Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Poem: Tim J Brennan

Not Far From Virginia Beach

Part i - Night Folks

Buddy lives here, stoned
& flaccid, near the buried
clams for which people search

he took a tranquilizer (twice
and sat in his chair, the only
piece of furniture to move
for thirteen hours (he told me

night folks came to him last
night to pilfer his possessions

last night he was awake all night
until the sun rescued his (paranoia

from another night not unlike last night
when the night folks came (or so he said

this all occurred while the spiders hung
from his glass chandelier like strange thoughts
and possums celebrated living (in his walls

Buddy tells me he sometimes talks to them
like brothers he never had, not one picture
is in the house like no one (has lived there

except Buddy and his short term memory

Part ii - A Perfect Color

a person lived here once

i see him in a picture from 1968:
wild hair, arms flailing in air

i read his third grade report card:
“Buddy is regressing”

i hand it to him, ask if he wants
to keep it,
his mother must have kept it to prove
she had a son once

his eyes say "yes"
though his mouth says “pitch it”
along with his stepfather’s WWII burial flag

i place the report card on the table next
to his cigarettes, the twice filled ashtray
and a yellow bag of peanut M & M’s

there are two empty tuna cans
this morning when i return,
they weren’t there yesterday,
the bag of food i left is full

his mother’s name was Polly
she rose and died in 1989, no mention
of where she’s buried
for all i know
she might still be in the walls

i threw out his leather coat yesterday, spiders
were living in the pockets, enjoying themselves
in his leather pockets

Buddy tells me he is fucking mad
about the coat, tells me the .38 revolver
in the pocket is now gone
and what is he going to do
when strangers come in the night
for his bones

i tell Buddy about the spiders, how they lived
in his leather coat pockets
Buddy says to hell
with you, "I’m gunless now"

i tell myself i will keep trying:
i leave another sandwich, a bag of yellow
cellophane potato chips

the next morning a possum is in Buddy’s closet,
trying to live

i throw the possum out, he of skinny tail,
by the tail, its red eyes screaming at me
with hate

i throw out the rest of Buddy’s things:
glassware, tax returns from 1983, screwdrivers,
a jar of mayonnaise

everything goes into the dumpster, sitting like
a tar pit in his driveway,
everything Buddy has ever known
will soon be sealed within its pitch:

toxic, highly-flammable,

a perfect color

Part iii - Living Ugly

no mail is delivered in the four days
i am there

no phone calls
no hot water, no ice is in the house,
all the windows are covered in spider

Buddy pleads for his Lazy Boy,
like his life, to be placed
in the emptied space
of his living room

for a day and a half
i wash his glassware in the street,
the only things of real value
Buddy owns,
watching neighbors come and go
like October moths
banging into cold night
porch lights

at the core
there’s something to be said
for living ugly,
for even a dried vine will hold on
to its grapes

ask anyone who finally finishes
with a task he never really wanted
to do in the first place

~ Tim J Brennan lives in southeastern Minnesota. His poetry has appeared in many nice places. His first chapbook "Fifty White Stones" is available through him or at Pudding House Press.

No comments: