From a Window Overlooking the Charles River or Splinters By Tristan Bouchard
From a Window Overlooking the Charles River or Splinters By Tristan Bouchard
Dedicated to Michael, Rosanne and Kevin
Text copyright ©2012 Tristan Bouchard All Rights Reserved
Contents Splinters Prison Letter from Mama Prison Letter from George French Alps (Some Movie) Blunt Objects Ooze The Ledge In a Hotel Thoughts With My Head in the Sink Ink Almost Maine Quantum Physics The Laughter Room Spiders Overtime Redemption Song
Splinters I called it a splinter, It was really a stone- Jammed in my toe, Nearly touching a bone. The nurses said “Really, It’s the tiniest of shots- You blink and it’s over, Doesn’t hurt a lot.” This new woman- she’s not a nurse. She’s not a doctor, doesn’t speak in verse. All confidential, with some glaring exceptions: ‘The Manic’s Oath’ I hear myself call it. “Unless you’re in a position to hurt yourself, Or others, is that clear?” As a bell. Carry on. I don’t belong here. So, ‘stress, possible anxiety, With depressive symptoms’ Written with kindness- she knows how I shudder At the awkward ‘A’ word. “We can call it whatever you like then,” So how about Fred? ‘Stress, possible Fred, with depressive symptoms.’ He’s a dapper old fellow who won’t let me speak.
He spills out everything; he’s nothing but bundled texture He says “but” when I say “and”. We should be silent, we should be caring. Nothing practical here ‘cept to clean up my shoes. I call it a splinter, When I know it’s a bruise.
Prison Letter from Mama George, George, my only George, Come home to Mama, come home to Mama. I’d say “best behave”, But it won’t help you anymore. I heard she was a pretty girl… She married young and she was safe…
Prison Letter from George Mama, have you ever seen a dead ladybug? Not one you’ve crushed, Not one you’ve drowned, But one that’s been in the sun Right side up, or upside down? All the color is gone, legs caved in. Sawdust and ivory colored, like us. Just like us. I find it funny Mama To think of the dead, The hung, crushed, choked, gasping bastards Who turn red, red, red.
French Alps (Some Movie) ... as if I’m waiting for The Big Director in the Sky To yell, “CUT! Show’s over, everyone UP!” Four bullets in each head With some nutter still on the loose. Suspect Harry, Michael, Steve or George? I’m furiously at the clapperboard. More disturbing- ? Watching you bend over backward To prove there’s a plan. “The whole scene was scripted, So they’re better off dead.”
Blunt Objects To each his own god. Your god wants you to give up Everything- While her god simply adores your taste in Curtains and chandeliers. You there- your god says to burn the Witch. And your god would banish me for what I’ve Done. Or haven’t done. My best friend, the one with the long long hair- Well, her god could care less. I thought I knew my loved one’s god As the one who sits and watches, But apparently I’m wrong, or not quite right. So what does the little boy, The one who stares up at the big sky- The one who tries killing ooze with a pocketknife, Make of all this mess? I’ll say… some movie…
Ooze How does truth mutate in a cage? It can slip through the bars With the taste of your honest meat. Or feed it nothing, It still finds plenty to eat. Junk mostly- so it oozes out, bending bars, Pulling in splinters and ripping through scars. From a window’s ledge overlooking the Charles River, I stare at it for days- Ashamed.
The Ledge Automatic. Like a switch. Cake-baking mother to Cold-hearted bitch. Lining up my seasoned years Here, here, here and here, I see they’re fuel for volcanoes ever-brimming, Fuel for thoughts sinking and swimming. First I’m clean. Second, I’m stained. Next, I’m dirty. Tarnished. Damaged, and finally Ruined. Leaping from ledge to ledge I’ve little time for bridges. Automatic. Like your mouth. I’m extreme and extremely good with reflex.
In a Hotel Silently drifting on the cusp of discovery, I open my hand to an indifferent will. Silent perhaps, but I’m begging for more, More from the bastard on the 17th floor. He’s on his hands and knees like a spider in waiting, But torn down the middle from swallowing wasps. And he’s crying- well what am I to do? And he lunges at me- well where else should I move? He spills out everything; he’s nothing but bundled textures. Nothing practical here ‘cept to clean up my shoes. And the remnants of hope I had thrown in the river Continue to be saturated with near-endless carnage, Leaving very little excitement, let alone purposeful clarity To bask in.
Thoughts With My Head in the Sink So… hmmm… Juvenile. A juvenile mouse, Yet with the awareness of a hawk, I’m swooping down, gobbling me down. I’m nobody on an empty stomach, Knowing little of coffee or bread. I serve myself a mouse surprise, Silly ribbed, newly dead. It doesn’t sit in my stomach. It doesn’t sit at all. Trying to devour my silly past, silly work, silly voice, Mhmm… I vomit it all back up.
Ink This utter blankness. When words are cars on a highway And details become solid As if I’m always staring at grey Whenever you spew out ink And your mouth becomes black Always writing what you think So that I’ll be ready like paper To be soaked to a bone. Let me hang let me dry When I crisp let me alone.
