The Page of My Occupation

12 02 2010

(This is an obligatory poet’s poem. Every poet in history has written this poem in one iteration or another.)

it’s 3:30 in the morning and Lightning Rod stares at a blank page
the bed is too cold to occupy
so I must ply my occupation, the blank page

death is a dream compared to poetry
at least it’s quiet
just as 3:30 should be
but not tonight, which is really this morning

even the roaches are asleep
lucifer’s nightmare is only in the second reel
his Ambien pill isn’t working any better than my libido
and it’s not the speedos that are cramping my style

It’s past closing time but I’m drinking anyway
3:30, just me and the blank page. Set ’em up Joe.
I’m staring into white purity. There’s nobody in the place but just you and me.
vagabond desert emptiness. One for my baby.
a promised dawn in the lingering night. And one more for the road.
Every lost love and dashed dream smeared
on the whiteness of that page intact as a virgin
my version of the Mona Lisa would make
Leonardo blush red as blood on a page, a blank page
the page of my occupation.

the dawn is narrow in the Eastern time zone
it’s my job to be awake to answer the phone
but the ringing is only in my ears
it’s three-thirty, I’ve lost count of the beers

they told me that poetry was for geeks and for queers
but what they didn’t tell me about was the fucking blank page
and you can imagine my rage when the truth started sinking in
at 3:30 in the morning Eastern time staring at a Siberian bed

I know it’s all in my head
that was 3:30 in the morning
and now it’s well past four
I don’t know whether
to jump out the window
or walk out the door

just to escape this page and the coming dawn
with raspy stains of anemic blood
tears distilled
semen clear as a lens
the salt of sweat and tobacco stains
transparent as the ice in my bed
nothing on the page, the empty page
the page of my occupation.

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