Thursday, May 1, 2008

jack's book (FUN BEING ME)

I found Jack's book waiting for me on the doorstep yesterday. Words fail me as I try to talk about it and of course this means that it is what I hoped it would be, which is a type of communion, like all good art is. A way of being deeply touched and involved, pulled in to the heart of things. My tolerance for the ring of falseness is at an all-time low these days. My sense of urgency to live hard is driving me to embrace things like Andy Warhol's image of someone diving off a building, mangled in a car crash, Jack's poems. To be able to see the beauty of all of this without turning away. I don't mean to be one of those rubber-neckers who can't resist a look as they drive by. I mean, to not be afraid to be in the middle of it all.  To lean into it, rest within it.  We madly seek ways to avoid discomfort when it is the stuff of life, what moves us forward and makes us real.  We drink and shop and visit the therapist and try to assure ourselves that all the bad stuff will go away. Artists stick it back in our faces.

Pema Chodron tells us a story about her childhood friend who was being chased by monsters every night in a recurring dream.  Pema asked her what the monsters looked like. Her friend responded that she didn't know-she was too busy running to see them. So, the next night, she did turn around, and what she saw was not the terrifying visage she imagined, but flat, inchoate, almost cartoonlike images, silly, almost.  She never had the dream again.  

Here is that poem I told you about from his blog. One last poem for poetry month.


Last night there was an imp in my bed.
Well, not really an imp;
a small demon, I guess.
I woke up and must have frightened it
because it scurried off to hide in the shadows.
But I saw it,
The coor of a young roach.
Then it was gone.

There was a time such things were with me daily.
Demons and imps and shrouded ghouls.
Lingering by my bedside as I lay sleeping,
dreaming horrible dreams of a good life.
A life where I had a job and friends and ate food
in restaurants.
A life filled with nice clothing and cars.
People who laughed at my jokes and forgave my foibles.
The demons watched me twitch in sleep and giggled
at my travails.

I was very sick for a time.
I came so close to death that it seemed almost like I was dead.
I spent much too much time with demons and angels.
I ate too little and slept too little and sweated through the night.
I woke each morning drenched from my dreams.

I haven't been sick for years.
Not like that anyway.
Oh, a flu now and then or a sore throat,
but that's been it.
Til the imp leaped up
and licked my face.

Perhaps they never left.
Perhaps I'm still desperately ill.
This is the dream I dream.
My car, my dogs, my new suits, my beloved.
All just fodder for their little jokes.
There should be an insecticide for demons and imps.
There should be some kind of poison I could set out
for them to find and eat.
It might be unpleasant to find their swollen little bodies but
except for a day or two of stink it would be better to have them gone.

But it seems to me that there is no poison that they wouldn't love.
No death they couldn't cherish.
No desire or whim that wouldn't amuse them.
Dreams and imps.
Poisons and wishes.
All things to think about as we kneel at the foot of the bed
to say our little prayers.

thanks, jack.

1 comment:

organicsyes said...

I know an imp like this one...sometimes I still worry when getting up in the night...he is quieter now, and does not laugh as often.

Perhaps facing him takes away the terror of keeping my back to him...