INTRODUCTION TO NAMELESS BOYS

INTRODUCTION TO NAMELESS BOYS
by Martine Compton
(Previously Published in INPATIENT Magazine)
______

IF ONLY YOU COULD SEE HOW I’M SHAKING, BOYS-
THIS PALE STALE FRAGMENT GIRL-
ME AT 23.
TREMBLE IS
MY ANTHEM
ALL I HAVE TO RECOMMEND ME
IS
MY PURE ATTENTIVE FREAKISH WILL
DRIVE PULL PUNCH
CHILDHOOD ANTHEM.

SUBURBAN SPRAWLED BOTTICELLI HEAD
I
DISCOVERED SEX AT AGE 3
LEARNED TO LIE SOMEHOW,
PERHAPS BY WATCHING MY
MOTHER’S EYES,
BUSY HER HANDS,
TYPEWRITER GRANDMOTHER.
LEARNED TO SMOKE
BECAUSE I FORGOT TO WRITE-
.
BEFORE SHE BEGAN
I THOUGHT SHE WAS
DOROTHY PARKER.
RED LABEL PALL MALL QUEEN.
AT THANKSGIVING DINNER.
YEAR-ROUND NEW YEAR’S MOUTH-
ASHTRAY PIANOMOUTH SOUL.
THIS IS MY LABOR, BOYS,
HOLD STILL: I THINK I SEE A HEAD:
I ALWAYS FIGURED
SHE’D COME OUT
FOOT IN MOUTH FIRST-
HIP LIP FIRST.
SKIP A BEAT, BOYS,

BREATHE BREATHE LAUGH GASP…
IS THIS A GODDAMNED
VIRGIN BIRTH
AFTER ALL THE SEX I PUT IN?!

HERE I AM DINING IN CROATIA
WITH NOTHING TO RECOMMEND ME
BUT A GIFT FOR THE LIES AND
HERE, STILL: DON’T FORGET
I AM GIVING BIRTH
LIVE BIRTH
IN YOUR PARLOUR-
HOW’S THAT FOR AN ENTRY FEE?
NINE MONTHS COME TO A CLOSE
WHILE WAITING FOR A RHYME
TO CONSUMMATE A UNION WITH THE PAGE-

MY MIND IS A WELL
AND THE PAGEWORLD IS
ALWAYS THIRSTY:
HISTORY TIME SPACE’S
MOST PAINFUL IRRIGATION
SYSTEM: WRITING.
PUT OUT THE RUG, BOYS,
LIGHT THE FIREPLACE-LIGHT IT UP-
I NEED TO HAVE A LIE DOWN WITH YOU
AND I CAN’T SEE YOU-
YOUR FACES ARE ALL UNYET
AND CURRENTLY
YOUNG LOST OR SHRIEKINGLY
ALONE LIKE ME.

I CAN’T CHOOSE THE FUTURE
I AM
OVERWHELMED BY THE PRESENT-
SOME NIGHTS
THE PILLOW HITS ME LIKE A GUN-
I FALL HOLLOW
INTO SHAME
AT MY OWN INACTION
COWARDLY WORDLESSNESS.

IS THIS MY WOMB WRITING?
DAMN THIS SHOT.
NEXT TIME I ROLL AND GAMBLE-
MEN HAVE ONE LESS
ISSUE TO
CONQUER BEFORE
TAKING UP THE PEN.

(IF ONLY ALL SOUNDS
COULD CODDLE QUIET
LIKE A WATER HEATER
COFFEE POT, WATERTANK SINK.)
I COULD OPEN MYSELF
UP BY THE LID
AND TIP MYSELF OVER AND
NEVER CLEAN MYSELF OUT-
MILES AND A THOUSAND YEARS
OF THINGS TO DUMP.
ADULT EPIPHANIES
TAKE LIKE MEALS-
THEY REQUIRE PREPARATION, FAITH,
AND A HOT PLACE TO COOK THEM.

THIS NIGHT,
ALCOHOL IS MY WET-NURSE:
SOMERSAULT BIRTH-
GROWING MYSELF
AMPUTATION/REGENERATION:
A STRANGE NEW TWIST ON
THE MURDER-SUICIDE.

THE CRAZY UNCLE
NEVER RECOGNIZES
HERSELF-
JOE AND I AGREE,
THEN,
AT OUR FAMILIES’ ABSENCE
OF THEM
WE
ARE
THEY
(SHE).
SOON LOVEMAKING WILL BE
A RESTING PLACE FROM PANIC.
THERE ARE NOT WORDS, LOVER
(BOYS FORGIVE MY
BREAKING INTO THE PAST)
THERE WILL BE
THERE WILL BE
MAPS ARGUMENTS
RAIN AND CHAMPAGNE
BUT GOD HELP ME:
WHEN IS ENOUGH?

BOYS, TELL ME WERE YOU
BORN WITH THIS
HALF-MUSCLE HALF-WIT
COMPULSION
TO LEAK YOUR LETTED BLOOD
ONTO A STRANGER’S
SPARE PAPER?
THE KIND THAT YOU FIND IN
A KITCHEN DRAWER
OR ABANDONED
AT A BUS STATION
OR THE WHITE AD SPACES ON A NEWSPAPER
OR A RELATIVELY CLEAN NAPKIN
AFTER EVERYONE HAS LEFT THE  DINNER TABLE?

