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Poetry

The History of Welcome

by a.h.s. boy


Twenty-three revolutionaries arrived at my door.
One by one.
And I welcomed them. 
One by one.
And they never left.
Well
most of them.

The fourteenth came just around midnight
and stared in my window, said he
was a psychologer, said he
wanted to understand human behavior.
I opened the window to converse
"You mean 'a psychologist'?" I asked
and he said "No, a psychologer." I
don't understand either but
I let him in, fascinated.

The nineteenth let himself in and started
talking what must have been seventeen
blue streaks and explained very quickly
very quickly that the essence of the
human soul was poetic and not prosaic,
that the truth of the spirit was consequently 
not constrained by the limits of structure
and shouldn't our linguistic reality reflect
the natural fluency of experience as it occurs 
in real and quantum worlds? I think
it was a brilliant
philosophical
beat novel
in progress
so I offered him dinner.

The twentieth said nothing.
I gave him a closet in my house.

The seventh, eighth, and ninth,
who, incidentally, did not know each other,
came dressed as punk rock versions
of the three wise men, but none of them
bore any special gifts because
they'd hitchhiked 600 miles to visit,
eating dumpster food and spouting slogans
of future revolutions and obscene songs
to pass the time. They are the gutter
that works to clean the streets.

The first knock on my door
was an ambitious young man
with a tongueful of good intentions
and a hatful of tricks up his sleeve.
I thought he had something to sell,
invited him in to give me his pitch;
he handed me his library card and said
"Do it yourself, it's a bitch."

The thirteenth visitor came as a cat,
a black cat, in fact,
with a suitcase packed
with the history of symbols,
which I read
as he purred
and I studied
as he purred
and I memorized
as he purred
and I catalogued
as he purred
then I purred
and he purred back.

Then a knock on the door
was my twenty-first guest.
It was an old man
with a vestcoat
he stood
quite politely
and I said
"Are you a republican?"
	"No."
"Then you're a Democrat?"
	"No."
"Then you're a monarchist?"
	"No."
"Then you're a Communist?"
	"No."
"Well, then, what are you?"
	"I am an anarchist."

And the twenty-second knock
was a woman's knock,
sounded just like a man's knock;
who am I to say there's
a difference to be made?
She wasn't raised in a social 
Skinner box and neither was I
(though they tried) and I know
what a woman could do
was only repressed by desire,
not her desire,
not my desire.
"Come in, come in.
That man by the window
would like to speak with you."

The seventeenth and eighteenth guests
sat quietly at the typewriter
tapping out poems and whimsical rants,
mumbled
dadadadadadadadadadadaDADAdadadadadadada.
They wore monocles
which represented the nearsighted
vision of the present
which is essential to the Now.

The second, fourth, and fifth guests
came disguised as unknown deliveries
of blanket-wrapped babies
too young to offer coffee 
or to ask demanding questions.
I will nurture them until
they come into their own.

The third one to stop by
called himself Jean-Paul
and unloaded a mass of books
which I read slowly while
his tortured lips pulled on a pipe
and I learned a new vocabulary
for things I knew by heart:
"There are no simple answers
because there are no simple questions,"
said the sixth guest upon arrival, 
"and you're a genius if you understand."
"You are not," said Jean-Paul,
and smiled like the Buddha.

The fifteenth approached with common sense
and respect and helped around the house
and kept the guest rooms clean
and kept the guests in line.

The sixteenth was sociological and
semiotic and demanded metaphysical space
to investigate the social construction
of reality and housing.
Ten, eleven, and twelve left rain checks
but no umbrellas. Still
I love them. I love them all.

And the twenty-third visitor
will never show up
and has always already been here.
It's confusing
and keeps me on edge.

 

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