Thursday, August 8, 2019

[Our sociopath]


I remember Kitty saying we shared a deep longing for
the consolation prize, laughing as we rinsed the stagecoach.
I remember the night we camped out
and I heard her whisper
“think of me as a place” from her sleeping bag
with the centaur print.
I remember being in her father’s basement workshop
when we picked up an unknown man sobbing over the shortwave radio
and the night we got so high we convinced ourselves
that the road was a hologram projected by the headlight beams.
I remember how she would always get everyone to vote
on what we should do next and the time she said
“all water is classic water” and shyly turned her face away.
At volleyball games her parents sat in the bleachers
like ambassadors from Indiana in all their midwestern schmaltz.
She was destroyed when they were busted for operating
a private judicial system within U.S. borders.
Sometimes I’m awakened in the middle of the night
by the clatter of a room service cart and I think back on Kitty.
Those summer evenings by the government lake,
talking about the paradox of multiple Santas
or how it felt to have your heart broken.
I still get a hollow feeling on Labor Day when the summer ends
and I remember how I would always refer to her boyfriends
as what’s-his-face, which was wrong of me and I’d like
to apologize to those guys right now, wherever they are:
No one deserves to be called what’s-his-face.
  • I've never met Berman's poetry, I'm intrigued
  • at 20:15 EDT @thebafflermag tweets

  • I had never heard of David Berman (or had forgot, look at *your* yearbooks) until 26 minutes ago this sentence typed and dug, dug, first poem I read, 20:15 tweet, I...
  • I'm pagan for Serendipity
  • (I confess, I did not make the Silver Jews connection either, it's not I was born without Silver Jews gene, I just never got snagged when hearing them)
  • I pushed back work arrival because things I can't talk about, this is true: Monday Tuesday Wednesday this week driving to Hilltop at northwest corner Metrobus stop at Wisconsin & Mass a ghost not only a ghost but a ghost who saw *me* Wednesday
  • not Serendipity but Figures, the feral metaphor

[Our sociopath]
Pjoepf of Vriecyh


  1. Our sociopath
    overlords weigh my every
    neigh variable
    algorithms bot
    universal ping for fart
    this poem dispensed hence

  2. since tate blurbed berman the "government lake" link seems likely

    when i thought of a government lake my own association was to quabbin reservoir, memorialized in jane yolen's letting swift river go

    berman's "no one deserves to be called what's-his-face" reminded me of a time 30 years ago i encountered in a professional context the long-time boyfriend of a young woman i was attracted to - we both were aware of our potential rivalry - i had hoped he was a jerk - in practice he was not a jerk

    i could not separate her from him, despite quoting paracelsus to her - i had read it in something by erich fromm - about how some things ripen early in the year, like strawberries, and others much later, like grapes - there was a considerable gap in our ages

    just as well - she married him, later divorced him, later married someone else - she and her second husband were registered as owners of a corporation in their state with a name extremely similar to an energy extractive corporation operating in other states - i hypothesized they had done this with the goal of selling the name to the real firm if it wanted to set up operations in their state - i thought this clever but slightly underhanded - but hey, this is the future - you got to live it, or live with it, or get out of the way

    and speaking of the future, and the past - in preparation for my hoped-for return to the old country i have only visited, not lived in, i was looking for relevant documents among my late father's stuff, and came across my grandmother's high school diploma - from a school in the u.s. - her given name there had an "e" at the end i had never seen before - at that time, a century ago, in many ways boston was the de facto economic and cultural capital of the maritime provinces

    missus charley has not yet unequivocally endorsed my vision of our future in this new location - she repeatedly urges me not to overidealize this foreign country - i am keeping my feet on the ground by reading about the complexities of obtaining various visa statuses, permanent residency, permission to work, required days to be spent in-country, how a person cannot leave the country while an application is being processed [say this word with a long "oh" - although privacy is pronounced there as we do it here]

    and speaking of our sociopathic overlords - i described a 2010 experience of mine at

    i sent this text to my north-of-the-border cousins recently, and one replied "how clairvoyant and honest you were in the piece you wrote so many years ago" - nice words, but overstated, of course - it is not clairvoyance to see what is rubbed into your face

    may the creative forces of the universe smile in the general direction of the continent of north america and all its present inhabitants, no matter their race, creed, color, national origin, mother tongue, socioeconomic status, gender identification and preference, if any, and even their degree of wokeness

  3. speaking of government lakes

    speaking of poets one hasn't met yet -

    Bear River author Shalan Joudry's Generations Re-merging is a collection of poems exploring cultural issues encountered by Mi'qmaq women in a modern context.

    Mourning song

    i arrived empty-handed
    at the door of my brethren
    having failed the foresight of service
    offering then only the peaceful nature
    of ordinary things
    like sadness

    i imagined feeling pitied
    standing there looking in
    elephantly out of place
    and yet i held my space
    there among my sisters
    i sat stiff and hip-joined
    merging with their mourning songs
    that precede death

    i obey this kind of power
    not because they are wise
    but because they are holy

    when it was my turn to lead
    my voice faltered
    abandoned me
    so that there were only the drums
    for a whole verse
    we let the beats resound in the room
    the vacancy of chant like a failing body
    the song beating against the walls
    of such a structured place
    wanting free
    like spirit
    on its way out