Entry: Poem Thursday, May 20, 2004

Dearest readers,

I know that this is (at least mildly) off topic. Nonetheless, this is one of the poems that I performed at the final round of the Eugene Poetry Slam. I hope that you enjoy it.

I didnít mean to stop feeling that buzz
The humming sound from deep in the unheard parts of humanity
But we, the ones who shout silently
At the top of our lungs
That something has gone terribly wrong
Donít even know that we are shouting
Because we have forgotton to listen

I didnít mean to fall out of love
With the small graces of life
Didnít mean to take off running from
This unseeable, unknowable, invisible nothingness
But the next thing I knew I was on the freeway
Listening to the wind through a half cracked window
Watching the white lines
Blur together with the red lights
The white lights
Wildly searching the radio dial
For a religious program
About the Armageddon

Iím suddenly obsessed by the revelations of John,
Especially their more fundamentalist interpretations
Not because I believe them
But because I relate to all those
Angry, sad pastors
So desperate for the eternal good life
That everything they see becomes the next sign of the coming apocalypse

The gas station sign
Glowing out neon omens
The newspaper headlines
All printed in the blood of Christ
High school textbooks
Written by the Devil
And devised to steal our childrenís souls

This freeway goes so far south
That I could end up in a tropical paradise
Where the beach is always warm enough
To sleep on
And fruit grows from every other tree.

If it werenít for the Guerillas and the
Slave labor free trade factories
This might be the Eden those
Those apocalyptic visions are made of
Maybe, somehow, even with those things it is.

Instead of the final holy war
And the last days before the rapture
I find the classic rock station
And crank the radio
I pound the dash
With deeply clenched fists
And pump the gas down to the floor

The left lane doesnít move me fast enough
Thereís no way
To get way fast enough
The darkness is catching up
In the form billboards
In the form of
Food, gas, and lodging next right
Iíve got to get this world to quiet its incessant babbling
For long enough to get my thoughts straight
Iíve got to remember the right time to hesitate
The right time to meditate
The right time to hibernate
And the right time to tear out of this
Soft spoken polite shell
The right time to yell
And to do it right

Out loud and egg on a fight
Circled, grunting
Shirts off as men decide on their hierarchy
The same way they always have
With fists, nails, and teeth
No gloves

This is somehow more palatable than the Job Interview
The resume lacks the panache
Of a fist fight

And what I mean when I say I canít write
Is that I obviously havenít been living right
What I mean is
The babble and chatter
The self helplessness of my people
The trends, fads, and misused fantasies Have started to get to me
There is a sea change
And itís not just the melting ice caps
Itís the desperation on the tips of everyoneís lips
Itís the silent dissention
And the violent rage
Itís this poem
Coming lose from the page
Flying out of my mouth
And hanging in the air for a silent moment
Before it dissipates
And is lost in the rolling waves
Of words, images, and feelings
So often repeated theyíve lost their meaning

I want to see a hundred people
All cry at once

I want to face truth down
And tell it to go fuck itself

Itís me
Wondering what kind of mindblowing madness
It will take
To get the buzz back
Shake it up
Until it explodes
Like nitroglycerine
Pushing the pistons of a six cylinder engine

I want to fly down the freeway too fast
Smoking a cigarette
And itching for a crash

And I want to sit and listen
As distant thunder rolls
To imagine that this might be the last night of earth
Because only once I believe in death
Can I begin to picture a rebirth

This work is licensed by Samuel Rutledge under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. To view a copy of this license, visit Creative Commons or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Morris Stegosaurus
June 22, 2004   03:56 PM PDT
Hey there,

I know I'm a little behind the times here, but I just found out how the Eugene finals wanted, and I wanted to offer my congratulations on making the team-- see you in St. Louis!

--Morris (Team Worcester '04)

Leave a Comment:


Homepage (optional)