lunes, 29 de agosto de 2011


for & after JG

I’m proud of my expensive scrapbook,
so I flaunt it to my friends.
It’s bigger than theirs
and looks like it doesn’t need repairs.

“How’s your scrapbook?” someone asks at a reading.

“Fine!” I chirp up,
jumping at the chance
to extol the many virtues of my scrapbook.

Pretty soon a circle gathers
and everyone’s discussing its size,
editorial control, the artwork, the sheer lettuce
it takes to put the damn thing out.
If someone stays in a corner
someone else might notice and ask about theirs:
they never want to talk about it.
So they join in, chirping you-don’t-says,
and isn’t-that-amazings and

By the time I get home
I’m exhausted from bringing up
the subject of my scrapbook.
I get home and there it is,
not much on humility or balance
or good artists without the money
to study scrapbookery with me.
It’s all sub-culture, all glitz-trimming
and illusory contours, not even bothering to cover
up the cliquey pandering of the maintenance quota lining.

Late at night
when no one’s looking,
I’m embarrassed and ashamed of the damn thing,
kick it across the room
and stub my toe,
then toss it into the fireplace.
Maybe even burn it.

But I’m unwilling to fix it, and
even though I use it to meet women,
I am a man who wakes up depressed, lonely,
frustrated, who tries to burn his scrapbook,
his expensive shiny scrapbook.
And I haven’t the courage to do even that.

Imagine burning one’s scrapbook.
The shame would haunt me the rest of my career.
So after a while I pull it out of the fireplace,
dust it off and put it on the mantle and go to bed,
hearing its weeping throughout the night,
the low short moan just before daybreak.

My expensive scrapbook.

This poem is part of an unpublished manuscript called SONGS & ECHOES ~ The Pastiche Poems. Pastiche poems are those written in the style of another poet. 
© 1992 Hakim - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: use without profit allowed only with author’s express written permission. Please don't wake up my attorney. Please.


– for & after Tommy Swerdlow

How long can you wait

for the time to be right?

How long can you hide

in a silk mask of dreams

while the ticking tide of nightfall

bleeds the days out of your veins?

How long?

Street corners press your feet

and the women hurry by

evening cracks its knuckles

and you know you are alone.

How long?

The women swim around you

trailing several smells

and you wonder

if the brunet in spikeheels

knows the only question

or even the address

of a solid mental breakdown

as you walk in the neck of a cosmic disease.

You’re dizzy with the power

of this moving female mass:

actresses & secretaries

Cinderella’s sisters

streetful working girls

Athena on the rise

linguistics’ oldest teachers

and girls named for the moon.

Or those longthighed pinklipped schoolgirls

we hunt for absolution

going home to daddy

or a slice of cathode pie.

How long can you wait for her

to break through your looking mind

in a salient spark of flesh,

thrown down by lariat eyes

with a single twist around

your stumbled boyhood horns.

You hoped that she could change you –

but she’s late she is not coming

and now the street is empty

except for Van Gogh’s cab.

(One door is missing

and the driver’s always storming

about crowbars in the cornbelt.)

How long?

Until you waken sweating

with those dreams that fleck your skin?

Like the hot dried sweat of woman

and the tide of truth she holds,

this smell that nerves out something

from your Viennese valise,

some taste

remote & long forgotten

with a root deep in your past,

like the Hassidic revisionism

crashing in your skull.

But what you will become

can never be the things you were.

How long?

Til you see

that the only thing she’s hidden

is the orbit of her smile

in a breeze that drinks the leaves

of one morning’s gentlest tree.

And that’s how long.

© 2002 Hakim - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: use without profit allowed only with author’s express written permission. Please don't wake up my attorney. Please.