Monthly Archives: December 2013

For a Second I Thought I Was Mahler

DLK as Mahler

Stepping back in the room, I caught myself 
Frozen
Like a cat burglar who had lost his cool
And for a second I thought I was Mahler —
Perhaps it was my high forehead
And my reversed sloped hair
As if my roots were growing out of the crown of my head and up backwards
Towards the sun (or the Aliens who had neglected me)
I was disappointed to not have looked like Prince
But maybe that’s the price you pay
For living past the age you wanted to die at
I thought I knew that profile anywhere, having seen it stretched across the banner of an old friend’s door 
He was a classical musician
and loved all things sad
 
He would play Elgar on a piano
and insist that it sounded better without an orchestra,
We traded stories of madness and caught each other once again
years later when we both did our stint at Paine Whitney
Our vitals were low, we were anemic, we were angry, we were young
 
And once when I stepped into the sun, my wife cried
And when I asked her why
She said I reminded her of something she had forgotten about in her heart
And while I was hoping it might have been Prince or some rock ‘n roll revolt 
That jarred her memory —
It was the moving shadow around my head, landing into the new apartment we
had just rented —
 
And I cursed myself as I heard our new neighbor jerking off his new leaf blower 
in a coarse Sunset Park afternoon up on the highest hill of Brooklyn where some 
Rich and poor are now living closer and closer —
 
I heard the faint notes of a symphony spilling out of a broken heart. 

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Unseen Portrait

I realized this morning that I could never have met Mandela after he had been released from jail
Because I was not famous

Just another brown face trying to carve out my legacy amidst rejection letters, poorly written poems, and richly dreamt dreams that try to reconcile all of the sins
of irresponsible men in waiting rooms
and the eulogies for all tomorrow’s children
who, further removed from the gray heaven of blood and electric typewriters,
have come to accept a world where folk heroes are not born
but made
by a media conglomerate
who had no interest in freedom or humanity in the first place

I accept tonight that I will never meet the Dalai Lama,
I am not powerful enough
In fact, I am quite weak –
Too weak

And, as some bird in the twilight corner of the sky knows,
The way my sore teeth concede:
A raw nerve never gets a break
It only gets
removed

*

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