Friday, September 08, 2006

The Return

The Return

my friends embraced me when I came back
I looked up to see a smoke detector flash green
she took it down
-you want it
-why not take two
she walked into the other room and brought me another
-oh, no I couldn’t
-don’t be silly –there is more where this came from
-wow, these are such good quality
they would cost a fortune over there

later we walked through the cemetery and talked about my trip
my experiments with old German short wave radios
and how I ate seventeen radio valves with two other writers
who had become rich in the mayhem of the 1990’s
their mafia stories about riding in a green Volga
once with a bag full of transistors
being pulled over by a cop
what do you do
show him what’s in the bag
the quantity overwhelms him
he stands there as you drive off

I would sit listening to their stories
thousands of miles away from here
philosophical discussions about how much is enough
to simply stupefy a person
how much happiness (H+) is too much
a deluge of that which you have always wanted

I tell my friends stories about the group
who ate nothing but blue paintings
how the master
lived in an apartment full of young men
who painted for him the most brilliant work
he would come up behind one and say
that is good Ivan
take it to the kitchen we will have a feast tonight
everyone gathered around
while Dimitry ceremoniously put on the bread frame
and lay the painting in the middle of the table
I was always the guest
he would cut a piece of the buttocks
painted in indigo and put it on my plate
I would break off a piece of frame
and make a small bow to show my gratitude

as I dished out my stories
everyone listened
once in a while someone would intervene with a
that is so weird or god I have to get over there
or at least out of here

the story of how two men tried to shoot me
for having crawled over the gate of an abandoned industrial complex
and how I had nothing to give them but a set of radio instructions
I was hoping to bring my wife when I returned

it is exciting to return
I tell my friend who wants to leave forever
I say, leave for six months and come back
she says, I cannot work here
the sounds coming from the sky
are covering my mind with lichen
I feels my fingernails are trying to say something
when I digs them into the backs
of my students
I want to know what I have to say
the air here just doesn’t transmit or something

Eventually the novelty wears off
And you even learn that not everyone was happy to see you
That one girl
Who you thought loved you
Because of her generous act with the smoke detectors
Said that you took them against her will

You see a friend in the street and she takes you aside
And tells you how shocked and disappointed she is
While you stand in bewilderment

How could anyone believe
That I could take two smoke detectors just like that
Just imagine the situation, I said:

-no I don’t think you should have those
-nope these are now mine
I cannot help myself
And I think I will take these books as well
And this coffee

It is nonsense, I say
Anyone who could possibly believe this about me
Doesn’t know what “me” is at all

But if this is the case
What was the point of all those words and packs of cigarettes
When they might not have been words at all
And the cigarettes may have been tampons

Sadly you walk to the airport
To fill yourself with the noisy air
And sneak into the lavatory with a camera catalogue
Get into a cab
Arrive wherever it is your next trip will be

And you leave the camera in the cab
Remember only three days later
You call frantically
All the cab barons in the valley
You call the major and ask him to make a public announcement
But nothing
And then the next week your neighbor comes by with the camera
-Sorry, he says
I was out of town when you had the major make the announcement
I had the camera all along
I tried to come by but you didn’t answer the door

You invite him in but he smiles
Kindly refuses
Upon closing the door
The camera takes a picture
You walk to your bathroom to see
What it might be

At first the photo seems to only whisper
You connect it to an amplifier
You hear a slow violin, drums, a wa-wa guitar, an elephant
A moon, a giant chewing off a fingernail, and yes there
Somewhere behind the harmonica she is standing
Saying, I have missed you so much