Evan Myquest

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Puppeteer poem

Debut: puppeteer poem. See issuu.com for PDF of the original series.

Driving Thoughts

those callous Germans he had left behind
bothered Hatton as he started the drive toward Budapest
he put weight to the gas pedal to leave them farther behind
but when it came to people
when it came to tribes regardless of borders
the fat Slavics had his heart
the way they partied
for weddings for funerals for births and baptisms
the way they softened when they drank
always too much too fast
as if to rid themselves of yesterdays
rid themselves of mercy and compromise
making up for the brief festive time in their lives' grind
one could say Hatton had as much in common with them
he was not
but he recognized
hard people tough people
it was good for a swaying alcoholic puppeteer
to stay out of their way
like those superior arrogant country Germans
despite their welcoming backslaps and pitchers of beer
he knew he was too much the profile of the vulnerable litteratur
having to watch every word he said among them
so they would not catch his contempt
but those Slavs the ones he held to his breast
after so many toasts to better tomorrows and prettier women
he also watched them be prone to crying in their hard liquor
their nightmares locked away but freed by drunkeness
only to be monsters all over again
in an instant tough again to the point of genocide
pretty village
pretty flames they'd said
he braked lightly into a curve
hoped the trailer lights were hooked up
traffic was getting thicker
closer to the capital city with its eight bridges
over the Danube
drunken to the point of oblivion
those tough ones--their logic reduced to:
mercy--maybe tomorrow
maybe not
today is for dancing and being entertained
which in the end was all that Hatton and his puppets were useful for
all along the bad high roads of the east
passing the slow drivers of old cars with NL on their bumpers
people watching at petrol stations
the people of the heavy hammers for small nails
of the east
Hatton wondered how they ever fixed a watch
all delicate mainsprings and tiny sprockets
where the engineering Swiss excelled
where the painstaking Dutch excelled
Hatton felt at home
among people who did not second guess
did not go beyond thinking
it seemed like the right thing
so a thing was done and what was done was in the past
Hatton felt at home in the east
where life was lived not questioned
He himself had stopped asking questions long ago
His questions had no answers
So he quit asking
And fell from spending time reasoning to time better spent drinking
Where answers did not matter for long
Where his heart could be ignored
And what seemed right at the time
was right for all time
He stayed drunk like Baudelaire ordered
He stayed drunk on words
He stayed drunk on language
Many languages and songs within those languages
It was not poetry so much as the loft in the oratory of the masters
Hatton liked that lift that put men and mankind into battle
with a foam at their chins
He liked to repeat the speeches
He liked to sing the victory and longing for home songs
Add his own loft of language to nobilify the drum and trumpet's call
He had that kind of range and delivery
He stopped busy people in their rounds
Made them listen to his shouts and whispers of speeches designed
To make the elderly remember
To make the young rebel
To make women look up and smile
All the while his puppets pretended to do the talking
Hatton could not shut out the Slavs
Even the Romani were near his heart
But it was the women of the tribes that held his rage
The Anna Kareninas. The Emma Bovarys.
That Lara seeking out Yuri Zhivago
Hatton had these thoughts as he drove the continent
Under the influence of rage the more he drank
Using up his money in crazier ways
Each city's women came after him
Gave him the eye and much more
And Hatton gave fair measure in return as long as there was a full tank at the end
It would not take much of an increase in the petrol to put him out
Lucky for him he knew unlocked unguarded tanks in the east
Where friends bartered alcohol for fuel
His fuel for their fuel
He would not regret the loss of the road
He was not much for scenery
Without drawstring curtains to the sides
And classic doomed love in between

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