Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Jonathan Penton

Wilson told…

me yesterday
that you can't teach
He's a sweetheart, but in telling me
that Justin, as an
editor and promoter,
is not a real artist,
he in
advertently said the same
of me.
Although more accomplished,
Wilson is younger than I.
I find it hard to listen
to the wisdom of the young.
After all, I know so little.
Today, I read Michael's words.
He, too, says you can't teach poetry.
Yet Siddhartha learned
listening from
a river.
I am done with poets.
They have taught me nothing,
as they told me to expect.
I will ask the mountains
for wisdom.
If they know nothing,
at least I will
find a pretty place
to die.

I'm sorry, what ?

You are upset because I haven't asked what?
You want me to ask you how you're doing?
For the past two months, I have survived
off the odor of your breath.
I have sated my hunger by knowing you
were next to me in bed.
I have dreamed your terror, over and over again,
trapped in your frail woman's body
under a man's hot hands
and somehowyou seem to feel
you aren't getting an adequate supply of my attention.
Maybe it's time I started doing more of the talking
because frankly
I don't ask questions when I already know the answer

I could describe for you

the way the Miami sun's heat
splays across my right cheek,
inching down my throat,
by some trick of particles and rays,
simultaneously tickling the left side
of my belly.
Or I could go inside and have a good cry.
I don't think you're really listening anyway.

Virginia Woolf

walked into the river
with her pockets full of rocks

used a shotgun over breakfast

and you know all about it,
don't you,
you smug little well-read bastard?
Famous people doing
crazy things
just to keep you entertained

They said they killed themselves
to keep from going crazy
Oh, the irony
it gives your sophomoric mind
something to puzzle over
with a beer in one
hand home-brewed absinthe in the other

Until you find yourself,
at dawn,
in the same spot you occupied at midnight
with each
of the
relief to come

And that moment
when you realize
the bad moments
outnumber the good

The End

Not that it matters.
At some point,
either in this life or the next,
I have to decide that I no longer find
the stupidity of others
A poet's lifestyle is not viable
and I learned long ago
that suicide is not an escape

*all poems previously published in East Village Poetry except Virginia Woolf
Published in Unlikely Stories 2002

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