Gray Flannel Dwarf


old notebooks.

Wishes don’t come true;
Neither do lies.

Lies are armor
In a world of fantasy
They are the wave
That crashes,
Eroding the shore.

This is a poem I wrote, found in a notebook from 1994! It’s a notebook from my high school creative writing class. This one, along with others, generally sits, unopened, on one shelf of my bedside table. There are more of them at my mom’s house, somewhere, that will eventually make their way back to my place.

I don’t like opening this notebook, usually. For one, a lot of the stuff in it is utter doggerel, and if the notebook stays closed, I can pretend that I never wrote such tripe. Another is simply because it’s full of that angst-ridden crap found in every teenager’s notebook at one point or another, albeit I was probably affected by that illness on a magnitude not seen since the fall of man. And yes, it’s a black notebook.

Torn pages. Heavy, graphite streaks that start as writing and drop in a straight line down to the bottom of the page, concluding in a big, ugly scribbled cloud of angles, loops, pencil dust.

I do kinda like that poem, though. I don’t think I ever really saw it the last few times I flipped through this thing. It could use some work, a few other words, some arrangement. However, I think I’d rather just let it be. It’s an older chapter of my life that I really don’t see a need in revisiting.

He was a shifty-eyed old man, balding slightly on the back of his head, where the absence of the yellowing, gray hair allowed for his pale scalp to show through. He seemed to have something on his mind at all times, this accounting for his “suspect” look. Steely eyes stared back at me, as if staring into my own mind.

     “Young man,” he said, in a raspy, almost whisper-like coarse voice, “If the world was a child’s ball, and it fell down the stairs, where would it end up?”

I was miserable as a kid, but probably a lot of that was my own doing.

On to the second notebook. This is a purple one. Here, I find some haiku. Some of the stuff in this notebook is from college, it seems.

Splinters jump away
From the silver-grey metal
That splits the old stump

Eroding the shores,
The tide rolls back to the sea
Taking its children

I remember showing these haiku, and others, to a Luci Shaw, a fairly well-known contemporary poet who came to our campus for a few days. She liked them.

Here’s a programme from a 1995 poetry reading in the coffeehouse. Between readings, there were some musical bits. One of the professors played a piece on his flute; Later on, Brandon played guitar.

Kurdt Cobain poems. Obviously, there is still some high school stuff in this one, as well.

A draft of a poem I wrote specifically for spoken word. I won’t reproduce it here, now. I wrote about 3 of these sort of poems. Fast-paced, lyrical, political. I recycled them for years at readings, because they got great responses from the audience.

Everything in days past
     has disappeared
But I still have her clothes.

I remember reading that one at a different coffeehouse, a short-lived one on the outskirts of Bristol. CJ and I used to go there quite a bit. The poem got a chuckle or two out of the audience. It wasn’t meant to be funny.

cswiii @ 12:34 am

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