Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Roses on White Wallpaper

I got drunk twice

In a room

With roses

On white wallpaper


I remember the wallpaper

But the room?


The first time

I got drunk there

It was for a movie release party

But I couldn’t sit through

The movie


It was one of those

Long, lingering shot movies

Where I’m staring at a coffee cup

For twenty minutes

Wondering why the fuck

Anybody thought

This was going to interest me


I snatched a bottle

From the back of the open bar

While the bartender

Was flirting with somebody’s assistant

And I found myself in this room


Now, I can tell you

That there are roses

On the white wallpaper

But I know

I can’t do them justice


Because whoever painted these roses--


I mean, they were painted on


And the detailing

On the petals

And the little water droplets

Falling off

The petals


I was captivated


Three days later

I walk out of that room

And I tell myself--


I’m done

With drinking


Because once you’ve been

In a room like that

With wallpaper like that

You never want

To fuck yourself up again


And, you know,

That lasts for a few weeks


Then there’s another movie release party

At the very same house

And, by the way, I don’t have a fucking clue

Who lives in this house

I don’t even know

Who’s making these coffee cup movies

That nobody likes

But I’ll tell you

I was excited to get back in that room

With the white wallpaper


But I went looking around
And I couldn’t find it


This house is huge, babe

It is--


Hallways on hallways

On hallways


Like that fuckin’ hotel

In ‘The Shining’


So what do I do?


I retrace my steps


I snatch a bottle

While the bartender

Is hitting on

Somebody’s wife

This time around

But I can’t control

All the circumstances

And I go stumblin’

And--Bam!


Back in the room


And this time I’m drunk

And I’m touchin’ the roses

I’m putting my nose

Up against them

I’m trying to smell them

And I’m telling myself

I can

I can smell them

Like I’m some kind

Of Willy Wonka


Then I’m ripping at it

I have to have it

I have to have this wallpaper

For what?

I don’t have walls

I don’t have a house

I don’t even have coffee cups

To make movies about


But I tear down the wallpaper

And I go running

And when I wake up

A few days later

Dried out

I know

For real this time

That I’m never going to drink again

And there I am

Laying in the middle of an empty

In-ground pool

Covered

In roses

Monday, January 18, 2021

Prince Daffodil and His Very Large Nose

Prince Daffodil had been born

With the biggest nose

Anybody in the kingdom

Had ever seen


This had been foretold

By the village foreteller

Who told anyone who would listen

That the next prince

Would have quite the proboscis

But unfortunately

This was before dictionaries

So nobody knew

What a proboscis was


You see, when the Prince’s father, the King

Was courting his mother, the Queen

He could not win her favor

And so he went to the kingdom’s most noteworthy

Love Fairy, deep in the forest

To ask for her help


She took pity on the lovestruck royal

And told him that he could win the heart

Of his beloved

And all he would have to do

Is step on the tail of her cat


Well, unbeknownst to the King

The Love Fairy was also a bit of a trickster

And she knew that the cat

Was actually the kingdom’s wizard

Posing as a cat

To look after the Princess


When the King stepped

On the cat’s tail

The cat transformed back

Into a wizard

And he was furious


He told the King

That the worst punishment

Would not be

Preventing the Princess

From falling in love with him

But instead

He would grant the King’s wish

Allow the Princess to fall for the King

And then one day

When they had a son

He would have the biggest nose

In the kingdom

But would not know it


Now, the King and future Queen

Kept this to themselves

But the foreteller foretold it

Nonetheless


The King assumed

The evil wizard was just

Trying to scare him

Because how could someone

Not know

The size of their own nose?


