Monday, November 29, 2010

A Party without Flowers

“Thank you disillusionment” – Alanis Morissette

You're not supposed to fall in love
With your date at your high school reunion,
You're supposed to be in shock
And wallow in the pity that life was and must become.
The first classmate you see is not supposed to be your old enemy
Asking “is she with you?” and your reply is “no”, but at that moment
You know she is, and you two face down in a long, homoerotic stare
(After which the class archivist with Asperger Syndrome, who remembers
The names of your children and who's been married how many times,
Says to you, perspiring, from behind his twitching beard
“The record shows you did not back down, right there, in surrender,
You only pretended. Why? Why?” to which you answered (in your head)
That you wanted the girl, the cool, that something illusive from before
You became enlightened, when you still were authentic,
Not weighing every move).
You expected the outbreak of blond among the water-drinking divorcées,
The fat girl is supposed to now be beautiful, the black sheep boy
Is supposed to have three businesses and four homes,
The prom queen should emerge as if she'd been encased in ice,
The prom king should be a psychopathic arsonist now serving life,
The boy who won all the prizes should be teaching high school English,
The girl who held the whole class together should be a grandmother now,
The free radicals should have learned the hard way
How happiness is to master the art of daily living,
And those with shoulder chips should lord all their subsequent success
Over a room of vacant stares.
It's a mechanical equation, a final rite of passage,
A last chance filling station for the shame and secret crying,
The pulling out of mothballs of your mask and poker face.
It's not supposed to end with a tap upon your shoulders,
A loving voice who says that now it's time for you to go
Before the longing pleas of eyes have finally drained away,
To fall into the company of an angel, who somehow
Soothes the terror real to something peaceful,
Who balances right and wrong on clicking heels
Like God and Satan guiding you to your car,
To ache upon that moment in the cold and certain evening,
How what you feel is all there ever was.

1 comment:

Hannah Stephenson said...

So glad you mentioned Alanis. She is just the person to quote from when mentioning high school reunions.

I love the intense turn this takes at the end.