Poem in Which I Sort of Break DownClay Matthews
Another spring rain about which I have nothing new to say, only yes and thank you and sadness, I get in the car to drive around and let the dust of another week wash away, and play The Temptations “I Wish It Would Rain”—both because of the temptation and the rain, the what might have been, what I perhaps wanted to be, what couldn’t be. We never stop losing. But it is green and wet and the world has opened up and while the world is doing this I am going inside myself, driving down old blocks I haven’t been through in years or perhaps have never been through—I don’t remember any more, I don’t remember so many things Dear God, it’s me, Clay, am I going senile at such a young age. And Dear God, it’s me, Clay again, what are we supposed to be doing what is sexual what spiritual why women and men why why and why not something else. So I listen to the song and I listen again and drive, looking at each house, slowly, wondering who lives there, what they fight about, what they make love about, which small movements, which glances, which propositions accepted properly in the early afternoon of a rainy day. The houses turn to smaller versions of themselves, and then wooden versions of their brick selves, and I as the big bad wolf go backwards into the poorer part of town, but I don’t want to blow them in and I may or may not want Little Red Riding Hood, sashaying her way over the sidewalk between home and the hollers of a thousand of us men who lack either self-confidence or self-control or a proper definition of the self as properly defined by postmodern theory and/or theology. So I pass through the houses and on and into a graveyard, graveyards being places I usually stay away from I am slightly superstitious and have no definite knowledge or faith one way or another on ghosts, but I go, and I look, and it is green and gray and the many flowers have closed or are closing themselves at this very minute, while on a chain-link fence near the edge I read a sign that says: Flower thieves will be prosecuted. Then we will all be prosecuted! And none of us should be, neither (and all of us, too). I have no good reason, today, to be happy or sad, so I am both at once for which I have many reasons. Sunshine, blue skies, please go away. The wet, wet world and west, young man. Small breaks in the clouds and small rays shining down but no rainbows because at this point a rainbow would just be too much. Only pieces of light and the promise of more light on the other side and the grey clouds so full of themselves they could be any of us they could be me, the sound of rain but no thunder, the sound of music but no voices, the sound of the right person in the wrong place, the wrong moment in the right life, and I know to you it might sound strange, but I’ve nothing else to rely on (Dear God it’s me, Clay). And I wonder sometimes if steering wheels are just there to mock us. And I feel terrible about the whole argument between free will and destiny. All that I want is everything I want. Music and rain and slight variations between the two.
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