Poetry by A J Lewis
Yes I am a poet, as if the world needed another, right? Well, as you will discover (if you haven’t already), I am good at this craft. I like to type on the computer or typewriter when I write (whatever meets my mood at the time). I am honest and to the point, meaning I am not afraid to say what I think. I like walks in the park and late night phone conversations. I like to read Bukowski when I take a shit on the toilet and Rilke when it rains. I think that Snyder is brilliant. I know that there is a God, but I have serious doubts about organized Christian religion. I am a Pisces, which means I am moody, emotional and sensitive. I like to drink vodka in the afternoon, but don’t call me a drunk, because I can out drink any of you little shits. I am not athletic, but I exercise occasionally. I am a vegetarian. I write to get this loud voice of poetry out of me and into words. Please… only the serious should read on. I am not interested in the boring, mundane, average or the needy. I am not attempting to be a hero, nor am I a role model. I am just a poet with an honest voice. I am awaiting your reaction to my poetry.
I would still write these
and if you said that these poems are awful
I would reply “hardly,”
and if you said that I am no good at this
I would tell you to “fucking get lost!”
these are not so much for you as
they are for me.
this is why I have been taking my
I guess some may do it for fame
but I am content sitting here with the lights dimmed
drinking warm vodka and
breaking myself at this typewriter.
the public interest here has been minimal
and I guess someday the natural progression will be
that you will read my poems.
in the meantime,
I will still be a good poet,
and now to finish
I will end this poem in true DIY style:
please send to the address listed
as a donation to feed a
summer is over
and a cool breeze moves in through the patio door;
the palm leaves outside sway and come alive
against the quiet moon of
something is happening here in me –
a memory is surfacing –
and I hear wind chimes
and I remember the Autumn that I spent with her,
of course now long over,
but I have not thought of her for years.
and time passed
and we stopped spending those quiet moments staying up at night
walking in the night air.
and it saddens me
that she reminds me
of the opposition that I have with people – that all of my life
have seemed to keep me at a distance:
never really being my friend, always intrigued by me to use me
and then to move on.
ah, but she seemed different and special then
and she ignited a passion in me.
now this memory has progressed forward
and I recall the last real conversation that we had together
when she told me what she thought of me
and left me there on the cement steps
to wonder why I am
who I am
and why she could no longer accept me.
several years later I was telling a friend about her
and he suggested that I go knock on her door to say hello.
we were out driving, and against my better judgment,
we showed up at her house.
the lights were off and the house looked cold
like a familiar ghost.
no one was home.
when I got back into my car
I looked in my rear view mirror as we drove away
and I watched her dark house slowly disappear into the night.
and I see now
that was exactly how I left it
the first time.
the shades are drawn shut
on this hot Saturday afternoon.
and I am here
sipping beer (for better or worse),
wondering when this summer will end.
the memories have come to me today
and I have been all around myself:
to San Diego with my brother for a Zwan concert…
walking blind drunk in the afternoon through the reservation…
playing in snow when I was seven…
laying in the pool as a monsoon blows through…
without a job… without a care…
leaving her house that afternoon when I was 16
and the rain was pouring down…
being chased by a pack of dogs in Mexico…
gambling in Las Vegas…
writing under a mesquite tree…
discovering rock music at age 14…
playing in the street at age six at my parent’s first home…
a small house made of red brick…
wandering through caves along the Colorado river…
starting high school… starting college…
missing my grandfather’s last goodbye…
yes, today I have been playing with these thoughts,
and I have been wondering about my story
and about who I am.
if all of me were to be retold
I could only hope for some sort of happy ending.
I know that all of this will someday end
and the summer season will keep on
with or without
as children smile
and the sun sets and rises again.
waiting and wondering today on this Saturday afternoon…
the summer heat is unbearable.
I had this dream the other night
that I was on a planet somewhere out in space
and it was like earth
but barren, as if death was happening all around me.
in my dream
the sun in the solar system was dying,
so the life on the planet was dying also.
the only recognizable structure was my childhood house
which I had all of my worldly possessions in.
fortunately my parents had a space ship,
and they were packing up the most important items onto it.
I was told that we had to leave,
and we could never come back.
this was terribly hard for me to accept.
so I began grabbing for one item, and then another, and more and more
until I could hardly carry it all. I took walks through the house,
visiting my old bedroom, then looking through things I had forgotten about.
time was going quickly, so I couldn’t afford myself the proper effort
to get all that I wanted onto the ship. I had to make a decision.
when it came down to it
I ended up taking just a few things.
everything else I left behind.
as my family and I were leaving, I got to watch
through a view screen
the planet slowly becoming a gray wasteland,
shrinking in size as we flew away.
before I fell asleep and had this dream,
I remember thinking about how much of my life I really don’t control.
for the last few years I have given into my desires
with little regard for the consequences,
and I have lived by the motto: do what you have to do.
on the surface this logic works quite well,
but in retrospect it has been failing me.
you see, I have been living on that dying planet
with all of my time consumed in the memories of the past.
and maybe, when I do move on (and in some sort of new beginning),
I can re-discover the person inside of me
that I have been hiding from
and whom I have been slowly drowning
I never really open up to a person
unless I trust a person, and when this happens
a kind of diarrhea of my soul drowns us both,
revealing parts of me that are inclusive to my inner workings.
it is intense and it is honest
and sometimes even a bit exaggerated,
and nothing momentarily feels as good as getting empathy
from a person whose attention you’ve taken
for an afternoon chat at a restaurant
or a 2am conversation on the phone.
I used to talk to this girl about spirituality,
religion, the occult,
and sometimes even about “us.”
she was a good listener
and at some points in our dating
I think she genuinely cared about me.
I remember a conversation I had with her back in 1996.
God, that was not a good year for me –
too much of everything;
which seemed to fit so well with our conversation of
how we would belong together in the future.
ah yes, ignorance is bliss.
I have heard this tired cliché too many times,
and ironically it fit me so well then
as love was a simple thing for me to understand,
never having taken that into me.
and so I blindly put it into her,
making love, thinking that’s what it was,
milking the ecstasy, and believing the fantasy of being together
did it last forever? no.
I have re-lived it a hundred times: going back,
making wrong decisions, trying to make it right, battling the carelessness
of being young, until I was sick of it all,
replaying it over-and-over in my mind:
cringing, hating, regretting, losing sleep, and all of it caused
because of those tempting moments of our passion.
this, I have come to know, is the tragedy of the heart.
once I took myself into her
I don’t think that I have ever
come back into myself.