By Robert J. Baumann.
“the best ever death metal band in denton” was on a tape in the tape deck in my car.
i sort of cheered at the end when John Darnielle talks about dreams.
a kid named Bobby Leack in my confirmation class told me that my dreams were “overrated.”
i was confirmed but two years later i became an agnostic.
i want to hold Bobby Leack directly responsible for my agnosticism.
tonight, on Halloween, i would like take this opportunity to thank Bobby Leack.
thank you, Bobby Leack. Happy Halloween.
i clicked the repeat icon on my itunes player twice. now my computer is repeating “the best ever death metal band in denton” a lot.
i think it is playing for the fourth time now.
i would also like to say Happy Halloween to Curt.
Happy Halloween, Curt.
i would like to wish all the people of Zimbabwe a Happy Halloween. i do not think anyone else will do that.
i would also like to wish people of Zimbabwe food and medication.
food and medication, people of Zimbabwe. food and medication.
i am into doing things for people, lately.
today, i returned someone’s social security card to his address. at the corner a man asked me how to get to The Wheel. he was driving a ‘drop top’. i thought of Ice Cube and Yayajoni, and of asking the man to hit the switch and make the ass drop, but he was middle-aged, sweating, and boringly dressed, so i gave him very specific directions to The Wheel.
a girl who i see on campus everyday walked by on the other side of the street. her face looks like it is always smiling but she never looks happy. her hair is greasy and she wears men’s shorts.
i just stopped “the best ever death metal band in denton” in the middle of the eighth or ninth time and put on “song for golda” by Herman Düne.
earlier, i stopped eating Doritos because the bag was empty. i kept putting the bag down and picking it up again until i had eaten every available Dorito, then i looked around my room. i stopped drinking grape soda because my glass was empty. i stopped consuming these things only because of their absence. i wiped my mouth and fingers with a tissue.
there is more grape soda downstairs in the fridge.
that girl works at a restaurant i eat at a lot. i think she unintentionally smiled at me once while she was busing a table, but she didn’t look happy then either.
i don’t make people happy.
i arrange Tetris blocks and make them disappear.
i just went back to the beginning of this poem and changed “atheist/atheism” to “agnostic/agnosticism”.
earlier i wanted to hand out sandwiches on the street but Elliott reminded me i had no sandwich “fixins”.
i want to touch Elliott’s muscles through his black shirt.
this is not the poem i wanted to write. i wanted to write something about costumes and maybe something about sex. “whatever maximizes my potential to get laid,” i said to Elliott.
i wanted to write a poem that sounded like Brandon Brown or Dodie Bellamy wrote it.
also, i have to pee. but this is the poetry of endurance. i will persevere.
for the people of Zimbabwe i will not walk the 12 feet to my bathroom to relieve myself until this poem is finished.
instead of handing out sandwiches to people, i will not pee in honor of the people and in honor of the sandwiches that never were.
i had a nephew that was still born. Joey. i will hold in my urine for Joey because he never got to “hold it” for the sake of poetry.
for a second, this poem seems better than the poem i wanted to write.
for a second, i know this is not a poem.
i am now listening to Howlin’ Wolf.
for a second, i feel suspended in a place where meaning is in the act of my thumbs pressing my eyeballs.
there are actually some Dorito crumbs left.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert J. Baumann is a white male living in America. He likes the color pink, taking advantage of freedoms afforded him by the Bill of Rights, and calling people “hooker.”
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Thursday, February 26th, 2009.