Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Christmas Train
(or not so free association)

I figure I may never die
because I can never find anything that fits me
in a thrift store
the drunk Tohono O’odham at the door
begs for change
I give it him as I‘d give it you
if you were begging for chocolate
but nothing is what it seems
I can’t fix this mess with my bad dreams
and everything lost
is found again
and goes round and round
in my poor old echoing brain

Bing Crosby’s everywhere these days
Selling pretty faces and happy families
Except at the world trade center
The Vietnam war memorial
The border fence
And Auschwitz and Berkenwald
But I’d like to hear white Christmas there
Just to richen up the egg nogg
And the irony
He was always such a grouch
And he beat his children
And he’s been dead fifty years
And he still owns more Christmas
Than Jesus
And it only hurts if you know too much
Like the guy in the detective novel
Who gets a pair of cement shoes
Or a really bad case of the
Christmas blues
All this and more than mortal tongue can tell
Goes round and round a crazy carousel
Whose merry tunes can’t drown out the rain
That pounds and pounds
On my poor old echoing brain

Christmas wrappings and toys and TV sounds
Screams and loud talk are thrown over the fence
By my section 8 neighbors
Trash all over the street when the garbage truck comes
I love it
The way they slop all over lurching like drunken
Dancers so real so much the way
It is what it is
And that’s show biz
But gee whiz
Does it have to be so stupid
And especially in the rain?
O babe it ain’t no thang
Just some messed up music
From my poor old echoing brain

At New Years there’s always a party
Where we have the appliance toss and the baby
Toss and toss
Back a few
For all those who fell in love
With blue
On that wild roller coaster ride
Down the mental drain
To suicide
Sylvia Plath and Curt Cobain
Jim Jones and Hart Crane
Ray Johnson and all the lesser knowns
Who were just as insane whose bones
Pile up like all the sad old trains
Echoing down the distances
of the morning rain
I asked my shrink time and again
How do you stop a train
That just keeps on going round
And round
In your poor old echoing brain?

--------She said,
each self is locked in its own personal narrative
Each ego fed according to the politics of the dream censor
Each representative lost in its own representations
Each brain echoing the particular wounds and triumphs of its animal body
(equals ego equals a dog’s legs kicking in its sleep)
(and the memory of old nights in the rain
just goes around and around in my poor old echoing brain)

each bio a fabrication and worn like a medal of honor
given by one’s own personal government
each of us damaged and still surviving the disaster of being
thrown into the world crying and gasping for breath
(and the cold drizzly rain
that just keeps on pounding
on my poor old echoing brain.)

I met a National Guardsman
Who’s been in Kosovo and Iraq
And is getting called up again
So proud of his competence
So careful and concerned for his men
Good soldiers in a bad war
They’re always with us
Never asking what they’re really
Fighting for
All because the world is so poor
When their soldier patients die the medics
Stand at attention as the broken body
Is carried out
We must all answer the call
These holiday sentiments can be recycled
Tsunami and Katrina victims and all
Just throw them out in the cold freezing rain
To go round and round
In my poor old echoing brain.


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