Playing King

I’m having trouble finding where to start.

I find myself late in moments. Dizzy in a hue of spurting stanzas, babbling syllables.

Friends talk about art and community and it makes sense. There is a hook and taste.

No reel or bait.

I pour one more.

Breathe easier, nobody asks any questions anyway.

 

I think about mimicry and copying. I read other peoples words, think about where they were, how they were,

Were they on the beach? Were they drinking coffee and looking out a window like mine?  Were they cold anxious on bus lines, with shit show posture and a lazy gait?

Tennyson must’ve hated himself and struggled like this, even mystics have off days. 

 John was a loon, he wanted Henry to live so much he walked off a bridge.

But, I can’t see Joanna tearing out her hair over a verse.

She must’ve wrote it all in one sitting, knew the words as soon as the music drifted in.

 

They say universal themes are something we can always come back to; but sometimes I feel it is something we’re running towards,

Away from the tougher ideas, the myths, the prose, the cancers, the death, the fleeting ambiguity, the crunch of bones and tissue, sweat. Those things we run away from,

end up being what we run towards,

and everything has this symmetry,

that wrong is right,

because it was the wrong we were one to perform.

Thus all ideas have become things,

And we restore, repeat, mimic,

And immortalize in dust against a fingertip.

 

I pour another. Someone else will pour another tonight.

These daily interactions are like a silent sister, they will never meet the blind light of day.

Lost on a mountain, away from taxes, schedules and health care.

Art is performed in boxes.

I’m the same.

I lock myself in my box and work.  

But nobody is watching.

 

Tonight, there are stars hidden beneath the clouds, and there is a man singing on the corner.

His knees are taut and he swings back and forth like he should, closing his eyes when he hits the right note.

All his buttons are buttoned. His shirts tucked in. It’s past midnight. Whos this guy kidding?

There’s a crumpled dollar bill and some nickels lying in his case.  The sage leans in after his song and asks him,

“Do you know Sam Doores?”

“Why he’s been a good friend for three years.”

He swears and the car doors thump close. 

 

On good days, it’ll bite our hands, even when we aren’t trying to shake it.

We sing to ancient footprints on the sand to return to us, to tell us the form, to tell us how.

We sing to the callouses on our hands,

They beg us “Just one more time.”

When there’s work to be done, the beginnings don’t stray.

They are constant like a watermark, they never descend or change.

They find themselves where the middle and the end meet their place.

And the birds watch us, away at their perch.

We are their theater.

 

Henry, the other Henry, begged us, to speak for those who cannot speak.

Those mute to the rhythym of the spirits.

So I speak.

I say beginnings know nothing of death, truth and beauty.

They lay upon mountaintops,

Thinking ahead of their place.

We are one, we are the same, we have become things.

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