Purposeless Solitude

Selected Poems by Lethe Bashar

I sat in my garage and listened to my neighbors' children play the sun held its last bending light and I smoked my first cigarette since I had woken up; the day was ending but brilliant for that last unspeakable hour and the children ran indoors for brownies with fudge sauce-I am often reminded of how my life is so different from theirs they seem to live in contentment on the other side of the fence unwitting, perhaps, the peace in that last light which falls on me, a remnant of what I've missed, or didn't bother to know enough about, I feel the placid breeze, the sunlight before it crawls away.

on this flight you will miss most of everything girlfriends, jobs, even holidays with family you'll awaken to an unforgiving landscape the wind will speak in dribbles like an oracle you'll know the absence by its charmed face many of us flying into the same blankets of clouds will show no fear-I believe that we are recalled, perhaps memorized by those who have not disappeared.

every passion I owned has lost its flavor except one where am I headed on this wave of indolence where does it lead? we can stay friends and I will continue to entertain you my thoughts are so purposeless yet I rely on them a glimmer of emptiness is what I see in the sky tonight it keeps me awake, with no time or too much time I suppose that it's a good thing night erases doubt.

here I am, enjoying a moment practicing the art that gives me most pleasure and I wonder why I make my life so incompatible with joy destiny corrects the living in a way only the gods will ever know as if I'm divided into two people with opposing agendas I must make concessions to each of them I'm the arbitrator of two separate omens their nagging obsessions require I split the share of my life without the whispering or the shouting of the other interested party, this simple pleasure of writing poetry would gladly be mine.

the pleasures are fleeting, on some days you're wondering if they even exist but in the slow station of all our lives, a moment of being comes and goes, lingers for awhile out of a plateau, pleasures rise this wondrous hot spring fills you with momentary delight and even the thoughts you are thinking echo with reason and brilliance and even the coffee tastes incredibly rich so you want more of the experience and less of the waiting, I suggest a simple remedy, I suggest breathing, maybe taking a break with me on the pier, we'll sit and listen to the waves crash

I dreamed of a woman several feet from my bed, her long torso leaned against the doorway, her coral skin blended with the light and my eyes were neither open nor closed though I felt a vague intimacy between us, there was no exchange only a mutual feeling we were together, like a couple like lovers or close friends. I don't usually sleep during the day, but today I slept and dreamed of her again, I wonder why I never see her face only her long torso rising up into half-hidden arms, she's completely naked standing there in my bedroom steady against the doorway like an echo that can't be reached but only heard.

the coil of my existence will eventually unravel so I can see the whole thing at once my useless pangs, the hopeful whispers and many many lies one day I'll understand my grief a purposeless solitude is mine neither here nor there wandering ecstatically into the snow at night to unbury my car gigantic flames burst out it never moves, my fixed self I can't stay here, I'll freeze help me out of this snow the car seems stuck when did I bury myself? I'll wait here forever the dusk is dusty tonight I'll wait under these stars I'm sure you'll come

I go down into the cool basement where the open foundation peers out of the walls upstairs she's sleeping, beautiful and uncomplicated, in a dream I'll never know my cats want to know what happened what can I say to them? I'm sorry, I went back to smoking . . . don't come down here, I want to be alone my work is fulfilling but there is something the size of a needle it rents a hole inside my brain, a tunnel of worry air escapes and makes things cold I used to have that control things to keep me busy, a goal, some bright idea countless directions and possibilities the reason why I came down here tonight I had a meaning, a strong sense of knowing but now I just shiver from the dropping temperatures and wait for the old spirit of wonder to make me feel better the basement is a blunt place to awaken the soul so what was it I came down here for? the future has no home, it looms like a pendulum, moving from desire to desire, and back to love, time-honored my teeth sink deeper into a bed of gums I'm growing old, and in my house like guests, they come and go they smile, nod, give encouragement I return to this rhythm of exhaustion.

the memory of disappointment looms over every lover's head, the pain of longing is protracted extending into future lives, the world turns in a continuous way nothing is permanent and that makes me dream again

the people we dream about are enigmas and they have overwhelming powers with their words, with their ideas how could a few words produce a bright little dragon of hope? still the experience is inchoate not finished yet, it conceals the final result this state is more like a dream than a perpetual longing-the hope which alters your reality will most likely fly away on butterfly wings and yet I live for the chances, how encouraging when she wakes me out of bed and dips me into a bath of possibility not impotent fantasy but real hope-the kind that promises an ultimate end.

surprises--what are surprises? looking back they lose their glow wishes may be granted if my wishes are granted then I will breathe easily dreams, fantasies, terrors the cat meowing at the shut door purposeless I drift in my cocoon of wonder my story is so old, so repetitive by now not even you would like to hear it my humdrum life, the wheel of it turning--with only vivid fantasies to keep me alive I ache with wonder at the slow action of my self growth and maturity are not quick enough for me I need a dream to hang on I need an opium pipe to suck in clouds of happiness there is nothing, not even anger anymore just the longing a lake of separation between us.

I don't know if I can ever satisfy my longings with any person or thing, my outward gaze sees a paradise of fleeting figures some lost, others connected by a rift-I invite this shape shifting desire into my life, I call it forward, only to turn it down and my adventures I'd never give them up, I live for change, transformation, renewal but how dark it is to exist in a pool of longing and astonishment.

