Thursday, April 9, 2015

Poem a day 2015: 9

Hanging Out with Mark Twain

I have been living lately with Mark Twain
or at least a voice actor inhabiting Mark Twain
as he burbles through day after day, week
after week, month after month of his latter days
here on earth, April, May, June, July, August,
1906, offering thoughts on a series of
incompetent investments, his bone deep
laziness, his conviction that the gods we’ve
invented are not worth believing in, that
the god who exists is so amoral and cruel
that all praise for it is misguided,
that to die is to cease, completely,
and thus not give a shit (my translation)
about those left standing -- his children’s
children’s children -- listening now to his
voice from the grave, “because I am dead,”
he says, “and long dead, I can happily tell you
exactly what I am thinking with no fear of reprisal,
no moral complications, no need to lie or bend
the truth to suit social conventions, no need
to spare my friends any embarrassment or
my enemies the excoriation they so richly
deserve.”  Mark, or Sam, as I’ve come to
think of him, is a great friend -- he tells me
everything he’s thinking -- and if he doesn’t
really have the talent of listening?  Well, so
be it. Mark walks with me and the dog
around the block, keeps talking as I scoop
her warm droppings and twist their stink
into a Festival bag, muses further as I kick
the dust off and wipe Willow’s paws,
holds forth while I make an omelet and put in
a load of yoga clothes. He might have an opinion
about my domestic chores, their mundane
orbits, but he keeps that to himself, amused
by the waters of the past, inspired by ancient grudges
and moldy mistakes. He offers, he says,
dictation, he is open (as we all are) to suggestion
from his surrounding environment, he is an idea
antenna, bringing in signals from his dead present
and his further dead past, and I am happy to take
all of him in as I wash the dishes and wipe the sink.

1 comment:

vstefani said...

I absolutely love this!