He stands there in that robe, the poet of Life of Frank, and greets me incongruously, not with sleep but some more insipid vapidity in his eyes. He looks ceded, the author of Little Maggot Existence, with his dress pants and gaudy blue suede loafers on under that robe, that equally-coffee-and-wine-stained stolen Best Western Turkish mimic. I can’t really tell if he recognizes me, if he recognizes any of this, if he remembers the interview or even the magazine, the visionary of A Brief Introduction to Astrophysics, he looks decidedly not home standing there in his doorway.
But then he raises his sunken head to meet my gaze, the bard of Examples of Defense Mechanisms, leaking that vandal’s smile, his eye’s blue momentarily orange, the mastermind of Dangerous Arithmetic says, once again,
By Jamie Thomson
Walk tall! they said I walked
tall I hit my head I only hit it once
yet now look at me walk It’s pathetic
I stood around contemplating the many uses
of a fish There were so many! Then a bell
in the other room rang It being the era of the bell
I obeyed I entered the room It was so empty!
I removed the socks from where they had been draped
across my ears and stuffed them in my mouth I began
to hop from foot to foot The bell ring was good
In the ocean of a man’s heart they found an island
he thought had disappeared He was glad
they had found it but also not What else had he forgotten?
A sinking boat is bad for the people onboard
but a fun little brief new thing for the fishies
An old man died They put the dust in the corner Then
the maid fell sick She lay in bed The dust in the corner
remained The dust in the corner remained once the children
grew up and long after the door had been shut the dust
in the corner remained Little changed but they didn’t mind
They were happy that way They hid all sorts of things
in the dust in the corner Years passed and the dust
only grew The dust is now a mound No it is a mountain
not a mound a mountain of dust in the middle of that room
The last train was leaving Hop on!
they yelled The last train is leaving!
Where’s it going? I asked
It is the last train! It is leaving!
The light is on I see
the man The light is off
I can’t see him but know
he’s there I never sleep
I leapt out of bed The assumption
is categorically false! I cried out It was
nothing It was the middle of the night
I must have thought the rat in the corner
was someone else A distant train
let off some steam just then Sounding
a lot like the weeping of many small things
I missed my home so much I built
a little version of my home
in my head It looked good!
I fixed all the gutters Then
I killed the neighbors I mean
left them out I wouldn’t ever kill anything
except in my head It’s allowed