CCW ( / )

Solemn Emotions No Longer Concealed

I pranced into the Teacher’s Center at Spinoza HS
the snow already drifting from heaven
my heart soaring,22 inches predicted.
Felice McLaughlin and Frank Tropp
sat on the couch
I pulled up a chair and joined them saying,
“God loves this world
and all souls dwelling within its mystery.”
“Cut the bullshit, Bernstein, ” said Felice,
“you’re an atheist.”
“Buddhist, ” I corrected her.
“The eternal illusion of male perfection—same shit.”
Well, Felice, a beautiful but bitter woman
the husband she had loved and nurtured for 12 years
run off with another man leaving a note saying,
“It’s now or never.”
Tropp said, “I like that line, Felice,
can I use it in my poetry? ”
“You can wipe your ass with it three times
for all I care, ” she said.
“Sorry, ” said Tropp,
“but I had a bad day yesterday
dumped another shrink, fourth one this year.”
“Worthless scum.”
“I’m trying, ” said Tropp, his face downcast.
“The shrinks, I’m talking about, ” said Felice.
“Yeah, ain’t that the truth.”
“What happened? ” I asked Tropp.
“I told my shrink I’d finally downloaded
my goal of ten thousand porno pictures
and he said, Enough
Is that legal I responded,
because in my voluminous
reading of the psychoanalytical literature
a shrink listens, not pontificates.
Tropp he said you’re a smart fellow
too smart, unfortunately that’s just
another aspect of your illness.
Then I glanced at my watch
another loser I said to myself, thinks he knows it all.
I said Time’s up
Ten minutes left he said
I threw the cash on the couch and left.”
Felice stared at Tropp, her eyes, to me,
sad, but couldn’t be sure. “Why so much porno? ”
“No love and lonely, ” he said.
I stared outside as the billion bits of pure snow
descended lovingly upon Brooklyn, creating beauty
when I heard Felice whisper, “Should have murdered
that cocksucker in his sleep.”

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Comments (2)

I think that Ernistine has hit on a central aspect of your work and that is how characters, that Bernstein interacts with, score victories. Only little ones; sometime barely registering as such, as with Felice's muttering at the end. The need to get something good, even if it is just a feeling, is as vital to these characters as breathing. Bernstein seems happy about working in Spinoza (I have often wondered if such a place exists. I feel that it is an invention - I prefer to be ignorant on this matter, though. Does it refer to Spinoza's thesis that humans can only find happiness through rationally understanding of their position in this world? That seems to make sense if we take Felice's final words; recognising her helplessness in the fact that she only realises her potential power when it is too late) . Bernstein 'Prances' into the Teacher's centre (attention seeking?) only to lose his position as the centre of attention, and fall back into his role of the observer. And it is as well for us that he does. For we would never have been made aware of his existance.
You always make your poetry so interesting and alive, Charles, this is a super one from you again, well done, I was held from beginning to end, and again your lovely characters emerged truimphant. Terrific! Love Ernestine XXX