Caught Hard 1971 /76

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂 This is the last resurrected poem for this Easter.

Caught Hard 1971 

1

dull dark day dawns

disparately clinging to the night clouds

little mists of mares

floating up from the budding honeysuckle

 

I am fighting so hard

for an empty room

for this trophy of glass

it can’t last

it mustn’t last

this fighting alone

on the dew wet grass

so close to home

by the freshly born

morning in some other

question box corner standing

sunrise boxing ring

 

so you’ve come to see the fight

by being here

you are the fight

another shadow boxing affair

reflecting from my bottles

reflecting on my walls

fighting for every word you speak

 

I am dying softly

the everyday death we each die

wandering from payday to payday

paying enough for the right

to live when I die

 

paying to keep fighting

in only the perfect surroundings

soundings & singers

paying & dying & fighting

fighting off the laughter

that I feel exploding

each inner pondering like a sledge hammer

smashing each unhappy stone

 

restoring sensation of pleasure

white in the night

feeling close & coming to an end

 

caught hard up in the air

without a handful go much

just loose strings of stings

& other nasty things

to keep me from giving in

to consuming everything in one last bite

2

I’ve heard the hangman many times today

if I’m not a icicle

why do I feel so cold

swinging in the summer sun

swinging to the hangman’s hot jest

 

he’s trying hard to melt me down

so I can be sold in bits & pieces

3

many times

screaming inside my skull

he cannot bear to see me moving

to any other taunt but his

up the stairs

up the stairs

no one cares

just the hangman

filling his pockets with meltings

 

I am free to fall

I am free to get up

I am free

but feel so lost

 

if I am not a fossil

why do I feel so old

if I am not a fetus

why do I feel so unborn

 

tiny & afraid

waiting in the summer sun

for someone to touch

 

if I am not wise

why do I feel so foolish

in these words

I am found by so few

yet still lost to so many

I am the end of time

drizzled with smiling sunlight

in some early morning suddenness

 

if I am not dynamite

why do I feel like exploding

every time I think of you

 

the sun can’t seem to melt into the middle

yet I feel myself slipping away

up the stairs

up the stairs

away from the sun

that needs me melted

before we can start winter again

4

the hangman has seen me crying

the hangman has been free dying

to reach out to cut my rope and end

this dangling all day in the sun

 

no confession

no confessor for me

I cannot make sense of either

though both are bursting to

functions all around

me like falling rain

as I near the end of the rope

 

postitive negative postitive negative

polarized into neither

loving nor hating 

wanting nor having

afraid of saying

so many confessional hidden sins

that everyone realizes about me

but care too much to punish me for

This is one of few pieces that went from the above rough draft to a more ‘polished’ version that was included in my book Distant Music. All those ‘d’s at the start are a bit much 🙂 I do love the overt masculinity of the piece as I box to prove my maleness as a poet. Poetry being considered un-masculine despite the fact that the poetry we studied in high school was 99% written by men.

I was buttoning it up to somehow contain my sexuality as well. Queers don’t talk about boxing but movie stars. ‘reflecting from my bottles’ a clear reference to my growing alcoholism – another of the way I was dealing with sexuality – drown it.

A gay acquaintance at the time hung himself which may have lead to the hangman imagery. Working to pay the rent was like a noose too, the strangle hold of fear.

The version that made it into print is equally as meandering but is also more focused. The alliteration remains 🙂 The revised version does have a sense of ending though. Today there is no rope, or bottle, needed to to keep me standing.

Caught Hard 1976 

1

dull dark day 

disparately dawns

clinging coldly

to the night clouds

little mists of mares

floating doggedly

over murky dreams

 

I am fighting hard

fighting so hard

for an empty room

a glass trophy

it can’t last

it mustn’t last

this fighting alone

on the dew-wet grass

so close to home

with the freshly born

morning sunrise

 

just by being here

to see the fight

you become the fight

another shadow-boxing affair

reflected from bottles

reflecting cross walls

fighting for every word you speak

 

I am dying

that everyday death 

we each die

 

fighting in only 

the best of surroundings

soundings & singers

all dying in fighting

fighting off the laughter

I feel exploding

each inner pondering 

like a sledge hammer

smashing each happy stone

 

returning sensations 

of pleasure

white in the night

feeling close 

while coming to an end

 

caught hard 

up in the air

without a sandful of much

just loose strings of stings

of other satisfied things

to keep me from giving in

to consuming everything 

in one final bite

2

I’ve heard the hangman 

many times today

if I’m not a icicle

why do I feel so cold

a-sway in the summer sun

swinging peacefully

to the hangman’s hot breath

 

he’s trying to melt me down

so I can be sold in 

bits & pieces

3

many times

screaming inside

he cannot bear 

to have me sway

to any breath

but his

up the stairs

up the stairs

no one cares

except for the hangman

filling pockets 

with meltings

 

I am free to fall

I am free to get up

I am free

but feel so lost

 

if I am not a fossil

why do I feel so old

if I am not reincarnated

why do I feel so unborn

 

tiny & afraid

waiting in the summer sun

for someone to touch

 

if I am not wise

why do I feel so foolish

out of these words

am I the end of time

drizzled with smiling sun

in your early morning suddenness

 

if I am not dynamite

why do I feel like fighting

every time I think of you

 

the sun cannot melt 

through to the middle

yet I feel myself slipping away

up the stairs

up the stairs

away from the sun

that needs me melted

so we can start winter

4

the hangman has seen me crying

the hangman has been free dying

to reach out & cut the rope 

to end my all-day dangling

 

if I am not a hanged man

why do my feet

never seem to touch the ground

 

if there is no rope

around my neck

what holds me in place

keeping me from falling down


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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