Poetism Commentary: “Thoughts of a Thursday Evening”

The poem in question: is only here, on this blog, in this commentary.

On January 8, 1998, I tried to write down my thoughts in a poetic-type form, but without much attempt at polish.  I did the same thing again three weeks later, which text I’ll disclose in the next commentary.  First, the text:

I’m sitting here thinking about life
and where I’m headed with it
it’s a difficult puzzle
one of those five thousand piecers
ages seventeen and up
most things are there and stable
but some I just don’t know about
I try to reconcile with myself
but I’m a tough negotiator

I love her so much
sometimes it doesn’t seem like enough
even I hurt
even I cry
I thought I died long ago
somewhere clouded in the past
I found myself somewhere in her
I hope the void can be repaired
I yearn for her presence
maybe I’m crazy

I try to make myself believe
it’s not me it’s not me it’s not me
I try to believe it’s the right thing
to trust in what I cannot see

she said a way with words
I said sideways
she said it’s good enough
thank you
you made my day

myself infuriates myself
why did I allow myself to be
so blind so misled so utterly unable
I try to remedy the situation
I try to repair what I broke so many times
at least I’ve finally come clean
they know now what only I knew

he says sometimes music doesn’t cut it
you gotta weep
I don’t know if I can or not
I try and sometimes it works and sometimes not

I’m just profoundly frustrated by all this

all my hopes and fears and dreams are locked away
only she can truly penetrate my demesne
she has to search thoroughly for me
but when she finds me the reunion is wonderful
I don’t know where I was before
or rather I do and I don’t want to recall

sometimes it isn’t fair
maybe I’m just not seeing the big picture
I wish I could but I’m glad I can’t
I’d probably be too overwhelmed anyway
and heaven knows I don’t need that now

O do not forsake me is my cry of late
I don’t like the idea of being forsaken
I like the idea of being loved
it’s so much more fulfilling than the alternative

I’m just one big paradox
I can’t even begin to explain this one
maybe I’ll find my answer someday
sooner than I expect

it’s so hard to accept but I think I can manage
if not oh well
no big thing
there’s always tomorrow

These are mainly just the ramblings of a teenager, with doses of angst, self-pity, and longing, with some sappy only-my-girlfriend-gets-me thrown in for good measure.

Because of the free form and lack of effort toward any real structure, I never really considered this text, and “Three Weeks Later,” to be “canonical” poetisms.  They’re not included in my master poetisms document or my green notebook, and I don’t know if I’ve ever even shown them to anyone, except maybe my wife.  I thought about keeping them that way, but in the spirit of not being embarrassed about old writing stuffs—and to have a backup of the text on the interwebs, I suppose—the text is now here for all the people who visit my blog to enjoy, or at least read.

As for the content, there are references to then-recent poems my pathetic attempt and O do not forsake me.  There are silly phrases like “one of those five thousand piecers / ages seventeen and up.”  This was written about a month before my 18th birthday, and I think it’s a little funny that I thought my puzzle of a life was difficult, but that I was just at the right age to tackle it, though not without fear.

The line “I’m just profoundly frustrated by all this” is taken directly from R.E.M.’s “Ignoreland,”  while the lines “he says sometimes music doesn’t cut it / you gotta weep” are a reference to Paul Simon’s “The Cool, Cool River,” which is still one of my favorite songs.  There was a time when I had printed out a portion of the lyrics for display:

And I believe in the future
We shall suffer no more
Maybe not in my lifetime
But in yours, I feel sure
Song dogs barking at the break of dawn
Lightning pushes the edges of a thunderstorm
And these streets
Quiet as a sleeping army
Send their battered dreams to heaven, to heaven
For the mother’s restless son
Who is a witness to, who is a warrior
Who denies his urge to break and run
Who says, “Hard times?
I’m used to them
The speeding planet burns
I’m used to that
My life’s so common it disappears”
And sometimes even music
Cannot substitute for tears

There is also the familiar theme of repeated struggle with my inner demons and wondering if I will ever be good enough to overcome them.  I get the sense that I felt like I failed so many times that success seemed impossible, or at least undeserved.  But I do like that at the end I arrived at the conclusion: “I think I can manage / if not oh well / no big thing / there’s always tomorrow.”  It implies an acknowledgement that sure, life is hard, but it’s worth living and hopefully has more ups than downs.  No matter how many times I do fail, I can try again, or as more eloquently put by Professor X in the movie “Days of Future Past”: “Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they can’t be saved.”

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