“The drunkenness of great fear…”
The girl in the next room is why i write,
but she cannot know I’m here. Always
listening at the membrane for her
acoustical return–door slam, air space, spigot.
I imagine a design on my eardrum
to match the design of the wallpaper.
The sound of her turning on
the bedside lamp, like crickets
lost inside a dark trim lawn.
Once when I suddenly felt sure she was
bending there at her endtable writing a poem
about me, I panicked for a minute
Before reason returned alone to its
own rented room.
If I go outside to eat
they’ll lock me out
and sell my clothes.
Some days the drink I am drinking seems too weak,
but it means I can stay like this virtually forever.
She never answers the phone. I never call.
I can make love in this position virtually forever.
about suppertime I play a tape to make it sound
like a family on this side reuniting
after its members’ various days.
When I know she’s in, I try to use the water
about as much as an LA family of 2.8 would.
But because she grew up in Portland
my demographics are probably off.
Her tv must be (a) bust, or (b)
she much prefers to watch with the sound down.
Twice a week, there is the lingering scent
of Chinese take-out. Marihuana not for a long time.
If I’m watching a sitcom
I’ll cue my tape of the three voices
laughing their appropriate ages, gender, and dispositions;
if it’s a drama night, I play full-blast thirty minutes of Silent Longing.
One particularly bad night, when I needed to call her
or knock on her blue door or knock it in,
(d. All of the above are true.),
I found Emerson translating the Vita Nuova:
“Whatever in the mind hinders dies
When I come to behold you, o beautiful joy,
And when I am near you, I hear Love
Who says, Fly, if you are loath to die…
And through the drunkenness of great fear
The stones seem to cry, Die, die…”
–Which makes no sense to me today The
Stones are still playing Sympathy for the Devil
somewhere inside the bowl of Southern California.
Ageless drum slam, air space, spigot.
I mark my days in this captivity like
so many hyphens in the old headline,
DUMB ASSED DOUBLE BARRELED SHOT GUN TURNED ON
MIDDLE AGED PUNCH DRUNK MAN HELD IN CASE
BY GIRL NEXT DOOR AND HER CLEAN CUT.
Whereas drinking in the morning is worse than drinking
alone is much worse than not drinking at all.
I mean, if I am the soft underbelly,
then she is swallowed alive n its fat gut.
I mean everybody’s dead but us.
I’ve got no one any longer
to get back to.
from Three Sleeps: A Historomance, by Richard Blevins, Igneus Press, Bedford, NH, 1992, p. 116-117