an oldie but a "goodie"
in another one of your poems
i was in the midst of ruining
the thanksgiving holiday.
i’d been drinking wine
since seven-thirty in the morning
and for a week now
i’d been mad at the world
for any number of reasons
that i usually had for being
mad at the world.
just two days ago i’d threatened
to throw a plate of ravioli against a wall,
and had slammed down a jar
of romano cheese on her finger
all over a slice of italian bread
that was too big for my plate.
i didn’t know what was happening
except to say that i simply felt dead
and buried, and needed to get something
impossible out of my soul.
but anyway we tried to have the holiday
even though i was kind of drunk and belligerent
and i was tired of holidays and people.
and i started in on the food, which was good,
but made me mad because everyone
else was probably eating the same goddamned thing
and how we all had no originality.
i kept picturing hundreds of ugly faces
at hundreds of ugly tables
their lips greasy, their jowls moving succinctly
over food and bad conversation.
and she said that we were out of paper towels
which made me angrier
because we just couldn’t seem to keep paper towels
in the apartment as of late
(a trivial matter, unless you’ve lived through it)
so she got us toilet paper, toilet paper
and i thought, christ, this is nice,
thanksgiving and toilet paper,
so i started in on her about
what happened to the paper towels
because i’d just opened a roll that morning
to clean up turkey juice and cat vomit
and she said she didn’t know
which turned into a big, drunken argument
her absent-mindedness, which i knew
and it did.
her eyes filled with tears
and she said, i don’t know why
you are doing this?
it’s thanksgiving day and we’re off
and we’re together.
it doesn’t have to be like this
there’s no drama, there’s no one else,
there isn’t anything wrong that you
can go ahead and put
in another one of your poems
and that stung me,
as if i used my life solely for fodder
and i said, baby, don’t say that,
jesus, i’m sorry.
and the two of us sat there with
thanksgiving on the table and a fine
bottle of red between us,
almost crying over nothing,
until we calmed down.
and here it is now, anyway, a week later,
that moment finally in a poem,
because essentially i am a whore.
i’ve mined my life so much that i can’t
have a natural moment without
the backwash of “art”
even though i try like hell to squeeze them out.
this is no excuse.
but you have to understand,
if i don’t exercise this shit some way, somehow
i’ll lay in bed awake all night
going slowly mad and dreaming suicide
while you lay beside me
thinking everything is fine
and the next time we have ravioli
on a tuesday night
i’ll make sure that plate hits the wall
with effortless grace,
or i’ll try like hell to choke myself
on a piece of pasta
and a cup of lukewarm tomato sauce
and neither of us will understand why. 12.03.08