But the Prince was born

With a very large nose

And so as not to make him feel strange

His mother, the Queen,

Ordered that nobody should remark to him

About how unusual the size of his schnozz was

And that he would only be allowed

To play with children

Who also had large noses

And the men and women of the court

Would often tug on the noses

Of their children

To try and enlarge them

So they could become friendly

With the future ruler of the kingdom


Not only did the Prince

Not realize his nose was too big

But, in fact, he grew to believe

That his nose was beautiful

And that he was a very handsome young man


When he was old enough to marry

He was sent a photo

Of a princess from a neighboring kingdom

And while he found her

To be very pretty

He had to admit

That her nose seemed to be very small


His mother assured him

That small noses

Are appealing in many parts of the world

And the Prince agreed to marry the Princess

Should she have him

And when she was sent news

Of the Prince’s interest

She quickly consented to the match


The Prince traveled to the kingdom

To meet his new bride

But when he arrived

And saw her

Suddenly, the evil wizard appeared

Grabbed the princess by the hand

And disappeared

Into thin air


Prince Daffodil was devastated

He traveled to the forest

To find the Love Fairy

And ask for her help

In retrieving his love


By now, the Love Fairy

Was very old

Even by fairy standards

And she had to wear glasses

That kept slipping down her nose


The Prince thought

That her nose was far too small

And that was why her glasses

Kept slipping down

But when he remarked to her

That she would do better

With a nose like his

She commented to him

That his nose was far too big

And the two of them were both upset for a moment

Before they burst out laughing

At how each thought the other

Would prefer a different nose

When they were both perfectly happy

With the nose they had


The Love Fairy cannot bring back

His beloved princess

But she encourages him

To ride around looking for her

And that’s exactly what he does


The trouble is

Wherever he goes

People tell him

That his nose

Is far too large

Which he does not believe at all

And he assumes

That the world outside

The castle he grew up in

Is made up mad people

With noses

That are insufficient

And tiny


The Queen summons

Her old friend, the wizard

Who was pretending to be a cat

And demanded

That he give back

Her son’s betrothed


The wizard is very cross

But he agrees to return the princess

But only if Prince Daffodil

Recognizes his own shortcomings


The Queen thinks

This will be very difficult

As he has not been raised

To believe there is anything wrong with him


While she saw the value in that at the time

Because she did not want her child

To grow up feeling badly about him

She could also see that sometimes

A person must be made aware of their shortcomings

So they do not grow to believe

That they are perfect

Since even princes have their flaws


The evil wizard puts the princess

In a glass home

And creates a storm

That moves Prince Daffodil

Towards the glass home


When he arrives there

He has a feeling

That the princess is inside

But when he approaches the home

He sees, for the very first time,

His reflection

As other people would see it


‘My goodness,’ he exclaims, ‘I have a very large nose!’


Just then

The glass home shatters

And the princess runs to him

And the two embrace

And travel back to the prince’s kingdom together


Prince Daffodil and his new wife

Are very happy together

And while he still likes his nose

Just the way it is

He understands that not everyone sees him

The way he sees himself

And that he should never assume

Someone is not as attractive as him

Just because of what he has been told

About himself


And this is how the Prince

With the very large nose

Not only found love

For himself

But love for others

As well

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Santa Barbara Days

I don’t miss

Santa Barbara


I got in a car

And I got out


Simple as that


Everybody goes--


‘Oh, it’s so beautiful

Such a beautiful place

How could you leave

A place like that?’


You think there aren’t--


I feel like--


Like saying to them--


You think there aren’t

Bad situations

In beautiful places?


You think the nice weather

And the nice houses

And the nice people

Mean you can’t get messed up there?


I woke up every day
Like my chest was on fire

And I’d sit down for breakfast

And my mother would ask me

What was wrong

And I didn’t know


I didn’t know anything

I only knew

That I wanted

A few thousand miles

Between me

And everything else

I was waking up to

Every day


I was choking

On all that good air


Gave myself six weeks

To go as far as I could

And then once I hit Boston

That was it


I landed


Then for years

I heard--


‘Why are you here?’


Why be anywhere?


When you live

Where you were born

People know you

And that made me feel like

I couldn’t ever

Be anyone else


Once you’re in a new place

Day one

You set all the terms


You’re this

You’re that

You’re smart

You’re nice

You’re happy

Because you tell people

You’re happy


And once they believe it

They look at you

Like they believe it

And then you believe it

And that’s how

You get happy


I came from a happy place

Full of happy people

Who all took one look at me

And knew I wasn’t happy

And I was never going to be happy


So it didn’t matter

What I tried to do with myself

They knew who I was going to be

For as long as I was there


So I don’t miss Santa Barbara


I miss the breakfast sandwich

At the place I used to go to

With my Dad on Sunday’s


I miss the choir

At the church

We went to

After breakfast


I miss not knowing

It was February

Because it was too nice out

To think about things

Like seasons

Or time year


But a place is just a place

Is just a place

Is just a place


You can take it

Or leave it

Or leave it all behind


Just depends

On how fast

You’re willing

To drive


And how much

You’re ready

To forget