to potentially outweigh the bad, and I love that.

I’ll do what I can with it. It helps considerably to have a fantastic woman in my corner, but I won’t embarrass her by naming names. That’s not the only reason why I’ve been feeling better lately, but it’s definitely in the top two or three.

Remember that my contributions to these pieces are still marked with a “-“

*********
Six Steps Back (w/ Ava Blu)
By Gabriel Ricard

-Let’s clean up this mess,
figure out who keeps which books
and who deserves to make it
to the West Coast first.

-We can’t keep a room together long
enough to play chess with our antiques,
so we may have to settle for checkers.

-I don’t know. It’s times like this
when I’m usually very,
very quiet.

We can burn our old bibles to make room.
We can play by candle light
and take a drink every time the open window
blows out the candle.

I’m usually not up for conversations like this.
I’m usually not one to talk
during a game I know I can’t lose.
I need the quiet to be able to feel the heat
grace my cheek.

I need to figure out how to keep you
away from San Francisco.

-Well,
it goes without saying
that I’d love to be there before I’m thirty,
but I always imagined you would be the first
between us to make it with time to kill.

-Those California artist types
will love you first and then themselves,
and some of them can even make it through
the entire morning without taking a drink.

-I’ve always admired that.

They’ll fight over guessing which flavor of tea I prefer
and I’ll somehow seem phased over it.
I’ll wait for my tea to cool while they yell profanities
in languages I’ve yet to learn.

Damn hipsters.

I won’t offer you a place to stay
until you send the book you bought.
I know you use it as leverage to get me to say
I’m ok with you dating a mutual friend;

I’ll never be ok with it.

-That’s fine. I may just wait until the morning
I wake up in some foreign country.

-With nothing to my name but twenty dollars,
a pamphlet promoting good mental health
through spirituality, and a bride that thinks orange juice
gets in the way of vodka,
and already can’t stand the sight of me.

-You’ll be in California,
and I do hope you’ll be happy.

-I don’t have the necessary patience
to be cruel or sarcastic about that thought anymore.

I don’t feel sarcastic anymore either.

I think the day we met to have one last fuck
eluded to how today would go.
I think you should’ve known I
could never not want to bring a knife to bed.

I don’t understand why I can’t be
the bride choking on choices. I
don’t wanna know why you would
settle for a woman who laughs when
you write a line about death over one
who can fuck you sideways and still
make the most delicious eggs
in the morning.

Yeah, I wanna know why you
can’t look at my dark hair, pale skin
and green eyes and say you still love me,
you still miss the way we fit along our spines.

-It’s on my to-do list.
It’s a long assortment of things I plan to do
when my back gets better
and God gives me the go-ahead
to find enough candles in enough churches
to burn this town halfway to the ground.

-The other half might well bring us back
to the good-old days.

-And if it turns out instead
that nothing’s left,
then I guess we’ll live with that as best we can.

-I think we could pull it off.
we’ve lived under more trying circumstances before.

I think the day won’t come soon enough
to salvage the brokenness between us.
Our days became numbered as soon
as we met one last time.

I think the only thing we can pull off now
is the occasional dirty joke about the blood
we’ve shared and how you still hit on
every mutual friend we’ve ever had.

One of these days we’ll realize
the only place we belong
is with each other.

-Let me think about that
and get back to you.

**********
Shorthand Shuffle (w/ Samantha Bagley)
By Gabriel Ricard

-It was a dangerous time to be alive,
but I guess we were pretty good
at knowing and moving along anyway.

-We thought the speed limit
was more of a guideline than an actual law.
We got lost so often as kids
that there was actually a few years
where we thought Cleveland went on forever.

-You used to smile a lot more
back in them days.

Not that either of us know
much about that anymore. It seems
that the days of bad lines about
teeth and daisies are far behind us.

Still, something about notes the solar system makes,
the color red, the sting in our eyes –
I suppose that means that something is there.
Of course, something could be subjective
or subliminal or nothing at all. Your call.

Seems now our hands are bound,
there’s not much left to endless
much less forever.

-When we were kids
you were in the habit of wearing your Halloween costume
in late-September and telling anyone who was half-listening
that your attic was constantly at war
with the basement for which one was the most haunted.

-Somehow
you’ve managed to get old
and apply that idea to every grocery store, church and dance hall
in a world where the population is six million strong
and two million helpless.

-Sometimes
you drink a bottle of wine,
break the same window twice
and chase young men for days at a time.

-I sew steel plates into my leather jacket
and check my watch whenever I cross the street.

