Eat Your P’s & Q’s

Of course like all simulacra 
no mater how hard I rowed
the rowing machine its
wind noise its pull chain
fighting my grip
we did not cross the river
but sank steel and grease
under the waves

no matter how many lights
I turned on then off then on again
we did not find the sun
but sank in darkness no
matter I cannot find your hand
only the sinking feeling
of falling from the sky
pulling the ripcord

of words but the shrouds
snap only shreds
of I’s and O’s and U’s
what I owe you my love not
poems torn into fortune
cookie scrip counterfeit
screed with “Be here now”
written on one side

and “You are here”
on the other
a big red arrow pointing
like a laser gunsight
right between my eyes
down to my heart and
click of the ersatz trigger

a pacemaker hunting
big game Hemingway
exhorts us ‘Write the truest
sentence that you know’
so you look out
the window and say
“It‘s as cold as frozen peas”
for this I will love you forever.

For Desperate Poets

22 thoughts on “Eat Your P’s & Q’s

  1. In the Old Testament there’s a Brass Angel who comes from heaven to instruct how to build a house – keeping lines straight, raising foundations sure, fitting roofs tight. All we have is our desperation in getting all the way to the elusive truth. I loved the ample supply of artifice here in that effort – rowing machine for crossing real water, light switch failing the sun, that fortune cookie! (Mine would say “I’m with stupid” with the same arrow). How do we find the truest sentence? Is desperation or love the brass angel which leys it? (In AA they say, you want to know how well I’m working my program, ask my wife.) Thanks so for posing the question so eloquently and then sharing it at Desperate Poets. – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This morning the only true thing I know is giving my dogs some cheese – their clarity of purpose beggaring my own. Hemingway as that Old Testament angel with a shotgun in his mouth – a desperate final truth indeed. Love a better choice for laying our foundations, or so I continue to hope, or at least a thread to help me walk back out of my own desperate tangle when I find that angel waiting for me, half man, half bull. Thanks for all you wrote, and for hosting this site.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The hollowness and unreality we battle every day is so clearly apparent here–the twisting of our efforts away from our desires, by forces as remote as the powder in that shotgun shell, unconcerned with our love, or even our existence.. then all we are left with is “pulling the ripcord/of words..” and hoping we don’t smack ourselves into the side of a mountain. I especially liked the fortune cookie. What a telling metaphor. One of your best, qbit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Ersatz Brand Coffee…it’s the real thing!”–Firesign Theater

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist. This poem is somewhat of a departure for you, I think, though it returns to qbitage in the end and so it is the best of both worlds. I adore “sank steel and grease”. Talk about finding a fresher better way to say “boat.” Wow.
    The second stanza is elegant, with echoes of our man Cohen. And the way you worked in big game hunter Hemingway. One of your best ever, my friend.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Agreed, definitely not my usual, which is a good thing. I’m so glad you liked the steel and grease line. I did too.


  4. Captured that sense of futility as we strive against the artificial, strive for what is tangible. And love that is based on truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There is such a fun and brilliant humanity in this. I especially love how all the remarkable acrobatics and twists of the (did I say brilliant already?) poet come to a halt as the one you love looks out the window and – well… simply brings it all right back down to earth. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your poem has a unique style that I find appealing. “Falling from the sky pulling the ripcord of words”–with its space between stanzas–lines like that are fantastic. There’s a nice spoken-word rhythm to other lines I like quite a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The sinking of the rowing machine is pure brilliance. That fortune cookie, so true that nobody can believe it. The big game hunter is after me. And the truest sentence, one that only you can utter, is certainly a cause for love.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. excellent use of line in this poem (it took me 3 reads before i realized there is no punctuation in this poem, well done)

    and then this:

    of I’s and O’s and U’s
    what I owe you my love not
    poems torn into fortune
    cookie scrip counterfeit
    screed with “Be here now”
    written on one side

    and “You are here”
    on the other

    i remember someone saying once the act of writing requires that we stop living long enough to record what we have lived, stop too much, and live too little. the more we stop to write, the less we are “here right now”. artifice is not just the mirror to life, in many ways its the opposite of life. well said

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. Hey, I will take anyone wading through my counterfeit screed three times any day! Glad you liked that split or two sides of the coin or whatever the hell it was.

      Liked by 1 person

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