Old Words

Old Words

Packing, boxes, tape, more boxes more tape…. That’s my life for the next few weeks. I’m getting ready to move. Finally facing reality and ditching the too-big house and moving into an apartment in the part of town where stuff actually happens.

And I am going to use this opportunity to shed much of the stuff I’ve been hauling around for the past thirty years. We’ll see how that goes.

One thing I’m taking time to do is go through old files, scan what I want to keep and pitch the paper. Tonight I went through the oldest of my old boxes. It’s an old metal file box that I’ve kept poetry in since the ’80’s.

It’s fun to read through this old stuff. Most of it is trite, ego-centric teenage crap…with lots of over-the-top, but heart felt imagery. Nonsense mostly.

These two jumped out of the pile though. I remember writing each line of these.

Yellow paint.
Yellow paint flowing and gurgling
Downward to the surface
Water and yellow paint
Becoming one.
Slowly yellow only
With a film of oil spreading
Across the surface.

Strands reaching outward
In all directions searching
Feeling for someone.
Is she there? Was it a voice,
or just a crazed hallucination.
A voice, a shadowy figure,
Sweet perfume.

Sweet perfume flowing and gurgling…

A sound when we touch,
Electric fire like noise
Stronger, an explosion.
Silence, we are love,

Love flowing and gurgling
Downward to the surface.
Water and yellow paint and sweet perfume
Become love.
Slowly love only
With electric fire spreading
Across the distance.

Interesting. Fun imagery and plenty of showing vs. telling. Don’t mind the messed up pronouns, everyone does that. 🙂

The next one, “I Don’t Need Anything” has an interesting format. It’s two sides of a conversation woven through a rather depressing, but again heart felt message.

“Nothing, I don’t need anything”
“Please, just ask.”
Worlds, separated by distance, space.
Impenetrable silence.

“I have never been alone.”
“I have always been alone.”
No answers, no time.
To busy being someone else to listen.
“I have never been alone, but I could handle it.”
“How can you say that?”
Don’t reach out, don’t play games,
And God, don’t pity.

“I don’t know what you want.”
“I don’t have words to make you listen.”
Its just a lie, push it to the edge.
No consequence, no difference, no reason to be.

“I don’t need anything.”
“What is commitment?”
Along for the ride, punishment. Don’t hang on.
Alone is not happy, or successful.

“Same sense of humor. We like some of the same things.”
“I have never hit anyone in anger.”
What a waste. Time for apathy, for emotions,
For someone elses problems, for friendship.

“I don’t need anything.”
“I don’t no what to expect.”
It ends soon, not together, not wanted.
Maybe next time, maybe never.

“She doesn’t know what to think.”
“I’d like to know what to do.”
Cold, lucid, painful like tears.
Blind, no feelings, no hurt.

“Just write a few letters, read my book.”
“We’ll talk later, maybe.”
Give it a rest, no wants, no needs.
No time, no effort, not likely.

“Funny, it took someone else to show me
The pain of alone.”

So many memories. I went through the box and scanned all of the typed copy, but I’m keeping the original handwritten versions. The handwritten originals have a nostalgic feel, and they convey the effort and struggle to get the words on the page in a way that the type written versions do not.

Reading through these poems gives me a glimpse of the me I was 25 years ago. So different, and so familiar. So much more energy, and so much more naive.

Who knows what the next box will hold, probably more old tax records or utility bills, but it may hold a fun walk down memory lane.

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