It’s still funny how the past is always brought up.
The somehow, the sometimes, but not
the who and when and why. You forget what
a curious creature looks like; we find a habit,
healthy or not and cling like hell as if
it won’t be back with the sunrise tomorrow.

What I’m getting at other than
to tell you to knock it off is that
you never know what you get
when catching the cat’s tongue.
There’s something to be said for caught
versus loose and what that does for ambiguity.

I’m still baffled by the looks we give
as if we could never reach the other,
two feet apart, almost bigger than
the waves, bigger than the tide pools
left in my eyes.

Life has taught us plenty,
enough standing still.

-It sure has,
and I say that with what little sarcasm
as the good Lord provides me with.

-I don’t find humor in everything anymore.
When I laugh it’s either because it was funny
a few hundred times before,
or it’s some kind of terrible I haven’t run into before.

-You could say that more and more now,
I’m holding onto my best. I assume without question
that the grand finale is coming up soon,
and that it might just have the capacity to last two years.

-If not five.

**********
Unrepentant Cigarette Enthusiasts (w/ Meghan Helmich)
By Gabriel Ricard

-I borrow the best music in town,
steal inspiration from shelved classics,
give strange women directions to my friend’s house
and ask everyone to love me unconditionally.

-Asking you for some company
tomorrow afternoon
should be the easiest thing I’ve done all week.

-I could be wrong.
You could be even meaner than I am.

The meanest thing about me?
I fancy myself somewhere between
a spitting vixen and a cautious redhead
with nothing to lose but patience.

And for the record, I’ve been waiting for an invitation
since you opened your trap and baited the damn line.

You’re really not asking too much.

-I ask for a lot eventually.
Money for mean-spirited misadventure
is just the half of it. There was one time
when I borrowed the car of a decent man,
and played the most satisfying game
of Bumper-Cars in history with his garage.

-It wasn’t some effort to sell books later on.
Stress just sometimes makes people do funny things.

-Some of my friends have been around for every last bit of it.
Their patience is the last virtue on Sarasota Street,
and I regret every nice thing they’ve ever done for me.

-I’d be thrilled
if you and I could settle for a cup of coffee
and a sandwich.

We would have to take a long walk
to get to the right cafe —
the one with the Chinese dragons hovering
over the entrance.
I once met the owner’s third cousin
and I’m sure we can get some extra
fortunes for cheap.

They let the customers dip their hands in primary colors
and leave prints on the back wall
so you and I can live forever no matter what the papers tell us.

-Living forever is for hippies and 1930’s suckers.

-I’d rather we walk through Times Square
as though neither one of us
has ever been there before.

-It’s been said that the nine a.m. rush
of humanity is a world different
from what goes down at eight fifty-two.

-That kind of thing has always appealed to me,
but it’s exhausting keeping up with it alone.

Surely someone somewhere once told you
that the Big Apple was scripted for a duet?

I pay no attention to the time since my watch stopped
its shivering march. I just stare at the sun
when I need an itinerary.

Give me your hand.

We can take the subway until the track runs out,
run like fools the last five miles,
And when we arrive out of breath
you can make the sailor’s kiss look like a handshake.

-I’ve been to some of those happenings,
at the point just after those tracks disappear.

-They take beer with their morning coffee,
callously mock the living
and never really had much love or interest
in the likes of me.

-Maybe I just didn’t bring the right cohort along.

**********

Two Poems

I don’t update this nearly as often as I’d like or should, and I hold all of you completely responsible for that.

No, not really, but it’s fun to pretend, I always say.

These two poems strike me as being very different. That makes sense, considering one was written yesterday, and the other was written some four years ago. I was pleased to read the older one (“Garden of Quiet”) for the first time in as many years, and not be completely horrified by it. I think it’s a decent little bit of writing (and I think it came from a line in a Bob Dylan song, but I honestly can’t be sure), and I’d like my poetry to get back to that kind of simplicity. I think I tend to lean a little on the verbose side these days. There’s still some good writing within that, but I’m not as good at “Murdering my darlings” as I ought to be.

Restlessness may well be the spiritual death of me before the end of 2011. I’d like to be on the road, and I find myself dreaming more and more of New York. I suppose that’s because I haven’t been there since Halloween 2009.

Enjoy the poems, and be patient as I work at another movie review for that damn challenge, and as I also try to think of something different to do with this blog. I’m still working out ideas, and nothing has really grabbed me so far (I’m also incredibly lazy—It’s a miracle I accomplish anything at all)

I remain open to suggestions as always. That probably doesn’t need to be repeated over and over again. I’m just grateful people are reading this confounded thing.

