1,571 Readings | 4 Ratings

PITCH BLACK

In 1973 all the farms were clapping up, tending developments.
I stood on footstools but was abashed.

I entered a lamp factory in 1974 and introduced lamps
made of cowhide. I invented the antlered chandelier

after shooting deer one weekend. My boss joked at how in
the best lamp designs something good always dies.

Oil came and with it, plastics: death distilled makes light, oh
boy. We celebrated the golden age of lamps. My work

became conceptual – there was a market for light
bulbs packed in soil, filament earrings and my version

of glowworms, which were actual glowworms. I sold
squished lightning bugs in a jar called “Nostalgia”. I played

a pivotal role in the development of a one-act:
THE LEAKY CONDUCTORS featuring

four of my lamps, a broomstick and a spotlight
havin’ it out over AIDS, welfare, abortion, world

hunger, capital punishment, feminism, trickle-down
economics, communism, poverty and Catholics, trust me.

I woke up one morning to find that not only had my bed
disappeared but that

it had run off with another lover. This was the eighties, that
was the eighties, or this is the eighties, depending. In 1984

I swore off lamps and campaigned for W. Mondale (D-MN). I went
undercover and slept with Reagan (R-CA) in the back of a Thunderbird

and never recovered. The Thunderbird ran out of gas. Reagan
lost the keys. I’ve been one napkin ahead of myself ever since.

The miracle of 6 Fried Jumbo Shrimp in Illinois. The Tastee
Special. In 1989 I found myself increasingly in calendars

and day planners, bound in plastics. I got a credit card. The world’s
fair in Seville cemented Spain’s new position

in the world order. I felt secure enough to lamp
my son’s new apartment. Outside, trees grew. I fucked

the internet in 1997. My leftover cowhide lamp stock
was vintage, and cool. There were raves, stars spangled. I sold

squished lightning bugs in a jar called “Nostalgia.” I was hacked and sucked
by mosquitoes, investigated by the IRS. I invested in soy beans, falafel,

diversified my portfolio, stuffed a gross of beanie babies under my mattress
and declared myself solvent. I made a special pin, so.

That same year I strung a hammock between my molars, stopped
taking visitors, Centrum, positions, counsel, Metamucil, other

people’s pens. In 1998 I learned “Firewall,” remembered “Sparrow”.
I looked up “Nostalgia” in the dictionary. The dictionary

was vaguer than I’d remembered. Or than I remember.
The fact of it when I was six was enough to avoid

direct confrontation. I set a dictionary alone atop a clearing on a hill
in the forest of 1977. I bought a cell phone in 1999. I said a bell,

a totem to him, etch my name into the phone’s electrics. Crows flew
overhead, competing largely with farce and physical comedy. The trees

remained outside but lost some kind of contest to our kitchens. Hello?
No one there, it didn’t ring. In 2002 my sister-in-law caught amnesia from

a candelabra, a mantel at a Dutch angle- the great unhappening.
I began to view the shopping cart as a viable life accessory—

the aluminum transmitted the imperfections of asphalt
straight through to my wrists. My hair looked great

in the pitch black T.V. Did anybody notice?

Posted 07/30/09
Comments (1)
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patrick: i enjoyed this poem so much! thank you!
07/31/09 10:32am