I’m thinking the opposite of / presence / is self-doubt / or maybe / it’s just thinking / which I suppose / for me / is the same thing.
Lately / I’ve been relying on music to keep me present / Music usually puts me in the past / or puts me in the future / I imagine what that looks like / considering the past.
Frank Serpico was a New York City cop who exposed corruption among New York City cops / He was shot in the face—they suppose by New York City cops—in a building on Driggs / called Novelty Court / and when he lived / he knew / he couldn’t / be there anymore / He moved to Switzerland / He became a Buddhist / His name became a movie / He was played by Al Pacino.
Frank Serpico lives in the woods now / He has PTSD / He turned his nightstick into a bell / It could have been / a wind chime / which I suppose / is a bell.
The bell / according to Buddhists and the creator of the Sopranos / is a reminder to / be here now / And I suppose / a wind chime is a reminder that / the wind is here now.
The wind / according to the Ojibwe and the creator of the Sopranos / is what carries the man of self-pity across the sky / which I suppose means / it’s a reminder of his time and place / which I suppose means / it means / the same thing as / be here now
When Pacino asked Serpico why he did the right thing, Frank Serpico said / “If I didn’t, who would I be when I listened to a piece of music?”
I am dressed just a little too warm
to be cold
which is to say
27 years of underdressing for the weather
and the one rainy night I wanted to shiver,
I finally managed to do something right
and them’s the breaks
I am thinking about Easter
and the striking similarity of the differences
between the two
and I am thinking about devoting my life
to further compiling evidence for Alanis Morissette,
should she need it
to commemorate the silver anniversary
of her 1995 song
(1996 hit single)
because yes, I look for signs
and, yes, my iPhone just then changed “devoting my life”
to “decoding my life”
but I already tried that
and I couldn’t crack the cipher
did you know “Ironic”
was unseated from its six-week stint as Canada’s favorite song
by the BoDeans’ “Closer to Free”
a song which features heavily in the early Judd Apatow classic Heavyweights
and that Heavyweights is my favorite movie?
I have never been to Canada
but I’m doing what I can here
I can never remember
who “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” is about —
only that Leonard Cohen
wanted us to forget
he ever told us.
Sometimes I tack on
to the end of that song
forgetting that’s an ending to a different song —
and perhaps forgetting
that “Chelsea Hotel No. 2”
will never end
for me —
haunted by memory
by a moment of glory for the “ones like us”
I always give thought
to Leonard’s choice to call himself
I feel like my name is
not cool enough? not serious enough? too me?
to go all first initial, last name,
but then again
as L. once said,
we are ugly
but we have the music”
And I suppose I can try
because confidence is just a state of mind
and yet is all that is required
to do anything —
even to forget
“Chelsea Hotel No. 2”
is about Janis Joplin
and I’m sorry —
L. didn’t want me to tell you that.