(ballad of a traveling salesman)
“after a few laps
we find ourselves wondering
why we race at all”
– anonymous, for Chris
#1 (Mother’s Day)
god, what was the name of that girl
I brought back to the office last night
I guess these sunglasses are mine to keep then
useless today but essential nonetheless
a traveling salesman artificially awake
a town I’ve never seen the rain an added effect
futile attempt supermarket bouquet in disarray
umbrella gone awry shivering & seated
in a church where they served me
good black decaf from the rectory
and the music they played upstairs
was loud and fast
a kind stranger said he’d wake me before
the train arrived and I believed him
a luxury though sleep
sandwiched between two
one singing Spanish hymns
the other spitting cherry pits into her palm
the elements delay commuters
distressing headlines serve as my protector
politically ambient yet I feel
lost in the weeds so to speak
instead sketching out the failed itineraries
of the vaguest days & editing irrational loves
for my submission to be the writer-in-residence
of the fast food district where
here at Wendy’s the chili
is still warm and benevolent
and when did they get hip to the stylings of Nick Lowe and New Order
while everyone I know is busy resisting themselves
to dust on feeds for all to see
ambivalent apparatus I still hate to even have
my picture taken I get that from my mother
among other things
her life lived offline
she may never see this
but she should know that
I do miss her cooking
when the rains fall hardest
#2 (Despicable me)
“You are now listening to Whole Foods Radio.”
“I can’t dance. I can’t talk.”
Would you like to try?
To live & die by the organic olive bar,
distributing all-natural sugar-free release.
We sample & sample, but are reluctant to buy.
Mindless motions & scripted answers,
Yes, you can really taste the apples.
free to craft sinister thoughts targeting nameless cashiers, soundtracked by the hits of late nite infomercials.
-Huh? Who said that?-
Rattled & rattling, the train towards home,
fixated on a small child speaking more
of I guess Chinese(?)
at the age of 4 than I will ever know.
-What is going on here?-
Resentful, I want to punch the Hasidic man
seated across from me.
WAIT! Hear me out.
Let’s not jump to conclusions here.
You really should’ve seen this guy’s wife.
-Stop it, whoever you are!-
Stumbling through to my transfer, the angle of
my trajectory shows what looks to be
a set of conjoined twins singing R&B.
Some strange excitement envelops me.
Imagine the disappointment
washing over me to see
that they merely bought the same
ill colored sweater for this stupid act. Bitches.
-Please. I’m asking nicely.-
Home at last,
a bedsheet hung shoddily on the wall.
scribbled Sharpie crossed-out, circled, starred.
The karaoke host calls for me by tonight’s name.
Sleepwalk through Margaritaville
(or something like that),
better to focus on the task at hand:
What is the most effective way
to throw myself through
that window and walk away
a transformed man,
the exorcism complete.
#3 ($1 Long Island Iced Teas, all month long at Applebees!)
“While performing the duties of this job, the associate is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; and talk or hear.”
the rain waited up for me,
& knew my train schedule home.
Shelter found in hell’s half acre.
Cash in your passion for the irony
of suburban discount cocktails
& reading closed captioning.
Failing at policing myself,
leave a 20 unknowingly
if only to catch my train,
demonstration gear in hand.
Only after my ticket punched
did I notice, my lazy nervous
each gaze surrounding me set to screens.
I knew then, it to be, I wasn’t alone
on that sinking ship.
Naked, save our devices.
(supplemental readings upon request)
Binging on the grisly details
of small town murders and Top Chef.
Freshly posted baby pics in blur,
Proximity-based dating apps
on speeding trains,
all the more reason
to revisit towns passed by.
3.5 miles away
“I wish to be the cornerstone for a cowboy and guard love from harm with him.
Must love curves.”
Distance is seen through rate and time
but never forget to account for
the variable: who’s doing the measuring.
Judging profiles, it struck me, looking around,
that I simply cannot comprehend
the magnitude of complexities
in the human form.
More of you there where here I have less.
How do you do that with your tongue,
that “r” thing?
And so on,
reductio ad absurdum.
Set down your romance novel and ask yourself:
have you ever entertained the idea of
the Pope donning Levi’s,
or, say, Bob Dylan taking a shower?
Give it a shot, if only to distract yourself.
Sunset cuts through the manhattan mountains
Swipe right or left?
I looked again at a binary question
I hadn’t considered in so long.
Don’t you know, babe,
I’ve got a special notification set up
#4 (5′ 1″)
it’s not her fault really
throwing out the toothbrush left behind
she speaks I think it’s russian
comes by once a month
how could she have known
i need to get some air
sidewalk closed use pedestrian walkway
feeling stuck like birds in grand central
overslept if at all
waking up in shoes I didn’t leave wearing
front door ajar keys tbd
suburban bound new haven line
dim the screen swiping through
forensics they’ve estimated
the height of christ and I’m sure we all
look at ourselves how does one
process something like that
it appears i tried to pay someone last night
via venmo for tHe waay we uss ed to be
weekly scan google my name + obituary
no relevant results
try it for yourself
curious there were four for hers
that’s a new way of looking at this
none of them were her of course
there’s still a possibility anything could happen
a delusion carried with me like the toothbrush
in my luggage fished from the trash
google search dental practices old judea
next stop mamaroneck.
|I Really Hate you Christopher..|