Friday, November 09, 2007

brains by rodney jones

Brains

When I moved in with her, I thought now
I won't have to look it up:
rubidium, Calvin Trillin, the fourth-
longest river in Brazil.
The lunar mountain ranges
zoomed in. Zygotes and paramecia
made themselves known. She
could cook a mean boeuf bourguignon,
then rank the leading authorities
on the aspiration of the h
or mystical tenses of Latin verbs.
But you are so creative, there's
not a creative bone in my body,
she would say, when I insisted
before friends we had recently met
that not I but she was the brain.
Now that she is gone,
now I can feel secure, one
of my thoughts sending another
down through the foggy
databases, the fractures,
and the unions. Here boy,
I whistle to the dog of my thoughts.
I am thinking how,
before I lived with her,
I was known as the brain,
but I valued the heart more than the brain,
and more than the heart,
the flag of the erogenous zones—
loving me was like patriotism,
but I was not fit to live with her.
I knew, when she began to chant
and burn incense to the Asian saints,
I did not know her secret anything.
Still, I had ideas, insights,
a brain like the world's mute,
lightning-soldered, accidental
intelligence. With that same
brain now I hold our ill-starred,
incompatible visions
of happiness and tragedy.
Yet when I need to know
how spinnerets work
or the distance to Alpha Centauri,
I think of her, not for long
or at any depth, or what
she was, but the last
compliment that means anything
is the compliment to memory.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

summer with naomi

she was the only person i've lived with who always entered the house without me knowing.
h was on board and i sat many rows behind her. she had straight black asian hair. she had slim shoulders and a careful nose. her eyes had a streak of wildness like a coyote in a desert at night. not a fox because i feel i know the exact danger a fox would put me in. just a coyote in the desert at night. i haven't ever seen a coyote do anything harmful but i wouldn't consider a coyote harmless. i had seen h's picture on myspace or facebook, a new friend had wanted me to see her, as they were roommates. my new friend was a classmate i wanted to sleep with. usually i find myself wondering if i'd want to sleep with the friends of people i met or if it were possible to rule sleeping with out entirely. h was just attractive enough to look at twice and so i ruled h out as a friend.
on the flight i saw h preferred company to anonymity. she had a way of sitting still without looking out the window or pulling a book out of her bag. she did not seem disinterested, but rather midly concerned about something that was possibly happening in front of her that she did not know about.
my friend had told me h liked to order cosmopolitans from cute bartenders but otherwise only drank in the homes of friends. she liked drinking with friends over strangers and looked for familiarity before understanding.
my friend loved her roommate more than i knew about loving people then. i shared apartments before but could never share a room. my friend and h shared a room and they shared a desk and when they were sick they brewed tea once but decided it wasn't for them. most of the time they were just a little more depressed than normal and smoked pot or talked about minor annoyances until they were annoyances they could no longer deal with.
my friend acted on impulse and that's how she wound up kissing me. it was a good long kiss that ended our friendship. when i saw h on that flight i wondered about my friend.
i remember that night perfectly.
i remember the lighting of the bookstore and the number of steps on the bus. and i remember thinking that what mattered now was my friend telling h why she came home later than usual. telling h she was still thinking about getting back with her ex boyfriend who had stopped by to keep h company. it would be unfair to me and i would make a fuss about it someday. but that's not why i'm telling this story.

as a child h had an earache that was left untreated. it hurt her so much to listen to more than a whisper. normally children tell their parents about pain, but h was the kind of the girl who waited for her pain to become visible. she never told anyone close to her anything. when my friend went home they didn't talk about anything.
you always knew you let them off easy so when it came to driving them back in droves or loving the misery of present company you chose to let them off easy. doing a favor for people who didn't want any help at all made you feel deserving of a very good title: good Samaritan, philanthropist, altruist.

but there was never a moment where you chose to change their plight. there was never any reason for you to be there other than to make it out alive.

you always made it out alive.

yea.

there is no reason for you to be there. you are a coward. you lack courage when you seek absolution. this is important for me to tell you. this is the definition of courage:

The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution.

...

today i won a softball game. we were down 10 runs until we rallied, and it was the biggest rally i have been a part of. i thought there should be a something, a something inside to signify the momentous. there are big moments in life where you get everything again and again in memory except for a detail or two and i would like winning to be in the category of big moments. i have been thinking often about big moments or at least the more memorable ones, the people and situations i delve into on a drive alone. there is mostly loss and regret weighing in on everything so i took to routine to see what would happen. and i took to tina and i said i love you and sometimes when we aren't acting like cats i realize we are a team.

the fact that there are so few real burdens in life, that there are so few tasks that cannot be carried out, and few losses that can't be mitigated is hitting home. i only know this because i have someone helping me here who i can share the joy of living with.

anyway, i like to ramble at night.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

bastard me

and you know i could be less careless.

i had a facebook friend request from an unlikely source. it just reminds me that we are all queued up in some geek's nostalgia.

Friday, November 02, 2007

hello

i know about 7th grade when you were in a bank and wanted to be like all the older creatures taking paystubs and handing out cash and receipts. you were holding onto a secret. you had seen the movies, knew the easiest way to rob them, but you didn't do that.

...

last night i was dreaming i was awake. really awake. i was under the covers with you and you turned a soft light on and i thought you were saying something but the words became a lullabye and i had to close my eyes to keep myself from falling asleep. an ex girlfriend sang me that song but i didn't tell you, i waited a while and then you closed your eyes and i started singing on key.

...

i thought, what if we were in a rain forest again. could a lullabye stop the squawk of an angel? not everything that flies is an angel, you said.

nearly every morning i am making love to a part of you. i am making love to your arm and then your hair and then tomorrow i'll be in love with your arms and then your hair. do you know what in love is? is that the work you do?, you asked.

nearly every morning the world is closer to inspiration and there is no one but a coin dropping and then splashing when it becomes the nucleus of a puddle. and nearly every morning i am possessed by your knees and then your calves and then just the smoothness of a blessing.

look, say goodbye.