“I need to tell at least one lie every day.” A poem after an empty page.
I try to write a poem about three word philosophies scrawled all over
the bathroom in a coffee shop on the Bowery. A drawing of bear tits,
low-hanging, caption reading, “WHY GO TO WAR WITH IRAQ WHEN
YOU CAN HAVE A WHORE WITH A RACK?”
My page remains empty.
I saw a boy with a tattoo of California behind his ear. He was born in Tenafly,
but when people ask about his ink he tells them he was conceived in a poorly
lit room in Chateau Marmont. He writes personal essays about fucking girls
with Spanish last names in the Mojave, but really he hates the sand.
There’s a mango lady on almost every corner of 14th Street between Ninth
and Third Avenues today. They are so small, and I love watching them
cut the slices with little cinnamon fingers. Their hands remind me of my
grandmother’s, but I don’t want to add to the collection of Beautiful Brown
People stories that people are always weaving. So I guard the memory of her
swift hands in my anthology of fragmented images that bleed into each other
with time, rolls of film that melt in sunlight.
My daily delusions have led to me to believe that I am either a premature
failure or that I am the next great luminary. Today it is a bit of both. I think
of Marilyn and how beautiful she remained when she was sad. And she could
tell me why we want to fall in love with people who are always aching to
create beautiful things but constantly destroying them.
I need to tell at least one lie every day. I have this story that you don’t wash
your sheets because you want to pretend I’m still there.
(But of course, I know you have, because for you everything is clean and there
is not one stray strand of hair or mascara stain on the pillowcase that you
cannot transform: clean linen).
I always notice that the beautiful people aren’t really beautiful, or some stupid
pseudo-profundity like that. This time it happens to be in a grimy apartment
in Alphabet City. I drink too much and sit on the floor, watching their
mouths move in horrible shapes like they were carved into their faces
with butter knives, and it’s like I am watching a silent film where the only true
thing is the strand of Christmas lights that keeps flickering.