THREE'S COMPANY

There were many, many

colors, mostly gold

 

I felt heart rings

gold – metal – the bowl,  I guess

 

I heard

and then I saw.

 

We said words;

a patchwork was

 

built. Kristin said

“no,

 not like the rest”

 

I barely remember my

words.  But one was lightning

 

Iris said Keats

I said lightning

 

Heard motions

Heard things that weren’t words at all.

 

I translated them.

I went across a channel.

 

I was fed and I ate.

What do you want that you could not attain?

 

It was all within the field.

I was starving – not for food.

 

I was still a woman at a typewriter.

I was still

 

waiting and wishing.

Pastels and metals washed over me.

 

Naming: floor, gold, lightning.

Nouns upon me.

 

Step back?

What was that?

 

What’s my story for that?

The violence of the world

 

that I can not ignore.

It’s here and I can name it.

 

                        & discover

                        & watch

                        & wait

 

The sap that falls onto the grass

is the same

 

sap that wanders through

my sandaled toes

 

What I hear is not

what you hear & OK

break down the washed faucets

 

Turn them off but drops still fill the basin

Still this basin watches you

 

& in your heart

you learn you’re not golden

 

but silver

or a toxic alloy

poisoning the supply

 

Hearing a unification

& when the bird calls

it’s doing its fine work—

but we hear it as a song.

 

Movement, fear of dying alone

“A Woman Alone”

 

Thinking about the world

doing good

absent of my immediate concerns.

 

                        protection

                        safety

dying

                        how to live

                        community

 

Reading Barthes’ lectures “How to Live Together”

I hear a knock on my door

 

Giant unknowable

fears are still fears

but

Unknowing is more OK

 

 

On the TV show “Three’s Company,” the character Jack Tripper, played by John Ritter, lived with two single women named Janet and Chrissy (who was later replaced by Cindy). Jack had to pretend he was gay around his landlord Stanley Roper (played by Norman Fell) who was replaced by Ralph Furley (played by Don Knotts) because otherwise it would be indecent for a single man to live with two single women.

 

My sister Molly and I loved the show for its slapstick humor and nonsense jokes.

 

Janet looks for Chrissy and Chrissy leaves the room a second before Janet enters

and Janet leaves through the back door as Chrissy (or was it Cindy?)  returns from the kitchen

And this could go on for twenty minutes as Jack looks for Janet. Jack looks for Chrissy.

Janet is locked outside nude. She waits outside—a woman alone—until her roommate returns home.

 

We loved it.

 

Janet was the very picture of Eve in the garden of Eden, tree branch and hand blocking her chest,

bush protecting her bush.

 

My father was reading the show on this level of bawdy humor, double and triple entendre, interpretive devices.

 

His face would enter the room red after a long day and turned off the show each time.

He was mad at the TV and even my mom for letting us watch it.

 

Never mad at us. The indecency of this show has changed over time: pulling the sweater over the landlords’ eyes?

 

Hiding being straight? In a world that still mistreated those for loving who they loved?

 

Because income inequality prevented each young person from getting their own apartment?

 

The right to lay your head where you lay your head?

 

Now oceanic blowholes show me

what’s around the stars.

 

I see lichen in the sky

darkness surrounds further darkness.

 

I am released in threes: to stand in my own glory,

to be a fleshy monster of unknowing, and

to ask what darkness is.

 

The sky’s hook of greeting

creates new holes of moments in the light.

 

Learn on your tips.

Braid your hair like the garlic it could be.

 

What’s darkness?

What is darkness?                   

 

Once I showed my class some video art of Mount Vesuvius

erupting.  It did not go as planned,

 

and that was a risk I had to take.

I purged myself into a cloth into the air.

 

Time to write a prose poem

in which I try to explain myself.

 

When John Ritter died

as a middle-aged man,

tragically, too soon,

 

My father sent a lovely note

to Molly and I stating:

 

I’m sorry for your loss.  I know you never watched the show Three’s Company, but I'm thinking of you today.

 

I see the rolling hills today,

and some people are simply unreasonable.

 

And the days go,

I can’t be the giant pillar alone

 

so I release my chronic mask

and land where I do

 

The drama and affect falls off

 

and this is what’s around the stars

today and I’m thinking about you today.

 

Come and knock on our door.

We’ve been waiting for you.

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