Thursday, April 26, 2018

Geoffrey Gatza, Anodyne



And there are times, just like a few minutes ago.
I became lost in my mad architecture. The phone rings.
I take a sip of tea and replace my cup in the saucer.

Do you know the safe house? The safe word?
There is no noise. No disturbances. No gossip.

We speak, we listen and hope to be heard.
We listen to the gaps between the words
The open secrets muffled in accepting
The ways in which we cannot change.

It is easier this way, less embarrassing. Utterly unbearable.
When I find reality intolerable, I am just as crazy as you.
Tweaking, redecorating, turn the foundation to face the sun.

That is a charitable reading of what I am trying to say.
You’ll say my bartering is childlike petulance.
But my blusters come in the nature of a child
Being beaten by his mother. Punched, slapped, degraded.

The child will plead with his mother to stop.
The mother does not stop but hits harder.
The child cannot stop her and begins to beg.
The beating continues. The mother does not stop.
He begins to bargain with her. If you stop, I’ll be good.
If you stop I’ll say a prayer for you. If you stop I’ll do …
And then that too proves to be insufficient. She hits harder.

And in the strange absence of a deal, the child dreams up a door.
A magic door the child can run through. A door to another place,
Another home in which there are no beatings, a languid place

of peace. It’s like a cathedral. Anodyne. Tucked away
From their fights and her drunken embarrassments.
The snide observe the contradictions, modest and profound.

Do you recall the safe word? It is closure, an enclosure,
A fantasy of mourning, a grief word that lies in the mind
Of others and burns as a fiction of a final explanations.

—Geoffrey Gatza