Died Singing

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At 9 am holding a sponge bloated with soap and water
I burst into tears imagining my life without the constant torment
Of my relationship with alcohol
My arms became weak and more realizations entered
About what I was afraid of
What was beautiful in my village
What gave stories necessity
It was the personality I have
Oh it was myself
John Cassavetes knew something about me
In all those scenes when someone forces someone else to sing
There is a dark interpretation to the sweetest song
The children gathering seaweed
The unreliable narrator you follow to the riverbed
Reading meaning in the garbage
Flowers growing in the garbage
My heart has been totally eclipsed with an unhealthy need

Through the countryside I’ve been dragging this shovel
I will drag until I find the right clay for building a bell

My hero designed the ugliest restaurant I’ve ever laid eyes on
My captain told me I’m only a transmitter for other things
Feed the dogs
Give the demons to the pigs
Wear a simple garment
God will forgive you
That’s not your job

I love these drums
I am so pure of heart I didn’t believe in evil until it befell me
Women gather at the fountain
Small radios hung from their necks
Men laid down to rest on rugs with intricate patterns
Kim said she has learned remarkable things by living
Receiving hostility with no motivation
Withstanding forces of love
The clay became pliable as my hands warmed it
More red than brown
Many hands dedicated their heat to the red bell
In dreams I pursued the bell until
my waking life took on the quality of a ringing
The contour of all sounds added pressure
Under which I was compelled to submit
To the sharp rim of the bell
The tongue inside it being swung by a strong angry man
With ginger on his breath

It comes down to a few things
Vessels and bags
Every crude tool
Every day a friend to tell
Raphael’s fresco
The two angels flanking
And his manic episode a few years ago
And you’re told they have the knowledge of the causes of things
And they tell you where to look
And you’re told to have fun with it
You there at the limits
Having your breakdown in the kitchen with the whole day ahead


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The night, you know the one, I was waiting for Masochism.

When I was married, I waited, when I forgot I was married, when I suddenly
wasn’t married, I was waiting for Masochism. When I was alone.
When I found someone else.

When I read the poem saying I had to.

I was waiting for Mascochism when I sat at the table at the party, flicking
cigarette ash into the melting wax of a citronella candle, telling a story
about a time I was waiting for Masochism.

That story, then another, about still another time I was waiting. I watched

I have felt every emotion it’s possible for me to feel. I had that fear as I
waited, but I never told anyone. It was too early, and it never felt any later.

Sometimes, not often enough to call it often, I found out I had been
spectacularly wrong.

I started waiting the moment I heard it was coming.

I rushed home from the party, tore open the drawer where I keep my
computer and started writing this poem, realizing all I had done while I
waited for Masochism.

I saw the way years had colors, tinted like TV shows.

I had a pale blue year, a yellow light year, green sickly year, reddish brown

While I was waiting for Masochism I wanted a cobalt year, I wanted a red
year, fresh blood red.

I had slept while waiting, eaten endless meals. I had worked so many
hours. I had loved the children. I took care of them lovingly while
I waited.

I gave them my attention. I gave nearly all of it away, but kept a small part
of my attention for myself, for waiting.

I had been happy. I had been told by the man on the roof I’m not going to
fuck you tonight, but I am going to fuck you, and I believed him, for days,
then weeks, then months. After that year I stopped believing him, but I
didn’t stop waiting for Masochism.

I told people that line, I’m not going to fuck you tonight, but I am going to
fuck you, which I recited as I waited for Masochism. I said it to them over
drinks, in the dark, over coffee, in a loud room with bright light. He said
that. Can you believe it? I mean, what would you do?

I missed him while I waited.
I asked people to imagine so I wasn’t the only one imagining.

Sometimes I forgot I was waiting, but I always remembered again. Became
aware of the fact that I was waiting. Often it was because I had met
someone else and over time, sometimes very little time and sometimes
longer, I learned they were waiting for Masochism too.

When it looked like it wouldn’t come, I waited. When the girl was hurt, I
was patient, but I was still waiting.

At times the waiting was harder. Or it was as natural as breathing.

Waiting for Masochism woke me to all the other things I might be waiting

And always someone would bring it up.

Yes, Masochism, I’m waiting for that too.

I’ve been waiting so long.

We’ve done a lot to each other while we waited.

Music came out, year after year, and I loved so much of it. I sang so much.
Why don’t you say forever love? Forever’s just so far. I sang, but still, while
I sang those songs, I waited for Masochism.

While I waited for it I took solace in the strangest things.

Since there were so many people, there must be at least one other who
woke up some mornings with this pressure in their chest, close to their
throat, that they knew could be turned into a song.

There must be another who walked out to the living room and picked
up the guitar they had only just started learning to play, feeling like they
could just touch the pick to the steel strings and that song might come

I imagined those songs without knowing how to imagine music and
waited for Masochism. I waited.

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