There is something I used to get
out of writing poems for no one, or not many
that I seem to get better out of writing
social media comments, replies
to great influencers
The feeling of bending something in the airwaves
the morse code static
a slight influence in the real world
but it’s not the same
it’s not occurring in a different, better room than the rest of my life.
One month to the day
is when I finally dream of him alive
not counting half-awake forgetfulness
I should tell Dad about
We are both in hospital sharing a room
perhaps it is another accident
my reasons are vague, the mild, hopeful complaints
of hospital dramas where the patient goes home
And I cannot remember our conversations
In the dream, I can’t remember how I got there
which sounds like something serious, actually
Dad and I actually talked, five or six weeks ago
about how tired he was of the hospital
I recalled my own stay, the connection
even I knew was limited – but all I could offer
I almost got away with it. He grinned
“but you were getting better.”
He didn’t know what kind of body to expect
he just hoped for legs that worked.
And it’s only when I wake up
that I remember Dad is gone
from the hospital for good
Dad is gone for good.
It’s hard to say
what pleasure I get from traveling
but I just noticed
I get the same buzz from learning a new OS
and how the same things
in a different way
rewire me like a delicious dream.
And tonight I had to escape from an extended-stay
motel proxy, which was the only thing I could get
after a five-hour rehearsal in a college town
and eat lamb at a Mediterranean chain restaurant
and watch Office Space again back
in my room.
It’s this transition from the sacred to the mundane
I heard a mixed choir sing a beautiful tune acapella
and it could have made me cry
if I hadn’t had to count 12 bars of four
before coming back in.
When I turned my iPhone back on as we taxied to the gate
preparing for a dash for my connecting flight
a voicemail had arrived:
The following is important information about your flight
which has been cancelled due to an earlier cancellation
due to weather in your area.
And this is how they told me I’d be emerging from the airport
an abstractly secure place with seemingly no connections
to the city around it
and negotiating with a native american woman
driving a Honda Odyssey with Super 8 vinyl lettering
do you have rooms?
And still I felt safer there than I’d done the day before
in a sterile concourse lacking only the words
FOR YOUR PROTECTION
on the sterile walls. Only the voice of some Orwellian god
droning every few minutes in the interest of airline security
all passengers are reminded to…
do nothing as you would do in a normal sort of world
and yet the interesting conversations with strangers
are so often in a seat
strapped into an aluminum tube and hurtling toward something.
I only learned today that the local anesthetic
my dentist used for extracting part of a tooth
and building up a partial, stumpy bit
of composite resin
in preparation for a later, larger
extraction of cash for a crown
is almost certainly not novocaine,
a generic term for Procaine
since the trade name Novocain
lost its battle with “ubiquity,”
before losing out altogether
to upstart dental anesthetics
like Lidocaine. I may never have
been injected with novocaine
in my life, as it turns out.
But my point, before this research
led me astray, was the feeling
or non-feeling, of a golf-ball-sized
part of my mouth. Hardly seems
important any more.
All fascinating dental drug facts from Wikipedia. I’m sorry I looked it up.
My sons march on the same earth
I practiced on a different century ago
but that was before I tried writing a novel
getting married, watching
Remains of the Day.
I can’t recognize the place
because the new band room
and a fence has been added on
and so much grass has grown