I don’t know when the shitstorm of failed marriage
I’m talking about people who I went to high school with,
to college and Italian villas—
where we could see Vesuvius and if we could not see it,
and if we could not do that either,
played with the sound of the word
as it rolled around like horny lovers
in the backs of our throats.
There was Jack and Lucinda,
who spent three years building banjos
that neither of them ever played
but the plants flourished in their stinky apartment near Gowanus
so who cared.
The question persisted:
Who the hell am I
and what the hell have I done?
Then there was Katie and Todd who loved
caviar and sparrows.
They wanted to have a kid and thank fuck they didn’t.
When Katie left she blew up Todd’s motorcycle
and the neighborhood kids ran down the block for a second
to see the debris
then went back to their basketballs and bong hits.
I wanted them to make it
for everyone on the planet. I wanted her cancer and his insatiable desire for obese ladies
at the Target
to be beaten into death;
to prove to the 21st century TV newscasters
that nobody knew what the hell they were talking about
when they newscasted on TV
that marriage was dying like an obese lady
in the lingerie department
at the local Target.
It felt weird,
like people weren’t getting divorced,
but more, like they were dying—
crawling into the earth with the worms and roots
to hide away in horror
while their children ran to the school bus and the Batmobile
and the EZ Bake oven that, of course,
could never, ever, ever,
It made me want to beat up my mailman
and the woman who sold me my internet cable
and the telephone guy, Lou,
like all of this was some reflection on how we had forgotten to talk
to one another.
But it wasn’t.
It was age.
The age of worn out marriage pants,
untended. One leg torn at the knee,
the other, burned out in the crotch.
It was bad cloth, warped stitching, inseams with no in
and I knew it.
And then I got hitched.
Eight years later,
my buddy Stu said to me:
How do you stay connected?
You want to stay close, stay close.
You want to be in love,
be in love.
It’s like watching TV
Like ping pong after dinner.
You pick up the clicker, you pick up
But who the hell was I?
Some mornings I get up and can’t tie my shoes.
I’m forty-four years old and can’t toast the seedless rye.
My kid cries because her hands are wet;
my wife undresses in front of open windows.
What am I supposed to do?
I wake up.
I say good morning.
I put on my pants.