Friday, December 3, 2010
T. C. Gardstein - Poem "Passport"
PASSPORT by T. C. Gardstein
I could be your passport, with dated stamps
only visible against bloodred sheets
and a matching sky, but only if I am in the mood.
So pack lightly, leave a trail of bread crumbs
to find your way back home, and keep in mind
that within each of hell’s circles lies the
potential for triangles, trapezoids, stars—
heaven of a shape-shifting kind, just as a
tragedy of superhighway proportions
may have been paved with the best of intentions.
I have changed my secret password so often
that I must run through endless combinations
to unlock myself once again—Achilles heel
or saving grace? It partly depends on the tableau
I am taking part in—underworld, aboveground,
or a post-postmodern mixed-media collage.
What if, meaning to reassure, I take your hand
in a spinning den of iniquity (or din of inequity)
and it turns into a claw (or velvet-padded paw)?
What if the fangs I had extracted at great expense
erupt once again in my accessible smile?
What if (in the name of wanting it all)
our psyches do a swan dive into an empty pool
and all our chakras shatter—will they heal even
stronger than they were before, the way
a wrist bone of a six-year-old will mend
after that kid tries to fly by jumping off a moving swing
at its highest, most dizzying arc?
It’s all fun and games until you discover
just how often your innocence can be retrieved
in a lost-and-found bin, a taped-up cardboard box
containing hats and scarves and lone gloves
beneath a grimy counter in the last establishment you
frequented, then lost yet again, until such exploration
becomes an unofficial occupation—
and there are no tax cuts or blueprints
for this sort of job.
T. C. Gardstein is a poet living in New York City.