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spacer.gif   Janet Kuypers
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, October 04, 2005 - 02:57 PM
Poetry:  Click On The Author's Name .
new to chicago

I’m still new to this city
I know, I know, I’ve been here for years
but I haven’t gone to the Sears Tower Observatory
since my Junior Prom

but when I walk by the First Chicago building
the beams along the north side
sloping up, parabolic pillars curving up to the sky

when I walk by the First Chicago building
I walk up along the side
and lean up against one of the sloping pillars
press my body against the cold concrete
feel the cold against my chin, my breasts, by thighs

and look up along the curve, stretching up towards the sky

you know, these pillars look like race tracks
and I could see something come rushing down that curve
a matchbox car, a race car
a marble, a bowling ball
a two-ton weight

I see the speed, the power, and it
almost makes me afraid to look up

and every time I walk by the First Chicago building
I do the same thing, I do this little ritual
and it feels like the first time

god eyes

It was a stupid point to argue about at 2 a.m.,
sitting in the lobby of the Las Vegas Hilton
listening to the clink and whirr of slot machines
and the dropping of tokens onto metal.
You believed in God, I did not. Even after two
rounds of Sam Adams and three rounds of Bailey’s
I knew you wouldn’t change my mind, and
I had no desire to change yours.

You told me of a dream you had: in it you and
Christian Slater played a game of pool. You
won. He looked at his hands and said, “I’ve got
a beer in one hand, and a cigarette in the other.
I guess this means it’s time for me to seduce
someone.” And he walked away. You’re a funny
man. You make me laugh. Your brother even noticed
that. And you even spoke like Slater, rough, mysterious.

You were the optimist: yes, there is
meaning to life. I was doomed to nothingness,
meaninglessness. But to me you were the
pessimist: you believed you were not
capable of creating the power, the passion
you had within you. I had control in my life, even
if in the end it was all for nothing.
You think we are so different. We are not.

It’s now after three and we listen to music:
Al Jarreau, Whitney Houston, Billy Ocean, Mariah
Carey. Natalie Cole, with her father. “That’s why darling,
it’s incredible -” you mouth as you walk toward the
washrooms - “that someone so unforgettable -”
take a spin, watch me mouth the words
with you as you walk away -
“think that I am unforgettable too.”

I tell you about the first time I got drunk - I was
maybe ten, and asked my sister to make a mixed
drink mom had that I liked. She made me a few.
So there I was, walking to the neighbor’s house in
the summertime, wearing my sister’s seventies
zip-up boots, oversized and unzipped, carrying my
seventh drink and sticking my tongue out to see the
grenadine. You liked my story. You laughed.

Passion is a hard thing to describe. Passion
for life. You must know and understand a
spirituality behind it. You do your work, the things
in life solely because you must - it is you,
and you could not exist any other way. It is
who you are. It is a feeling beyond mere
enjoyment. You said that the spirituality was a God.
I said it was my mind. Once again, we lock horns.

All of my life I have seen people espouse beliefs
but not follow them. Tell me you’re not like them.
Our values are different, but tell me we both have
values and will fight to the death for them. I need to know
that there are people like that, like me. We are different,
but at the core we are the same.We understand all this.
I’m grasping straws here as the clock says 3:45 a.m.
and the betting odds for football games roll by

on the television screen. You don’t gamble. Neither
do I. Why must you be so far away? You reminded
me that I have a passion in life, that I have to
keep fighting. But I get weak and tire
of fighting these battles alone. I, the
atheist, have no God and have to rely on
my will. When I am low, I struggle. You have
your God to fall back on, I only have me.

And you looked into my eyes as it approached
the morning. You stared. We locked horns once
again. I ask you again what you were
thinking. And you said, “I see God in
your eyes.” Later you said it to me again. I asked
you what you meant. You said, “I see
a God in your eyes. I see a soul.” Whether
what you saw was your God or just me, my

passion, well, thank you for finding it. “Good-bye,
Ms. Kuypers,” you said when you left for good
that day. I said nothing. Good-bye, Mr. Williams,
I thought, then I closed the door, walked to the
window, started singing unforgettable. I was alone
in my hotel room, and the lights from the Stardust,
the Frontier, the Riviera were still flashing.
I’m not alone. Good-bye, Mr. Williams.

the burning

I take the final swig of vodka
feel it burn it’s way down my throat
hiss at it scorching my tongue
and reach for the bottle to pour myself another.
I think of how my tonsils scream
every time I let the alcohol rape me.
Then I look down at my hands --
shaking -- holding the glass of poison --
and think of how these were the hands
that should have pushed you away from me.
But didn’t. And I keep wondering
why I took your hell, took your poison.
I remember how you burned your way
through me. You corrupted me
from the inside out, and I kept coming back.
I let you infect me, and now you’ve
burned a hole through me. I hated it.
Now I have to rid myself of you,
and my escape is flowing between the
ice cubes in the glass nestled in my palm.
But I have to drink more. The burning
doesn’t last as long as you do.

Note: Here is some poetry by Scars editor Janet Kuypers.

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