WHEN DID YOU ACKNOWLEDGE
THAT YOUR
HAIR IS A DISASTER,
AND A SOURCE OF COMEDY
TO OTHER PEOPLE
WHO WATCH YOU
AS, FEVERISH, YOU
WRITE?

WHEN DID
BLANK PAGES
BECOME
LIKE
DARES TO YOU-
WHEN DID YOU LEARN
THAT THIS CHALLENGE IS THROWN AT YOU
LIKE AN  UNEXPECTED CHILD
AND
KNOWING YOUR WOMB IS FULL OF WINE
AND
THAT EVEN MOTHER SAID
YOU’VE BEEN TELLING STORIES ABOUT BEARS AND SUCH
FOREVER.
BEFORE YOU KNEW YOUR ALPHABET
YOU SPOKE STORIES
AND BEFORE YOU KNEW YOUR GRAMMAR
YOU WROTE THEM
AND NOW SINCE
YOU’VE FORGOTTEN
YOUR GRAMMAR
YOU’VE WRITTEN SINCE-?
YOU WITH MORE THAN
YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH
HAVE FOLKS YOU MUST WRITE
OF AND TO
AND, OH, NO, BOYS,
AND OH
THAT SILLY APPLE SPICE
BOTTLE FROM
THE AFTERNOON
AND OH
CHARACTERISTIC DESPAIR.

WELL, BOYS,
REMEMBER WHEN YOU THOUGHT
THERE WAS NO ONE-?
REMEMBER NURSING
ME THROUGH MY FIRST STORY DEAL-
REMEMBER OH
DEAR GOD PLEASE SAVE ME
FROM FEMALE MYOPIA!
IT MUST BE 3AM
AND HERE I AM
REMEMBER THIS?
ALL THE BOYS
AT LEAST
WHOM I STILL
SEDUCED AS
AN OLD(ER) WOMAN-?
IT COULD WELL BE
4AM.
TONIGHT IT IS
IMPORTANT THAT I TRIED
I GAVE
I SANK
I DRANK.
SHE WILL DIE
ONE DAY
GODDAMNIT
AND I WILL
WRITE HER A
GRAND POEM:
A REASON TO PICK UP
THE TAB
WHERE SHE LEFT
OFF.
PLEASE EXIST, BOYS.
PLEASE KISS
MY WOUNDS
PLEASE LICK
MY BAD REVIEWS-
PLEASE
HELP ME PAY
MY GAS BILL
WHEN TRUTH IS
NOT FASHIONABLE.

PLEASE HELP ME HEAL FROM HIS MEMORY.

RUBBER WALL MEDITATION

Rubber Wall Meditation: My Joi De Vivre
(Previously published in INPATIENT Magazine)

Every day is a new disaster.  I feel as if I am going to break, unable to stand the little things that put life together and purport to be an image I am supposed to interpret.  Lamps are too bright,  floors too dirty.  My own body is work I revel in neglecting.  I hate to keep it up in its white soft austerity.  I remember, I must somehow, remember being a man too well not to leer at my own face, neck, spindly shoulders, archaic grace.  No one admires me but the old and the newly born.

Letting loose is letting go of the branch and trusting that there is no earth below to hurt you despite your well-learned illusion.  What  could be worse than gravity? I have miles of weed to tumble on through, and there is surely nothing I do better.  That which I fear is plain, is brown, is fading.  I like its fade above all things, above all fruitful human activity, above all things I can force interest in, or improve on.  I dangle my toe in what living should be.  It is a finger-painting tattletale superiority that drags me back to my outsider thoughts from childhood,  my first sharp encounters with a classroom setting:  These people can’t truly mean the colors they are wearing, or the ways they are using their digits, hands,  or how they’re turning their heads to watch something that cannot possibly be more interesting than what is going on outside the room.  They can’t mean the way they all crash into one another, gathering words in wheelbarrow loads, and putting them back in the wrong places, in awkward piles and making a mess of soft, green places that would just as soon be left in silence.  That people still tie their shoes amazes me. And I refuse to admit that anything (since I first observed a toaster and saw what electricity does to white sheets of bread and we call this morning) makes a shred of sense.  If a Creator were to design a world meant to kill all pretenses of normality it would be this one…

Writing is shuffling on through madness well.  I never intend to lose it.  It is my shiniest blue marble, it is my favorite sock I keep pennies in.  It is why I enjoy looping through the strangest childhood memories and why I pretend to enjoy getting drunk when no one is around.  It is B.J. Alexander climbing impossibly tall trees while his mother is busy naming his new sister Bethanie Anne in their dusty blue kitchen.  It is picking friends because you like playing in their sandboxes, and because they have that one Fischer Price doll with the jagged plastic skirt that looks like a faerie tutu, and returning to their homes because you like the soft green towels in their parents’ master bathroom.  It is sitting in your bedroom and realizing you wish there was another room in your apartment you could go to than actually exists.

It’s skipping on backwards through the times that slammed down onto your years in an odd way that has since made you, allowed and encouraged you, taught you how to forget how to touch walls as you enter rooms, and lick carpets and gaze at things that clutter the farthest corner or the nearest corner of a room that is none of your business, and reversing the damage, pulling yourself back through the now.  It’s wanting to be seduced because you don’t want to do any sexual work.  It’s needing a parasol for the sunchild inside of your head beside whom you sit quietly in the bright, bright world in the backs of your eyes and trying to get a clearer picture this time.