Poem by Chris Warner

 

After Robin Williams’ Apparent Suicide by Asphyxiation

The comedians may be more dramatic,
and may be catching up to the poets,
though I do still think, and often,
about David Foster Wallace, dangling
in the breeze, just a foot or so above his flagstone patio,
and the soft gold of California’s early evening light—
no blue hour out there, nothing French, no lavender.
Just that lazy gold glow, and old smog grey,
maybe a low hum of sated bugs
as they get ready
to bed down for another night.
Or maybe there was just a shade
of light that night, whatever
it was, and the sound
of all that LA traffic
in some faint faraway distance.
I think, too, of the wife
coming home.
How we know, now,
that discovery
isn’t always
what’s desired, or exciting.
And I think of all the nights here,
new, in New England,
the ones I spent
in that used green Honda,
the one with the glint of gold metalflake paint,
driving, at strange hours, like 2 am, or 3 am,
gas running low again,
but laying down miles anyway, driving
blind through towns I’d never heard of or seen,
towns that I couldn’t pronounce,
and no working map, no cell phone,
and often, finding myself
in a dark lane again
on some unknown stretch of highway,
watching for signs and the grey loom
of concrete abutments or better,
a few towering pylons, maybe
the dank smell of an unseen river,
and, picking errant strands of odd hair off my face,
flicking away another stuck silver spangle,
wondering how anybody could live,
how anybody could shake
their ass for a lousy living,
or why, or what anything means,
if any of it means or defines anything,
and how I’d consider, then,
every night, driving,
how easy it would be: one pull
of the faux-leather covered steering wheel
to the right,
or a hard jerk
to the left,
or, maybe, just gripping—
hand-claws, talons, red, and already chipped—
right foot all the way to the floor,
eyes, unblinking, straight ahead,
and all those oh-so-pretty oncoming lights.
I remember understanding, then, what it meant
to be mesmerized.
I don’t know
how I woke up—
though I guess I did—
but I never seemed to remember dreams—
even though a sensation of falling remained. Remains.
And, too, that feeling of flat, grey speed,
solid walls of it, on both sides,
and arms open, fingers spread
wide, spread wider, and reaching.
And how that
is exactly
like I always thought
nothing would feel.
Would be.
The freedom.
And I think about Robin,
all the jokes and coke
to feel more alive.
Or at all.
To just feel something. Anything.
But not now. Not ever again.
Though I’m thinking
maybe he’d have something to say
about this too—the clown tears, the mug face—
and I can see him, hands planted on gyrating hips,
dancing onstage, sweaty, and asking:
Would you prefer paper or plastic?

 

Illustration © George Panagopoulos
Illustration © George George Panagopoulos

 

Chris Warner, graduate of the Harvard University School of Education (M.Ed., ’97), is (still) an emerging poet, and the author of a micro-chapbook, Strokes (Mostly) in Silence; her poem, “Engulfed” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Chris also teaches yoga, core strength, and mindfulness meditation in West Boxford, MA, and offers workshops (including MBSR) throughout the greater Boston area. In January of 2014, Chris began co-leading the creative writing program for inmates at MCI Concord, medium security prison. She puts ‘ass in seat,’ as Stephen King advises, everyday. And works everyday at letting go of attachment to outcome.

George Panagopoulos is an Artist, Writer, and Comedian from Worcester, MA. You won’t catch him pulling punches, he tries to focus on truth above partisan politics. “I want you to be compelled to discuss my stuff, it’s about starting a dialogue, making you reflect, and hopefully laugh”

 

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