Beatles music chorus of ironic hope Friday night invitation to solitude Boy, you're going to carry that weight a long time

the moth approached me like a blinking eye, I was having a cigarette in the garage. the birds squeaked in the far off darkness, a menacing sound disrupting the night. I pressed the moth to give me her reasons for staying up as late as she did-she continued to blink, and I awaited her answer, but nothing came. the birds heckled the darkness and the darkness heckled back--the chaos persisted but remained subdued and the neighbors stayed in bed. the children, in their warm beds, were dreaming of magical places, and I bemoaned my condition while having my cigarette in the garage. I thought of summer, which was expected to come, maybe tomorrow or never, I figured I'd be sleeping when it did. I thought of the hours I'd missed. the moth returned after awhile, she blinked her wings again and again, she seemed to know I had a mild fever, she seemed to know my memories too. Let me go, I said. Be off. I want to sleep.

my cats are eager to know what I do in my garage and so is my father-I write poetry at dawn rebellion ended some time ago destructed me into flames all I have now is a little cigarette to burn before daybreak the birds to call my name the echoes in the empty backyards I'm not suffering here maybe I was yesterday, early this hour I¶m bright shimmering with silence a trap I once stuck my foot in now has no power to contain the knots don't fit anymore and rebellion is a word for children but I'm a man terribly aware of my freedom to do destructive things

out of the cloudy liquid comes joy--a pure, admirable feeling then there is the gravely turn of the wheel over the restless, buried dead you're led down that familiar path from your childhood, to the end of the cul de sac a retreat into a lonely, reassuring place.

we're blessed with everything but everything is never enough and how do we explain regression? the drink on the table empty--go fill another glass cigarettes in the new jacket pocket five more until daybreak

Whitman was right I want to be a child living on the couch all day life in front of the fireplace dreaming dreaming of fame but also dreaming of light and fictional lands of becoming another person in another century the clean sun spots on wintry fields outside my doorstep branches swaying I have no control over this eruption of feeling I will write when I write and hold silence in empty seasons I too am paralyzed to be myself I stopped writing poetry for a whole year you can't explain the muse I tried to control my hand but my hand rebelled winter is a saber from the root a river flows cutting the morning with these lazy thoughts grown into little children sad wayfarers the open rose winter lavish in cold innocence

I am full of hope anticipation and wine but curling on the edge like a burnt napkin despair, dread, the memories of failure what a cold bunch of phrases and yet that's what it feels like

I'm not drifting away tonight just typing and I'll go to bed accepting knowing when I wake up a new day will be there radiantly reminding me of this possibility another reason to desire things. the inevitable pattern is a blessing and a conundrum we look back on the whole lot but I doubt that this is the end of suffering maybe resolution will crown our lonely heads one day maybe strangers will greet us in the morning and know who we are I doubt anything in this world will change twice if anything were to happen it would overwhelm the mind this mad quest of life

so many scratches so many lines scrawled here and there; I carry this old notebook, forgetting it often, though it lay there peruse your life look at the grooves that one I am no seeker no spiritual man the seeking stopped once I realized discontent like repeating chords scraps of days endless bits of things attracting and repulsing me in quivers just one endless loop into tomorrow living without a clue: that's me my dumb innocence I used to look back and read what I wrote and linger on it because it was raw and young today I think I'm old

the anxious child beating in my heart is you furious whirling child of discontent and love you disentangle with grace never losing touch with unmistakable anguish you fall belatedly to the bottom of the world a cycle will remake you as a cycle broke you down and all your thoughts about the world won't matter I¶m young again with you I¶m blind and naked and undefeated anxious child come dance with me what are you afraid of only lovers speak this way what are you running from timid infant on a wave the dark engulfing world will cower behind you and me

I relish these days even the smoke that pours from my lips is sweet even the stranger makes me secretly smile I relish these days of quick, intense pain the arresting hours of doubt and the wild, bright future that just breaks in I relish the moon that keeps me company while I write these poems to a forgotten son I relish conversations in the dark with my cats the playful gestures of their paws I relish a meal with a new friend parmesan shards on my lips as nervous laughter erupts I relish my whole uninterrupted self the silos of pain and the exclamatory Yes coming from nowhere and never I relish giant moments like these which embrace me

could this life be anymore unknown?

We walked through the cold, granite park that day, ice-skaters breezed by in merry furies, loops upon loops, maddened by the wind, with bright shining faces and bright shining eyes, and everywhere I looked couples burrowed in each others¶ arms. I suggested the museum, the first floor was empty except for two high school kids who played hooky and jested beside the glass of Renaissance art; I stared at them meekly, as if I envied their sweet adolescent rebellion. They were drenched in whatever I wanted. You lingered in the early art periods; I approached a Grecian bust, once perfect, now broken, scuffed forehead, damaged nose and some dust. A security guard paced the length of a wall, I asked what exhibit was showing, ³de Kooning just left,´ said the Chicago accent. On the second floor, Munch¶s bedroom girl, we both agreed, ³a mystery of emotion, haunting, beautiful, a dream . . .´ That brief instant was gone forever, like the day, and the next, dominated by a hunchbacked curator who lectured to the floor about floating blocks and cubes, ³both subject and object moving,´ (a preacher went to see his lover, a dancer in a midnight club) amorous obsessions, I thought. Van Gogh¶s Self-Portrait: the room full of spectators. I stood there in a trance beneath the fixed stare of triumph or terror, beneath the weary beard of jagged lines, inchoate strokes . . . Later in bed, you grieved. I said what I loved about the portrait the sheer incompleteness²as if the colors were still dripping, and the artist somewhere near.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful