Monday, May 19, 2008

Love Poem for the Fire Marshall

Fire Marshall,
I have seen you sitting alone
Fire Marshall alone with your moustache
and your two way radio always ready
Fire Marshall always ready with your radio
you make the calls the lights light up
you make the calls you send the trucks
you extinguish the fires

and it is safe Fire Marshall safe in your
office with the lights and the radio
you make the rules and regulations
you make the calls and there are no fires

but you sleep alone, Fire Marshall
Alone you wake up in cold sweat scared
Fire Marshall scared that the lights will light up
and no one will send the trucks
and the radio will be silent Fire Marshall silent
at night you sleep alone

I sleep alone, too, Fire Marshall
and every morning when my alarm goes off
I read love poems and mark them with red pen
so I can pretend that someone was there
I make my bed before I leave just in case
it needs to look respectable

Every morning when your alarm goes off
you trim your moustache Fire Marshall
you trim it to precision and you
button up your shirts in case you gotta
look like somebody over your two-way radio

"God is in the details" we tell ourselves
Men like you and me, Fire Marshall,
we think in Algorithms and we worship the big Rule #1:
"Fall into place and you'll get your food"
Men like you and me, Fire Marshall, we pride ourselves
on being gears tickin' to the clockwork of the cosmos
so we get our daily bread.

But you still sleep cold sweats alone
with your radio Fire Marshall
Jumpin' at the lights and making the rules
and I still read love poems at 4:30 am
so I can pretend I didn't wake up by myself.

I'm tired, Fire Marshall, I'm tired of the big rule,
I don't think God works in algorithms
and the teeth of my gears are worn down
which makes it harder and harder to
keep spinning in circles

I'd kill, Fire Marshall, I'd kill to have a
moustache like yours but I can't grow one yet
and the more I hear about earthquakes in China
and burmese cyclones and starvation in Africa
the more I'm convinced that the universe is smaller than we think
and that maybe there isn't a place for everyone anymore
and maybe when all of our gear teeth wear away
we're just spinning nowhere and
maybe there aren't enough places for us all to fall into

So melt me down, Fire Marshall,
hold me over the fire ignore your lights for a minute
and re-cast me into a sphere
push me down a mountain or
fling me from your trucks and
let me roll because those rules and algorithms
make for bread but they don't make for life

my gear teeth are ground down Fire Marshall
and so are yours
stop trimming your damn moustache
leave your two way radio and your lights

let's go find new gear teeth so you can sleep
through the night and I can stop reading poetry
and neither of us will be alone