November 15, 2012

poem 422 of a poem a day for 2012




waiting for an old phone to ring

like an old science fiction television show
in computer binary code punch card arcade language
I wake up beneath an outcropping of rock
along a fierce river lined with jagged shores
this river is a deep and fast water and very clear
despite the speed of its flow around the small island it surrounds
it is dusk and I walk along a small path by a tiny marina
I step back onto the street level
it is across from an old cemetery amphitheater
I see a marquee with dusty glass doors beneath it
there are just a few people inside
there are old games scattered, mostly pinball
but I can here space invaders in the background
it all seems so familiar as the odd symmetry of fear
grips down along the outside parts of my sanity
why are the streets emptying near night
why does it seem like holographic stone age facades are covering the town
in the aimless brushstrokes of long extinct broad leaf gymnosperms
and strange rough carved rock meant to provide basic shelter
there is no one around and I find tall grass and mud to dig into
I bury myself until morning comes and I go back to the amphitheater
that seems part of a school I remember going to when it was 1982
I try to blend in, my gray beard isn't helping
I find a friend I had back then, I tell them I have aged
that I am from an alternate future
I ask them what is going on
high school isn’t how I remembered it
they look at me incredulously
as if this reality were always part of the continuum
it seems like life is the movies all the time here
and that the theater ushers are time keepers
and they can spot anyone out of place
and as all the locals now know  
a backwards time jumper is in their ranks
they instinctively know I am dangerous
to the way things are currently and that the people in charge
of this manufactured time will not want me wandering around
my friend tells me to hide at all times and to stay still at night
that escape from the island is impossible
that the marina is also a mirage as well
that geothermal wells keep the island warm
as it is surrounded by a desolate frozen desert, they say
the keepers feed insurgents and any insurrection to monsters of the id 
I am told by their eyes, that these monsters are always waiting
that they are just behind any thought that dares beyond this
that they are just behind the excitement of a world caught
in an endless game cycle with an infinite number of lives
I am spotted in the back of the theater smoking pot
with someone I once knew but has long since died
the ushers are rain jacketed intermediaries
and they see my mouth agape with my humanity lost
they come quickly, they are carrying uno cards
they tell me to shuffle them and to spirograph orbital patterns
with one hand while writing down the sequence of the shuffles
with the other and to wait until the oldest phone in town rings
it is an old black ma bell, near the desk 
where the trinket key chains are kept
and that if it does ring I get to go back to where I came from
with no memory of this but if doesn’t ring I never get to sleep again
knowing where I am and that I am to be incarcerated
with others like me who accidentally or purposely jumped
through squeezed elliptical geometric blooms to smell a way
back through any time where the future is stolen
with magnets, grainy images, bad lighting and intentions
they say, right then and there, that I can choose
to stay asleep in this world, fitting in like fingers in a glove
never needing love for comfort when iron bars
mimic wombs that I never have to leave to feel born again
outside the jaws of an ass inside wonderland


EJR ©

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