Sitting Behind the House

Sitting behind the house, smoking my last cigar before I abandon my native country, I see the light inside burst in recurring shades of blue, but I can not hear what’s on the TV. In the smoke I see my future, my destiny, my delusions of grandeur taking form, and dissipating. Will my name be more important than my words, will the titles of the things I write remain subscript under the ego, in huge black letters across the cover? How long will I remain living, thinking that ambition is worth more creation, that unfulfilled dreams carry more value than the excuses of circumstance?

Sitting behind the house, in the one chair afforded the small area under the deck, I read poetry written in the 80’s by a man who may not be the same man now. Wracked by so many years of being a poet, an undervalued artist, who reads his books now? Who represents the audience he pours his soul to? Would he hate them if he met them? He is not a rock star, the figure that has eclipsed the poet, and bastardized his trade. Parades of women do not follow him on tour, hoping that sex will somehow bring them closer to a greatness they never plan to achieve.

Sitting behind the house, my dog lies a few feet in front of me, staring into the distance, occasionally swiping her mouth at the nearby bees, but never coming with a foot of their agile flight patterns. Why does she sit so loyally next to my chair, while I pay no attention to her pants? What does she think about? If the pictures in a dog’s mind could be transferred into words; hunger, thirst, lust, would they be poets or pop stars? Dogs feel all these things, these unspoken desires, the same way we do. The same way we can stare at a painting, hanging on the wall of a museum, the image reversed against the black wall of our unconscious, tugging desires into our minds which we can never communicate. So we move on to the next and the next, with this series of colors firing up the neurons of our brain, attempting to cajole words from our mouth like a sparkplug failing to start the engine. What are we in some instances but the slobbering animals we came from, so unable to connect these trappings of thoughts to each other?

Sitting behind the house, the mountains point to the roving bands of cumulus clouds, the winds shifting the puffy traffic of faces, and fire engines, and upside down horses around the sky, like the montage of half dreams we can’t quite remember in the morning. Forgotten dreams linger like the thoughts of dogs, like the strings of emotions we can’t place into the categories we know so well; happy, morose, anxious. I try to think of the last dream I had. I remember sleeping over my grandmother’s house, and she has become incontinent, urinating all over the floors, and she screams and falls asleep on the couch next to me. I walk to the back door and dawn has burst through the screams, and I hear police sirens, and I see a desperate man running and banging on the neighbor’s front door, and I panic, lock the sliding glass door, and the bathroom windows, and when I return frantically from the bathroom, he is impossibly there, staring at me through the back door, wearing a face with no features except violence and rage, and he points a gun at me and I wake up. What emotions do I feel? Where can I find the words to describe such a story in the wavering clouds, in the face of a dog, in the colors on the canvas, in the words of a poem?