Rewiring the System

Melvin Thompson Poems: Berkeley Poetry Collective

Posted in Uncategorized by rewiringangel on January 13, 2009

Heading West On Geary Street

I  am losing my friends
to the Avenues.  One by one
they marry and forget to write,
leave their answering machines on
and tend to the business of
being very business-like.  They

lose the courage to tell their wives
and children, “No, not today;
I must paint the flight of a word
or compose a poem of piano tones
or study the effects of non-commitment.”

I am losing my friend
to the Avenues.  In pairs they
begrudge the baby-sitter her twenty
dollars and are pained and distant
and hurried and view friendship
as only another obligation on
a checklist of things that must
be done or something terrible
will surely happen.  These are

not the bad old days
of freedom and lust when one
just comes in without knocking
or visits without calling first
or calls after hours, because
an awkward moment may ensue
if an unstable sibling
or an aging in-law of ill temper
should suddenly be exposed
to the unannounced appearance of strangers
who might say the word “lesbian”
or discuss the advantages of “swinging”
within the very reverend sanctity
of the dinner table and all its holiness.

I am losing my friends
to the Avenues.  In mini-vans
they are swallowed by exhaustion
and detached from The City’s torso.
Living lives on private islands,
minding their separate row houses,
they clear away the altar gods,
making more room for family photos.

Mel C. Thompson

On Intimacy And Future Shock

Every discernible part of me
has been collected and priced,
turned inside out and labeled.

My feelings are on sale along with
the scratch paper I doodled on
and the toilet paper I wiped with.

The vain loves and petty hates,
the fetishes over certain unwashed
laundry items and my old toothbrush

holders are now archived at
Stanford for daily public viewing
because you have adored me so.

Like Lenin’s glass tomb in Moscow,
my dead furniture is dated
and placed on lighted pedestals.

Contributing nothing to progress
or the human cause, I stood in
the right place at the ideal moment;

and the all-seeing eye of the camera
was looking and liked what it saw —
pure image without a hint of substance.

In my next life I pray to be
born prostitute to the stars
without the tedious curse of intellected;

for only in divine retrospect
are we aware of what is priceless —
fallen pubic hair and stained hankies.

God, if I could purge the art
that still circulates in my blood,
then I would have the business sense

to auction off my empty milk cartons
and half-full jars of Vaseline,
rotten raspberry jam and pitless olives.

Please fill out this card and become
a line on my mailing list of people
I can sell things too, then discard.

Please don’t forget me
and my transient video heart
or my failing magnetic face.

I said, “I love you all.”
Did you get that on tape?

Mel C. Thompson.


One Response to 'Melvin Thompson Poems: Berkeley Poetry Collective'

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  1. It is amazing to me that I am no longer able to just drop in to talk without either calling or having made a previous appointment. Society is changing yet people long for connection without allowing it to happen spontaneously. These poems let me in to the wide chasm created by this new social dance. I long to have back my community of opened friendliness, that has no sharp elbow points . These Poems open the conversation.

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