All of the following videos are at YouTube.com/LeeBobBlack.
Inside you, you have
Who you are
can't be taken
or destroyed, only
when I hear you speak like
it makes me think that you
don’t know me, that you
don’t want me to
feel exactly and intensely what I’m actually feeling
at this goddamn moment,
you want me to exist
in some kind of
where there are no late fees
and the subways aren’t
jammed with junkies or yelling Holy Joes
and we always have enough
time and energy
for loud rigorous sex
But there’s an Idiot In Chief
in the White House
and millions of us are behind
some eight ball that we
and barely any of us
have friends who
have quality fulfilling relationships
with their parents
And one of the main reasons
there isn’t enough time
for authentic love
is that our lives are padded
with Crucial Transient Things
Insignificant Yet Essential Tasks
That Paradoxically Must
And if we don’t conform then
we’re just labeled bums
or wastes of space
What I want to know is,
slow and quiet
In the following video, I read four of my poems:
“You can only get to what’s possible in your life when you look at your life to see what’s missing”
Excluding the facts that . . .
One, I suffer paralyzing stage-fright
even in front of small crowds, and
Two, I’m tone deaf, and
Three, that I can’t play any musical instruments
. . . I’d be a superbad rockstar
The road to hell is paved with good intentions
The road to heaven is paved with good intentions
I can’t remember which one is correct
They both seem like they could be
I suspect that the following are also
The road to hell is paved with evil intentions
The road to heaven is paved with evil intentions
The possibility of powerlessness.
The possibility of power.
The power of possibility.
The powerlessness of possibility.
Two sex drives.
Two longfound/longlost lovers.
The mistake is hoping this is forever.
The wedding beginning.
A paintstripe separates then and now.
This didn’t begin with cafés.
This didn’t paint itself red upon a blank black canvass.
This didn’t shout nude from mountain tops.
This didn’t bow down to our inner lights.
This didn’t express itself via our words.
Some old and cheap cars only have
one “communal” warning light.
When this tiny red light in your dashboard
shines and blinks,
Your brake fluid is perilously low
and your brakes might not work
and you might die!
Or it means:
Your engine’s overheating
and your car might explode!
But how can you determine the light’s actual message?
The car’s “brain” monitors
dozens of different things, but the
warns you that something’s wrong, not what.
These are called idiot lights--because
you don’t have to be a mechanic to
know that something’s wrong;
even an idiot can understand that.
When the idiot light flickers, you have options.
You can pull over and tinker under the hood.
Or: You can drive straight to a repair shop.
Or: You can drive on, and turn the radio on,
and stick masking tape
over the problem--the light itself.
I’m a lazy son of bitch.
But I enjoy
inversing this self-negative
by claiming that I’m not indolent, that I’m really
just a risk-taker.
I’d rather roll the dice and risk running the car
to within an inch of its life
than service it.
“Preventative care” for my wheels?
Not bloody likely.
I don’t floss.
I walk across streets with my
headphones blaring and I’ve never
had health insurance.
And what if the idiot light is winking red
because the car’s “brain” is a hypochondriac
and it merely believes
there’s a (nonexistent) problem?
Maybe the red light’s telling me that the
isn’t screwed on tight enough. I mean, who fuking cares?
Some so-called problems don’t need fixing.
In my relationship with my girlfriend,
the idiot light occasionally comes on--
--and I know, goddamn it,
that I should shut the fuk up,
that I should disengage from the argument,
that I should breathe deeply and
return to a centered state.
In those girlfriend-boyfriend moments when I
intuitively know/feel that something’s amiss,
even though I can’t put my finger on it, I know/feel
that I’m at a crossroads.
I can go left or go right.
Or: I can choose to continue or choose to stop.
And I’m not just talking about that particular argument.
I’m talking about the whole relationship enchilada.
When the relationship idiot light
blinks red in the corner of my vision, I know that
to be compassionate to myself and to her,
that if I
escalate the fight
push how I’m right
and “demonstrate” how she’s
not only intellectually irrational
but she’s also emotionally irrational,
then I’ll just get
more frustrated and angrier and
become more of an
and something untoward
will happen, like
I’ll throw something, maybe a fist or two
into a door or
into an otherwise gorgeous girlfriend’s face.
Sometimes the relationship idiot light
tells me that
I should stop trying to disprove her points, that
I should stop dissecting her motivations and explanations, that I should leave the room,
down a glass of cold water,
go for a quick dash-walk ’round the ’hood, and
listen to the Eagles of Death Metal
with my headphones on full blare
and walk across streets
without checking for oncoming traffic
and I should fantasize about headlining in
and I should
reassure myself by
sweet nothings like, “It must be hard to
be a woman. I’m so glad
I was born with a dick.”
But maybe I’m completely misreading the
relationship idiot light.
What if I believe that it’s shining and blinking
because something’s wrong with her,
but it’s really on
because something’s way wrong with me?
Maybe it’s urging me to admit that
What if it’s got nothing to do with right and wrong,
but that there’s something
new to learn here?
What if it’s actually a relationship intimacy light?
Might it be trying to tell us that we’re
rubbing up against
What if the light’s reminding us
that we can be sensitive and merciful here, now?
What if the light actually means that if I
stay here with her, then our relationship might be fuller?
What if it’s on to specifically reject the idea that
this particular argument should be interpreted as an
that instead it’s shining to tip us off that this is an
an emotional start?