Border Land
#1
                              Border Land
 
 
From birth till death here
is the Middle Ages.
We turn from somersaults to fierce
industrial cages. Prisons made of intangible walls.
It's barely worse to be jobless,
and drunk, not like bright Dionysus,
but fat like Bacchus on the sidewalk
by the plastic seventy-five cents merrygoround
outside a closing Rose's.
 
Our family has a house, but we can hardly
tell the difference
from all the other trailers,
all I can see is the door and one window
in my imagination; like an all that's necessary to be seen
movie set, so's my memory.
 
Never nature's child or a shirtless Apollo,
a blue-eyed pretty boy.
No, I'm dark
like Rilke;
like Picasso; like Pablo Neruda.
There's always a rage, a sadness in my eyes,
a smile is frightening.
A dark race.
 
Not dark enough,
it seems
I'm red like the sun
so this piece of land is my own,
and I'm left alone.
In town, all the townfolks say
I got what I wanted,
Now be free.
But not free like them.
Free to roam the land
and not work it.
In their industrial daydreams
is my nightmare,
this broken lantern
where even the witches are rusted over
and all I can see are the rotten stars
trimmed and softened like round coins.
Fireballs lightyears away
hardly serve for ancestors.
 
I write nor paint nor
stare into the empty sky,
in my cultureless Prague
where the ratty buildings are only mountains
ephemeral as clouds,
and the city
an infernal landfill,
a sooty anthill
the kids would call Purgatorio
if they would learn to read.
 
But I am getting out;
I'm shanking through the imaginary walls
with the plastic fork that came with the browning salad
my mom brought home from the ancient supermarket
that stands fourteen miles down the highway
like a glimmering and blistering Aztec palace
where the young milkwhite, long-haired Incan princess,
sixteen and too young for me by more than fourteen miles
smiles in her white and darkhaired youth.
I'm getting out,
but it won't be for another year or so
or more.
 
For now,
these walls are my art.
 
 
 
 
 
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#2
Very atmospheric... which is easy to say, but this is really, REALLY atmospheric.

Enjoyed it, think I get the message... wall artist, sort of mixing his world with his art while vice versa.

Two comments:  first, "lantern... even the witches are rusted" -- I read that as "witches" without noticing "lantern" the first and second times, but after noticing, can't help reading it as "switches" on an electric lantern.  Not sure how that's supposed to work.  Since it leads into the ancestors as stars, I doubt "witches" is a typo.

The other comment is about point of view.  It seems the protagonist/narrator is also able to see how he appears to others (eyes looking dangerous, etc.).  That's a rare gift (see oursel's as ithers see us) but can also be taken as the external narrator, who sees and appreciates the dangerous eyes, building the character in *his* mind but telling it in first person from the imagined protagonist behind those eyes.

Probably over-thinking, there.  Good ride, good read.
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
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#3
A magic lantern. Those things we get as children and always think about. Hold on, let me sober up and reread you.
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#4
I was thinking about a magic lantern. As the worlds this person is bordering. And maybe, if you're paranoid like me, the sound lantern will for a second suggest the sound land. And I figured, as to the point of view, that people would figure I was talking about myself, so I implied that border between me and my character. I think all of my writing, and all of my life for that matter, is one foot here the other somewhere else, on the other side of the line. . . . Someone used the expression in an argument with me the other day: ''If the shoe was on the other foot . . .'' . . . And I said that the shoe is always on the other foot, isn't it?, unless you only got one leg.

And also, and I can relate to this, it's about creating walls that don't exist. I mean spending a lot of time keeping these nonexistent walls erected between yourself and the world. And some people spend their whole lives and energy fixated on these walls of partly their own creation. I know I spend a lot of time illustrating and maintaining my walls.
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