Bus to Big Band Barn
Boom, he says. Boom and snap and twiddle and pop and digida, digida, find a pillow, find a pot top, find a table top and a couple of spoons, spatulas, sticks, feet, palms, wicker broom looking apparatus with soft sound. Boom.
A smack and a dab and a smooch through the spotted windows and you eat the stuffing pouring out of the seats like cheese. Beat beat slap bump and crackle into the refrain when you finally get to breathe. You finally get to look out into the sea of faces and understand why you’re here with your twiddle and your pop and your digida digida smile and clap and the way your sweat pools on the floor.
The sense of community is attractive. Anonymous community. The idea that there are other people in the world doing the same thing as you at exactly the same time, enjoying the way their minds wander, waiting for the exact moment on the clock that would signal the coming together of slackers, the beautiful, burgeoning friendships of complete strangers. You have never met them and you probably never will, but they are your friends for sixty seconds each afternoon, and for sixty seconds each morning.
Of course, time zones enter the equation and all of a sudden it becomes complicated. It’s not. At the same time, every day, we all do the same thing. We all watch for the moment and lament our positions in life when we are not in positions to partake in that moment. We notice the number on license plates, in home addresses, in phone numbers. We ask, “Did you do that on purpose?”
We’re like guys on motorcycles who wave to each other, women wearing Manolo Blaniks that make eye contact on the street, the pitcher and the catcher the first time two teams meet, the first day of kindergarten, smiling at a kid who’s also wearing a Voltron shirt. The shame is only in the unwilling and remote acceptance of the rest of the tired world.
We Could Hang Out
I could be a member of the round table. The Algonquin Round Table. I would drink and smoke and be sure of my poems. Dorothy Parker would sit next to me and I would talk to her as if she were my friend because she would be my friend because I would be a member of the round table. A part of a circle. A corner of a circle. An inch of a circle. A half radius. A line of wonder and hate. Circle.
I could sit in front of Poe’s grave. I would drive to Baltimore on a Tuesday afternoon in October with everyone else going North to see the witches in Salem and the dark dungeons where they screamed for justice, and I would sit in front of that Baltimore grave and ask Poe for some poetry, for his muse to make itself known, to make my students not want to write about him any more at all but rather the way he rhymed, perfectly, like skeletons crackling to bad dance music and fright.
I could wrangle up gas money and make my way to Wyoming and hang out with Hemingway’s ghost in the summer. He would hate me and my ideals and my complete certainty that women are worth it. We would walk together and hunt grizzly bears but I would never have the nerve to kill one and of course this would prove whatever hurtful opinions he might have of women as a gender, as a whole, as a group of people who are actually just as strong as he was but a man’s man, well, a man’s man doesn’t always see the bear behind the tree.
for Frank O’Hara
It’s 11:51pm and I’m walking
on a dirt path behind a row of green
port-o-potties. My dress is dragging
on the ground and I’ve lost my change purse
somewhere. The kid on the side of the path
is holding out a filled, red balloon and there
are people laughing around him. There’s a tank
near them and I can hear it hissing. I am on
a reservation in the Everglades and the swamp
smells like alligator shit and pot. I am thinking
that I should call home before twelve, before
Y2K grips humanity with it’s superstitious claws
and my mom’s gone. There is a small bundle
of sparklers on the ground in front of me and I can hear
the band playing Bathtub Gin what seems like
miles away. There are bubbles everywhere and Rob
pops them with the sparklers. A few hours before a chick
with a Phil Lesh shirt on gave me a cat. I named her Molly
and watched her sunning herself
in the late evening kitty bake of South Florida. I am thinking
I should try to find a coffee tent because
Phish is going to play for like, seven more hours.
Jenni ran off with some guy with just one big, knotted
dread at the back of his head and she said she knows
where the tent is. They gave us maps when we drove
in that I guess she and Rob keep in their pockets but
I don’t have one. I am walking closer
to the stage and I can hear the beginnings of a Zeppelin
cover leaking out of the guitar. Good Times
Bad Times. I have a pack of Camel Lights in one
hand and a Sammy Smith’s in the other. I am trying
not to touch his hand. I am thinking
what if this guy kisses me before sunrise
and I have to look at myself in
the mirror of daylight?