Friday, May 03, 2013
“This stop is Grove Street,” the phony voice announces as I travel on the train to Manhattan, trying to find something I lost there this early day in May, my birthday looming over me like a black cloud as it always does this time of year.
I’m traveling to get painful poetry out of my head after days of consuming poems that buzz in me, stinging each time I read them, poems full of truth and agony, some even poems I’ve written myself.
“I need to feel clean again,” I think as the service to my phone ceases once the train goes underground, the poem I was reading blanking out and replaced by “Searching for Service.”
“I need to feel,” I think, reminded of the movie ET and the concept that a young boy and an alien might be connected remotely, feeling each others feelings without ever really touching, except near the end when the glowing finger tip hovers over the place where the boy’s heart is.
You can feel remotely, but never by remote control, through some connection that isn’t always conscious, and often painful when it is, someone’s finger hovering over where my heart should be telling me I’m to blame for feelings that weren’t mine – me thinking the whole time of that scene when the boy sets the frogs free, but is not free of them when he does, connected by feelings that aren’t really his, while far away – across town or across the universe – the alien feels what he feels, painful as that must me, and will also be, always connected, always made to feel the sting of bees or birds or frogs set free.
But in the end, the real question is: which is the alien? The boy or the being from space?
And can feelings, whose ever they are, ever really being alien at all?
“Next stop, Pavonia/Newport,” the phony voices says, and I grip my bag and my useless phone, waiting for the stop where things get real again, where the poems I hear aren’t poems of pain or guilt, but of something else, some deeper understanding that doesn’t get lost in translation, something universal and more forgiving, some point where understanding isn’t so remote.