Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tree Poem

ants have taken over my life
my wall
there are so many
I follow them
I want to know
where they’re going and
where they came from

it’s leaning so far to one side my tree

I have been trained to hate
the type of car it might fall onto
made my Nazis

swirly mocha bark like
dessert covered chocolate ants
a trunk must be so strong to be
so narrow

where are the ants going on a tree
so many like in my house
I know which omen it was
to get the ant tattoo
last summer
how honest to be when
writing poetry? as opposed to
lit? the greatest hits of lit
the greatest cryptics

being alone seems so nice
being alone seems like
such a good idea
until your eyes are bleary
and a little thing like blear
can fuck the entire
fantasy of solitude

my walden experiment

I just know one day I’ll wake up dead
but is that thinking too far ahead?

a muscle-y sweet potato
masculine, nearly veiny
like a thick strong arm
the ant trails are fervent in other places
are they coming and going from
inside the muscly tree?

I’m not quite ready to convert
to words
the bark flakes off so easy
even with the weakness of my
left hand, is that bad?
is it sick? 

speeding in Greece as a teen
on a ferry, fixated
on the white foamy water
what did it look like? precisely something else
I realized everything in nature was
the same, absolutely one

skin perhaps, a cloud, the white foam
something else
how reassuring, how genius

the wind always stops time
now under the tree
then on the boat
my clothing whipping against my
taught, golden skin

I am aware of my tan shoulders
and my somber profile
I don’t want to lose this feeling
of my pristine sexuality
but I can already feel it passing
my body moving forward without me

the wind was always enough
the sun and it’s setting
imagining me, sunny, funny

looking solely at the sunlit leaves
somewhere else still, even as
one of the office ladies revs up her chevy

maybe it’s a movie, this universal softness
maybe I am transported because sunlit leaves are comforting
and so we find them wherever we go

the temperature is neither here nor there
it is the same as my body
it is solid afternoon

the ants have noticed me
I have noticed the half moon in the blue sky

in April '08 when Zoë and I rode our bikes 
to Brookdale park, we laid together in the grass

I know this park well, it opens doors in my mind
the still, green sprawl like Marie Antoinette the movie
makes me want to travel back in time for garden cake

we were looking up at the leaves and when my eyes
unfocused I said
they look animated
I hoped that was good, perceptive
because she was really cool and trying
to make me cool too

as the light fades to gold I become less
intimated by the tree
the mood has softened
the good drama has ensued
memories of golden hours when
life has felt drunk, hopeful and hot
but this tree is like something dead
old with it’s crackling bark and
an ant infestation
it’s branches moved by the wind but
not by their own body
like a dead guy’s hair

can you experience every sense at once?
this parking lot is really beautiful
I can understand that but can I really know
how beautiful it is while eating
sunflower seeds and/or writing?

someone’s car horn is making a little
hip hop beat at a low volume

trying to redirect the ants or
at least give them an obstacle
but I think they are so much smarter than me

dreaming about ants wondering
where the big ones went
laying in bed and I can’t tell the difference
between the inside and the outside
of my body as my stomach swirls
dreaming of a “conversation” panning out
and slowly the other person becomes retarded
and I get a sinking feeling and wake up
sweating and say Tyler? but forget
the thing and he’s so awake and lucid
with eyebrows raised above the bed 

am I high on ant poison?
they must have designated trails because
one would often bump into another
coming from the opposite direction
and stall for a moment like
excuse me
this makes me wanna be a writer
who looks harder
at 16 Stanford place I would seriously collect ants
in a magnifying dish and now I don’t need to

my symptoms are beginning to string themselves together
as I am (am I?)
developing something that develops in the early twenties
where I lose all my composure and I’ll wish I had made
more paintings while I could
I am in a TV interview at age thirty something
with little to no muscle mass, already looking twice as old as I should
I’m shaky and serious
my supportive aid Megan, is backstage
she created my perfect up-do
as I sat staring into the vanity mirror
at my somber profile, longingly
hoping for nature to rewind

maybe that’s who I used to be
maybe that’s why I’m so paranoid anytime
a fingertip goes numb or my chest pains
return, is it really heartbreak
or is it really ant poison

I’m so lucky I’m good at driving

handing my credit card to Dylan
the mechanic over a gun catalog
open to a page with a rifle floating
above a swastika and I wonder
what am I paying for?

I hit the one car with the like,
leather bumper jacket

mostly the ants are distracting
and symbolic

my tree was actually quite sweet and tender
on the corner of a median

I miss the tree in my front yard
at 16 Stanford place
Montclair, NJ

the ant blood smeared across my white-topped desk
maybe that’s my poison
seeping into my finger tips
it’s like the old tampon soaked in vodka
the neglected ways to get wasted
through seeping,
ant blood to the fingertips
trap glue to the toe pads
unfiltered water
carbon monoxide
too much homeostasis
too many chills