Saturday, February 15, 2014
Steel my Poem...(@dogtrax #rhizo14)
Random remains of his intent had been scrawled pele-mele, in the rush to get away, in a scruffy note-pad. They now lay skulking among the oddments in an over-full travel bag.
Journey-weary, I glanced distractedly at those lines. "Steal my poem", I read. Steel my poem, I felt. A city glowed beyond the steamed up window. No, it wouldn't reveal itself.
Standing shakily against the carriage door, I held on tight to his words. From the page to the passing lights, to the track, to my eyes, it made no sense. No, he spoke again.
I watched as his words stretched out down the line. It was made up when I left, to be broken pitifully now. I had cheated him of his last breath. He was alone.
His poetry, sketched a track-scape, a lens through which I mis-read.
I reread, again: "Steel my poem."
Then it shuddered, we turned a bend.
"Tinker against type,
Tinker against type,
Tinker against type."
I opened the window to catch breath.
He was a wretched poet posing as painter. His ink tinted the night, tainted my flight with its insistence.
I had left him, shackled to his work, shackled to his plight. "God damn him!"
There was no turning back.
The train sped on towards an uncertain terminus.
His words tumbled down the pane.
Spattering, splattering, blurring my sight.
He was lying now. He had cheated me, he had stolen my space. Robbed me of my piece.
I ripped out the note-pad.
"Steel my poem, give it a home,
Steel my poem, give it a home.
Break it, trip it, rip it apart.
Ink it, trace it, make it our art."
A flight of fancy had brought an inkling of sense. Now he was gone, he was gone, consumed by a distance.
I had paid my debt.