**********
Canadian Films about Airports
By Gabriel Ricard

Let’s just say I cut myself shaving,
and that I fell down the stairs,
because I’m clumsy for exactly fifteen minutes
every afternoon.

She put a hand on my arm,
and that was the act of trading youth for perspective
as she asked me if I wanted to hit the last party in town.

I had cabdrivers gunning for the bones in my fingers,
so I was eager to disappear for a while,
and I didn’t give two or even three damns
for what I knew of this young lady’s reputation.

The all-star variety show
goes on a laughingstock summer hiatus.
It’s at the exact moment I realize,
that someone who came very close to being my ex-wife
slept with the three other cats in the getaway car.

Where do I meet these broads?

Don’t answer that.

Don’t answer any questions,
I might ask while looking for the city of Asian angels
through the cracks in the sidewalk.

Don’t ask any questions,
when I’m busy getting half the words right
to a song, that’s not necessarily my favorite,
but will have to do in a pinch.

I’m just stressed out.
It’s been do-or-sort-of-die,
since the day she wore that dress
to the dancehall disaster,
of what I think was either 1958 or 2009.

That doesn’t make sense,
I know,
so let’s just say smokers fear time
differently from the well-adjusted.

Give me the rest of my life
to sort everything out,
and make millions
turning in my old friends
and classic haunts.

Wait for me to come back
from that last party.
Or the kind of police station
where people like me sit quietly,
smoke noisily and read comic books
until the end of time’s version of an Elvis impersonator.

Keep me in your heart,
or just keep me from calling up old girlfriends.

I can’t drive,
and I’ll never be a handsome hero,
so I may need you to drive me to the airport.

I’ll definitely need you to hold my hand,
because I can’t handle the stress and save my money
at the same time.

**********
Garden of Quiet
By Gabriel Ricard

Some of the people
in this garden have been here
longer than the years I’ve spent,
getting old and coming back to youth,
over a hundred thousand days
of nothing but borrowed time.

I pass by them constantly.

Walking on clean grass
past the trees that bend skyward
and keep the world together
on their wisdom alone.

Fresh fruit
with nothing to do
but fall gently to the ground.

Overjoyed flowers in an eternal state
of a spring that goes on forever.

The clouds rarely complain.

They only find the need to weep
when the view can keep up.

I spend most of my time here,
looking for people I might know.

But all I’ve seen so far
are close friends and other strangers.

There are couples everywhere here.

People who know they can hold
for everything but dear life.

Some of them make love
by one of the clear-sky rivers.

Some of them in the presence
of the afternoon frozen in warm sunlight.

But there are also people,
who don’t seem to have anyone.

I see a lot of them, too.

Heartless and shapeless
Spirits stuck with waking eyes
and flesh that looks clean and content
at every hour of the only day.

Listening to whatever
or whoever is crushing the silence
of the trees with their memories.

They never talk.

They just sit there,
and wait for something to change
or someone to keep their appointment.

Destroyed
and knowing it the same way
they know no one’s listening.

I walk past them,
trying to remember
what I was doing when I came here.

Grateful and terrified
in the time it takes me to swear
there’s someone here who knows me.

And that it’s just a matter
of finding them before I get tired.

Two Poems

The great plan/dream/etc is to run a short story, and I’m thinking I’ll knock that out this week, maybe run something random after that, and then get back into those damn movie challenge reviews that I’ve slowly starting to hate writing.

I’m determined to finish the damn thing though. The only upshot of being obsessive (besides the chain-smoking) is that I usually finish projects I’ve started. This is true of much of my life, but it’s at least a positive with writing and acting.

These are the last two poems I’ve written. I have around 2000 in the vaults. Of those there’s probably fifty or sixty making the rounds to literary journals and the like. The challenge is always trying to figure out what to send. There’s a bunch of stuff that will probably never see the light of day, because I’m too lazy to go through the entire folder (collecting every poem I’ve written from about 2002 to the present), so I’m always wondering if there’s some magic poem in the folder that wouldn’t turn it all around for me. Bring along that fame and fortune that will finally bring me that, what’s the word, happiness I’ve been hearing other people talk about.

I also don’t like focusing on poetry too much. I’m usually trying to push the short stories, novels and scripts a lot more.