Almost Maine “Maybe next year we’ll go to the Cape.” We don’t. “Perhaps we’ll be rich, buy a big white house.” We won’t. “Tomorrow I’ll stand up to your big bad father.” You don’t. “And give a talking-to to your too pretty mother.” You won’t So- stop. “You were there for me, I’ll be there for you,” Is that a reason to do what you do? Nothing more, not my clinging to cliffs? Nothing passionate, not the taste of my lips? I know that my mind knows more than I do. It’s decided exactly which direction to move. Au revoir to free will- you thought you had it too. You- The quietest mouse- do you know what you do? The Cape sounds like hell, the house sounds like hell. My mother can cry, my father can yell, Oh they yell and scream much louder than you. You- The quietest mouse- do you know what you do?
Quantum Physics (Too Optimistic) My Russian roulette is lacking free will Like a blue or red pill. So it’s said, so they say. Immortality? All we ever do then is split, split, split? Yet all we ever do now is here, here, here? A universe where Virginia Woolf decided “I’ll only take a swim today” And nothing more? If then- If I then keep pulling the trigger All I’ll ever hear is click, click, click- And never go into darkness. I’ll get to see the ones who came before me Who learned to live without croaking. Is heaven in the split? Funny how the Church would deny me heaven. But in the split, have the churches fallen? Maybe they never, ever, ever stood up. Davis could be playing bebop, But I’m still feeling blue. Too optimistic then, To murder us two?
The Laughter Room (1) It’s a room built of guilt- Foundation of jokes- brittle stuff. One wall is a screen With a flexible, tranquilizing recliner. “But relax- this isn’t A Clockwork Orange. Relax here. Because you’ve will in this room. Entertain yourself to death.” Red red red. I watch myself go in and out of here- I’m getting to know its architecture well. “It’s a phase- some kind of food sickness,” Well maybe, just maybe you’re right. These blood vessels burst in my eyes from its sheer force. (2) Why are my feet so cold? A warm shower- they’re still wet. And why are my hands so old? The room’s a sticky sauna- they’re still wet. I’m assuming so much now About the birds and the bees and the mind and the brain. When I bury myself in these books, little hooks, It’s like stepping out in the rain.
(3) Indelible- a word I didn’t know Temporarily. And now it’s indelible- Can’t see it another way. “A matter of perspective,” you say From the recliner. Are you forgetting my sore eyes? Tired- they’re tired of taking in Waterfalls. Eyes as dams- But my mouth- lazy gatekeeper. Taking bribes, hitting strides, Circling the Laughter Room. Hanging hooks, avoiding looks, Releasing torrents and torrents Upon torrents and torrents of Hates. Words. Curses. Spites. Ringing down the narrow halls. Fall down. Down. Further down. Land in a tree, 2003. There we are- looking up at the stars. I hear myself, see myself breaking your heart. You wished on a star.
I told you it was dead. And I laughed. And I laughed. You put your hands to your head. Tearing you to pieces- putting you in one of your funks, While the fallen me is silent Up here in a trunk. (4) “Glad you’re back, why don’t you take a seat? It’s nice and warm, and I’ve got plenty to eat. Mostly junk, see me oozing and breaking through bars? Stop pulling your splinters out, you’re just leaving scars.”
The Spider Wise men are scared of spiders. One crawls along, down. Down. I was told if I kept reading, Kept learning and growing, That I wouldn’t be scared That I wouldn’t be scarred. Funny the instincts we keep from the apes. The fears and the gears we’ve learned are innate Make no difference. “I heard she was a pretty girl. She married young and she was safe. Time went by, it took its time And now she’s dead and that was all.” No.
Overtime How long is the overtime? It comes down to the moment in between heartbeats. Clarity, gravity pulls the subtle grease off the shelf. There were roses from proms that I spent in the bathrooms. There were clocks and alarms I’m endlessly waking up to. Coffee and bread that was hidden from view, Falls down with a rock and a small swallow statue. Books upon books from Albee to Zajonc. I’ve been here before, had this dream before. Dream as hope, something featherless Waving around. Magician with a tablecloth, Yet these things all fall down. Retrieving a smile I was told was irretrievable. Basking in some excitement I was told was indelible. Hope as moments, something overriding Turning around. Boy with a pocketknife Can smile like a clown.
Redemption Oh fallen tree, we’ve made way for the light. You’ve stood as high as I And have fallen as hard as I Yet still we make way for the light. No one heard us fall. No, no one stood us up again. Man has molded us for his desire- Yet still we make way for some light. Oh fallen tree, can we be redeemed? Can our separated pieces, these ghosts Make a difference to anyone? Do you feel free now that they’ve written on you? I’m sorry if you don’t. I am sorry. Yet since we’ve made light in this wild forest We must have done some good. We must have done some good.
Tristan Bouchard is a Boston based writer and musician. He hopes you are doing okay.