Thursday, May 21, 2009

This won’t hurt a bit. I don’t want anything from you that would be of value to anyone else.
I have slithered out of my world of frequent-flyer miles and hostile takeovers to inhabit the rayon space between reality and America. Between my boxcar and my cubicle.
In this cube of existence where everything is angles and protuberances, I want only that which is soft, malleable, easily manipulated.
I hope you weren’t expecting anything from me but to be that thing which breaks the red, silences the scream but for a moment.
Please don’t feel any desire to change me.
It won’t be reciprocated.
What I have lost is nothing I have not given over.
My life, like yours, was not taken from me but auctioned off.
Craigslist, E-bay, these are the chalices of meaning in this sphere of frost.
We have sought to find our worth in the bright light of commerce and instead have become that which is sold, hung on the hook of morality displayed with all the contempt it deserves and the worship it requires.
Show me that you don’t care, please.
When I wake, I will shatter the glass with a bellow upon seeing you there.
We will then mount our horse together and escape ourselves before we’ve had the chance to ignore one another.
I don’t know you, intimately


Paul said...

Tony, thanks for your comments. I enjoyed the way you have woven the stress of economics with the reality of love. I definitely connected with the feeling of your poem. At the end it spoke of escaping together. As if the stress of everyday life is an obstacle for true love to blossom. Atleast that is what I took from it. I cannot think of anything more that you could of expanded on. To me it seemed like a more complete version of something I would want to write!

chloe said...

It seems like Tony has done this before. "Rayon space" is my new, favorite metaphor; how intriguing! I read this piece several times before I realized how densely packed it is with monetary references to illustrate how people "commodify" their own behavior & their every relationship. Every give-and-take exchange has taken on the characteristics of commerce. Even those of us without business or economics training do, perhaps subconsciously, evaluate the potential cost & benefit of every action, simply out of a self-preservation instinct (not pure greed). In that sense, we are all materialists. The writer of this poem (maybe Tony, maybe some alter-persona) is trying to be fair literally: to get from a relationship no more than he puts into it. And yet, this has a "cost:" intimacy.

sallylynn said...

Dear (title-less) Tony ~

This poem, with its strong political critique mixed with romance/love poem (or anti-love poem -- with at least a "you" and "I" relationship implied), is really fantastic, and both of these subjects allow you access to worlds of vocabulary that can then collide and contrast with one another and enrich one another. From the opening line, which is clinical and scary ("This won't hurt a bit") and medical, to the line, "Show me that you don't care please," and "I don't know you, intimately," you manage to take on a much larger subject than the lovers in the painting -- both a superficiality in relationships and the mechanisms in place (internet, commerce) that support that superficiality. Your strongest lines are those that borrow from the language of commerce or business or medicine and twist those into a language of relationships. Thus, lines and phrases like "between my boxcar and my cubicle," "my cube of existence," and "auctioned off" become vivid, strange (in the sense that their usual meaning is turned), and wonderfully sad. Keep zeroing in on this kind of language to develop a stronger sense of location, a continuing metaphor, to give the reader a footing and a world to inhabit, as well as the continuing paradox of "not knowing, intimately."

Keep thinking about line break and space in the poem, too -- the whole block of a poem without breaks works here to be more overwhelming, but what would happen if these lines were in neat little boxes?

Great work, Tony.