A note on the tags: It’s not that I think my work is as good as these writers. I’m just listing influences. Writers, musicians and even films that have strongly influenced every aspect of my writing (and sometimes even with the acting). I’m also hoping the tags will help more people find this blog. An audience isn’t essential, but it’s nice to know sometimes that people are digging what you’re up to.

**********

And A Chest to Pin It On
By Gabriel Ricard

My life hasn’t been just weird dinner parties
that turn violent in the backseat.
Just before the million-car pileup and leaving the emergency room
in a fury of hooks and shouting,
because I’d rather leave like that than quietly and alone.

Tuesdays are a bat out of a barnyard Heaven.
You know what I mean?

They’re worse than Fridays,
and how the train station is only everywhere
from four a.m. to nine p.m.

My life is more than hoping, praying
for a time to come soon when I’m again unfamiliar
with my surroundings
for five thousand miles in every direction.

It’s not just taking Adderall and ordering off-the-menu
Irish Coffee at IHOP,
because I’m not interested in the wild stuff anymore.

I have a very good reason
for not speaking to one of my brothers anymore.

I’m better than all of that,
and it shouldn’t work against me
that all of the witnesses have mysteriously disappeared
over the years.

Some good stuff has happened, too.
I’m selfish, but I could never commit
to being habitual about it. Sociopaths
get even less vacation time than I do.

There was even one time
when I kept someone alive
for at least five more hours.

It’s not that I’m trying to be carried out of the room by starlets.
I’d just like to be able to even the score while there’s still time.

She was ripping her hair out,
twisting the legs off the dolls in the baby’s room
and screaming
into a broken smartphone.

I stumbled through the crowd,
made it to her with seconds to spare
and whispered something in her ear.

Can’t remember what is was now,
but it worked well enough. She calmed down,
apologized for not getting being better
at getting attention, and we spent most of the night
and morning talking.

Don’t remember the details of that either,
but she was in good atheist spirits
when I put her in a cab and told the driver
not to stop until they got to Knoxville.

That just seemed like the right distance
away from this town.

Most of us wouldn’t dream
of making travel plans so ambitious
even if we were deathly homesick.

I have no idea what happened to her after that,
but I was able to keep her going for those five hours,
and that’s something better than whatever comes before nothing.

Pride isn’t something I’m fond of anymore.
I think it’s just nice to be needed
once in a while.

**********
Monkeys Forgive My Sins
By Gabriel Ricard

It had only been a couple of hours,
but I had a really good feeling
about her. The energy was something
special, kiddo.

The streetlights became a thunderstorm of fire.
The sun knew when to take a third-round dive.
The news channels took their technical difficulties to heart.

I could even smoke
if I opened a window
and didn’t say anything to hurt the mailman’s feelings.

She could do impressions
and always kept the room at sixty-five degrees.

I was in love, you know?
I was doing well, considering I had only been awake
for a couple of years at that point.

My expectations for adventure when I’m breaking
into the gas station for cigarettes and cough syrup
are not spectacular. I’m usually happy
to just get what I need from life and get home
before the heat wave meets the blizzard,
and all of it splits the sky’s back like three anorexic twigs.

I didn’t expect to run into someone like her,
and I didn’t know you could live in this part of town
without sweating it out in the minor-league rehabs first.

Her legs were fantastic and not in the least dangerous.
I’m still willing to say that.

An hour to feel comfortable around her
then another hour to fall head over heels
and shake off the concussion almost immediately.

It took a lot less time to nod slowly,
kiss her throat, excuse myself to the bathroom
and never, ever come back.

Maybe I’m prejudiced.

I could have loaned her my grandmother’s ring
and hung in there for twenty more years,
just to be sure.

Panic is the only consistent justice I believe in.
It set when she told me that for an extra five hundred,
she would nail my hands to the desk and paint my portrait.

I used to have an open mind.
I’m a champion Hide and Seek player
with the Civil War ghosts at second-to-last old high school.

It may well go down in history as a real shame.
I ducked out of there, stole a cab from an old woman
and stashed myself and my good fortunes
at a grocery store that’s been renovating since 1948.

No one needed to tell me I was a fool.
I drank warm beer in the aisles and wrote dirty limericks
on the linoleum floor. I knew it was going to be a long
damn time before I ever fell in love again.

And I was right.
Forty-five minutes went by,
until I finally noticed the girl
at the thirty-aspirations-or-less counter
screaming in Chinese
and threatening everyone in her line with a shotgun.

She had kind eyes.
I was thinking about this,
as I scribbled my number
on the back of an old bus ticket
and confidently made my way towards her.