Thursday, July 9, 2009


Solaris (2002)—
Four Fractal Poems

Natascha McElhone: Do you
always resist your impulses?
George Clooney: Not always.
Natascha McElhone: Try poetry.

“I remembered him wrong”

Even his name—sounds strange to me now
Did I ever really know him—how long?
How long has he been gone—does it really matter?

The feel for him—when we were together
There was a rhythm to it—and a world
A world where we used to live—I loved him

I really tried to love him—silently, closely
Making a conscious effort—to love him
To perform all the things—a domestic partner does

Like all the other millions of couples—out there
All the straights and gays—around Capitol Hill
I got used to his gestures—they became my reflexes

But now I’m haunted—by the idea that I failed
I’m remembering him wrong—somehow I failed
I’m wrong about him—about everything

I went walking—along Broadway tonight
A summer evening—here on Capital Hill
Like the first night—I got into Seattle
Strolling with my reflections—storefront windows
That was forty years ago—and since then what?
The reflections think they’re real people—maybe so

They were created by me—by me being here
Being here in the—here and now in love
Now they’re more alive than me—why?

“…our enthusiasm’s a sham. We don’t want other worlds; we want mirrors”

We’re created by him being here—we’re alive
We’re more alive than him now—how queer
Got into town—strolled by our storefront windows

That was forty years ago—and since then what?
We reflections think—we’re real people
He’s remembering us wrong—we’re the Other

Somehow he was wrong—about everything
He goes walking along Broadway—every night
Tonight—another summer evening on Capital Hill

Like that first night—millions of years ago
Back then getting used—to his lover’s gestures
They became his reflexes—but now he’s haunted

Haunted by the idea—that he’s still in love him
Silently, closely—making a conscious effort
To love him—to perform all the domestic things

The domestic things—that young partners do
But does it really matter—he was hopelessly hetero
The feel for him—he’d lost that loving feeling

There was a rhythm to it—and a world all their own
But even his name—sounds strange now to him
Did he ever really know him? His lover the Other?

“Why do you think love has to want something?”

Did I know him? I wanted him—I know that.
I wanted his gymnast body—and his muscles.
But what did he want—except for girlfriends?

Did he care—about why I wanted him?
How long has he been gone? Does it really matter?
The world where we used to live—did I really try?

Even his name—still turns me on now.
Did I ever really perform—all those domestic things
Was I a decent domestic partner—probably not

What about the other couples—on Capitol Hill?
The feel for them—before the plague hit us?
They had this rhythmic gesture—called heartache

It became my reflex—but now I’m haunted
By the idea that—so many lovers are dead now
Am I still in love him—living down there in LA?

Silently, closely—still making a conscious effort
To remember him—those Broadway evenings
Those Capital Hill—million years BC weekends

Our apartment—on Harvard Exit near Cornish
I lost him forty years ago—it seems like yesterday
Since then my reflections—think they’re real people

They remembering him wrong too—wrong as me.

Somehow I was wrong—about everything though
Walking along tonight—feeling created by them

Being here—more alive then back then?
I don’t know really—I don’t know who I am
It’s easy to think so—maybe I should leave town?

“If you think that there is a solution, you’ll die here.”

I got into town—I drove here for love
Now I’m strolling alone—with my reflections
The storefront windows—thinking like real people

I’m remembering them wrong—it wasn’t them
Somehow I was wrong—about them as well
I’d go walking along—feeling created them

I was more alive back then—1969 on Capital Hill
Like that first night—a million light years ago
Sleeping with him—there in his apartment

Meeting him under the Viaduct—rush-hour above
Near Shelly’s Leg—and Ivar’s Salmon Bar
Not far from the Ferry Terminal—to Bainbridge

I was into it forty years ago—into the Other
Everything about him—slowly becoming me
Like Chris Klein—and his dead wife, Rheya

His gestures—became my gestures.
His reflexes and love—became my reflexive love
But now I’m haunted—by the idea that I failed

I failed to remember him—the way he really was
I projected myself—through my dreams onto him
I didn’t want an Other—I wanted a Mirror

So that it wasn’t him—that I really loved
It was myself—a vain projective mirror-image
Perhaps that’s the reason—it failed again & again

Broadway tonight—another summer evening
I never really performed—all the things
All the things that—a real domestic partner does

Like all the other couples—on Capitol Hill?
I feel for them—when they’re all together
Do they know they’re—all just faking it?

How long has this—been going on?
Does it really matter—the world and the Other?
Would we really know—an Other if we met one?

I wanted him—I know that.
I wanted his gymnast body—and his muscles.
But what did he want? He was into girlfriends

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