FIVE PEOPLE, FIVE POEMS

by G.T.

On Saturday, I sat down with the intention to write the three poems that I had sent earlier that day. The first was for a family member, but I stopped myself while writing it on this blog. You know what? I have much more to prove of myself to certain family members than sending them a short poem, at least in my opinion. Here, the project became very personal, and I decided that I’ll leave that poem for them. It happened to be their birthday yesterday, too. The poem served two good purposes.

The other two poems had been sent and no reply was received from either person. I chose to wait and post those two poems today, along with the three for today. Besides, I had left yesterday evening, and saw an old friend of mine from grade school. His pseudo maniacal heavy metal band had a gig near my house. Upon showing up, some guy in a car decorated with maltese crosses sped into the parking lot, and his mechanic shirt had two patches on it. Normally, for effect, a writer would mention the most paradoxical, or funniest, or most provoking item last. With these two patches, I may as well just start with the right breast and move to the left breast. The right patch read in that mechanic script lettering, “Psycho”, and the left patch was a confederate flag. Everybody else was running around and bobbing their heads wildly, but the music hadn’t even started yet. Not my kind of crowd. I stayed, and grudgingly tipped the bartenders who mixed up mediocre coke & rums.
I had to get that part of the evening off of my chest. Here’s five poems.

Dan D. (312) – Nobody quite understands “Double D.”. A fraternity brother, funny, but in an odd, inexplicable sort of way. It was hard to get close to him because of his demeanor. Weird facial expressions, too. With all of these fraternity brothers, I was surprised that I hadn’t mentioned the Seven-Eleven on campus. The last resort for everything overpriced, from soda to ramen noodles. At 5:46pm.

“Nervous, crazed,
abnormal,
provoking. Gaping
mouth and just going
to the 7E. I couldn’t
comprehend that face
which was a visual
onomatopoeia.”

I checked myself after that poem. Is it because of Double D.’s nature that I wrote what is, in my opinion, a weak poem? Somebody like him should be a source of inspiration. Not the case yesterday afternoon.

And he never responded. I presumed he wouldn’t. Boring.

Dan M. (815) – Went to high school with this kid. Knew him, but wasn’t so acquainted with him. Baseball player, popular, successful, upper-middle class, goes to University of Chicago. Last year, I happened to run into him at a Maxwell Street on the Southside. Drunk, I pointed at him, and not so quietly blurted, “I know this guy!” We spoke. Dan said that I looked good. Apparently I was fatter than I thought in high school, because everybody I have the misfortune of running into always comments on my skinny waist line now. What a good ol’ suburban kid. So here’s a poem about me and how I thought even back when I had a big ass. At 6:04pm.

“I found mine amidst
the red brick laid
upon dry weeds
thriving on smog and
concrete dust. Tulips
under the preserved
alabaster gargoyles,
I couldn’t listen to.”

Dan didn’t respond. The only reason that I have his number is because I asked my friend, Aug, for it. There was a death in Dan’s family, and I sent him my condolensces. Never spoke to him after that. An hour and a half later, I tried breaking the ice.

7:33pm, Me: “Spontaneous poetry is awkward, isn’t it?”

Two hours later, waiting for my take out order at a local Chinese restaurant, Dan responds.

9:21pm, Dan: “Word”

Yep. Word.

Sunday morning.
Tired, but unable to sleep, I drove a half an hour for my preferred coffee, a three pound canister of Chock Full o’ Nuts. On sale today. Six bucks. Word.
I wrote a few poems before my many attempts to go to sleep.

Dan R. (859) – Popularly known in Delta Tau Delta as “Emo Dan”, Emo Dan is a recent graduate of IIT’s architecture program, and has since moved back home, in Kentucky. He’s an avid record collector, and almost anytime hanging out with Emo Dan involved listening to unique records, such as J Dilla mixed over The Beach Boys. He’s probably the only pretentious person that I’ve ever liked. And no, he wasn’t really “emo”. It was simply a nickname born out of irony. At 7:13am.

“The itch in your vinyl grooves.
Music flows through your veins
like a therapeutic depressant.
It clears the mind to listen to
the riffs of scratchy forty-fives.”

9:28am, Dan: “Who is this”

I’ve noticed that Sunday mornings produce responses. A case of hangover curiosity.

9:29am, Me: “Poet Laureate of Delta Tau Delta.”

I’m the self proclaimed Poet Laureate of a lot of shit.

9:30am, Dan: “Vance”

Interesting answer. Vance, the House Father of Delta Tau Delta. Cool, enigmatic fellow. I could see him sending random poetry to people.

9:36am, Me: “Is that part of his duties? I never would’ve thought. Do you still have your hatchetfish? Or are they a memory left to the dusty shelves of Archy City?”

Two more hints. I was the only person to ever like the hatchetfish in his little desktop aquarium, in the room for architecture students: Archy City.

No response after that. His patience must’ve worn thin.

Dashiell S. (773) – A young blood in the fraternity. Hardly know him, but I can point him out in a crowd. That’s as far as I can go with the description. Writing to all of these people from college had me thinking of a particular mural near the Green Line stop, at the corner of 35th and State. Graffiti portraits of notable performers like Duke Ellington, Louis Arnstrong, among others. Back in the days of The Regal, in the Bronzeville neighborhood. At 8:51am.

“Painted brick told
stories at midnight.
The sun rose and
shed dull glares
against the walls of
ghetto courses of
tenant slums with the
bold harsh truth be told.”

Apparently Dashiell gets awkward about poetry, too. I liked the poem, so I let it be and didn’t bother him, as he would probably see it.

Dave G. (708) – High school friend. One of many punk indie rock whatever you wanna call ’em friends from those days. He always said that I should be a comedian, because of my well known impersonations of Christopher Walken and Bill Cosby. Lost touch with him after graduation. For some reason, he struck me as one of those young activist-like kids. Straying from social norm, convinced that everything can be better. Eventually reality sets in and a bitter maturation comes. Oh, the good days of angst and ideals. At 8:55am.

“Liberating speech and
long hair masses all
talk of world changing.
Lest we forget the
revolutionaries
shot in vain. Never mind
it and opt for the picket
fences.”

With that, I was ready for bed. Good night in the beginning of day.

10:06am, Dave: “Hey two questions, who is this and what are you talking about”

10:12am, Me: “Dude, I’m trying to sleep.”

10:13am, Dave: “What? You sent me that text at nine. Who is this?”

10:15am, Me: “Yeah, before I rested my head. It’s so hard to sleep while the sunlight shines through the curtains. Am I right, Dave?”

10:16am, Dave: “…this is frustrating.”

I’m losing him, and he’s the first person to keep up with my antics.

10:18am, Dave: “At least give me a hint.”

Time to break out the Cosby.

10:18am, Me: “THEO!”

10:20am, Dave: “You’ll have to refresh my memory”

10:23am, Me: “The best Cosby impersonation by a white kid. I’m disappointed. Surely I’m more memorable than that. Or perhaps I’m just being immodest.”

10:24am, Dave: “See that helps. George Morman, how the hell are you?”

Who could forget a kid with an afro speaking jibberish intermingled with an occasional ‘Theo’?

10:25am, Me: “You forgot the second ‘n’. I’m well. Yourself?”

10:27am, Dave: “I’m doing alright, laying on my couch in beautiful central illinois about to go to my minimum wage job”

Sounds like reality has hit Dave already. At least he finds central Illinois beautiful. Now I know what to write to him next time.