“The Man Without Glasses”

Sean-Flaherty-BlissVille-picture

 

Ice-T Spit on my Foot (read by Colin Hall)
Striking from the Western Side (read by Mark Jeacoma)
I Dated a Weather Girl (read by Regan Lawler)
Autumn Leaf and John (read by Eve Kerrigan)
It’s Not You. It’s Me. (read by Andrew La Ganke)
The Doctor, Part 1 (read by Bronwyn Knox)
The Doctor, Part 20 (read by Bronwyn Knox)

Sean Flaherty passed away January 4th, 2015. He was a poet, and he spent the remainder of his time putting together a series of poems about his experience with cancer. A couple weeks before (this was at the end of December of 2014), I reached out to Sean to see if he could join me for a podcast. I figured he might want to read some of his poetry. He wrote me back, saying, “Hi, David. I’m sorry but I’m really too busy. Thank you for thinking of me.”

I was like, “I can wait. No big deal.” I wasn’t aware of the severity of his condition because he always kept a stiff upper lip and a sense of humor about himself. I thought he was going to be fine. Bronwyn thought he was going to be fine, but then came the news. I had unresolved feelings about him. We were very much alike. Both Irish. Both assholes, contemptuous, rife with creatively bitter energies that we tried to channel in various forms. I felt like we had all the time in the world to get to be friends.

To commemorate his birthday, November 15th, BlissVille presents an encore of “The Man Without Glasses”. My friends, family, and colleagues read selected works from Sean’s body of work. I hope you enjoy it.

Ice-T Spit on my Foot (read by Colin Hall)

I have been going
to night school
after work
so I can learn
some new things,
to broaden myself
at forty-three,
I met this roofer
at school
who told me that
all the roofers and electricians he knows
do boatloads of cocaine
and he’s been doing too much roofing
and too much cocaine
so he’s trying to learn
computer programming
to get a new gig,
Ice-T is in our school
to study for a new role,
I stopped him
when we were all stepping out
for a break
and said
Hey, man,
I don’t know if we ever met
but I helped you and Coco
with that thing a few years ago
so we hung out for a bit
talked,
mostly about music,
we were sitting down
and I took my shoe off to
work out a pebble
he was talking about
a new band he’s working with
and that they were listening to
a lot of Michael Jackson lately,
he said
he was awesome,
he was one of the very best
and I injected:
too bad
about all that stuff
with the kids
Ice-T stopped talking
he looked at me like I was crazy,
like I had vomited fire
he spit on my foot
stood up, turned his back
walked away
and said,
Fuck you, Flaherty!

It’s Not You. It’s Me. (read by Andrew La Ganke)

I put my daughter to bed,
kiss my wife
and take an easy walk
to get some groceries and a bag of beer,
at Driggs and North 8th
the ground gets hot
and the air smells like cinnamon:
across from the liquor store
a bright light
shines on a parking spot
where a flying saucer sets down,
beautiful, symmetrical
stainless steel
gull wing doors open.
Wearing a navy blue suit,
and black wing tips that look an awful lot
like the ones in my closet,
a green man
steps out of the ship,
he looks around
pretending to be careful,
and he steps towards me,
touches the side of his nose,
fixes his red tie
and says,
“Look,
I’m not from where you might think I’m from.
Not ‘up.’
I’m from the other place.
I just like the way this thing handles.
I wanted to find you
so I can look you in the eye
and let you know
when you’re not looking,
I’m the guy who’s fucking you:
I snort lines of cocaine
from your baby’s round belly
when she’s asleep in her crib;
I strangle your cats until they can barely breathe
so they sound asthmatic,
I make love to your wife
better than you,
she can’t stand you,
and I talk shit about everyone you know,
I told the landlord to get bent,
I told your boss to take a hike,
you think you’re tired now, man,
I am going to burn you down
from every angle possible.”
I pull a pair of beers from the bag,
open them up:
I hand him one,
take one for myself
and take a good long drink out of the bottle
before I look down his pointy green nose
and say,
“Thanks for the heads up;
I’m glad it’s you
and not me.”

Striking from the Western Side (read by Mark Jeacoma)

The addictive aroma of
Well-aged nostalgia, and a
Hurricane-yellow sunset, was
Striking from the Western Side.
The east, full of forest. It
Often goes Unappreciated.

Sat alone, and gritting his teeth
Over it, his forehead wet,
Losing patience, sweating
Droplets, wiped up by the
Dollars you couldn’t afford to spend.
Outwardly expressing: “Overwhelmed.”

Born of the burning woods, and
Left to ash, again, with the leaves, the
Scent settled, clearly set on
Sticking around.

In the mood to bleed, and
Drag some metal, through the
Dirt caked on your legs?
Filth burns brighter indoors, and my
Power’s just gone out.

But you cast quite a shadow, when
Lightning interrupts the black.
“Storm’d been on it’s way for a while.
I’m relieved, it finally hit us.
Fair weather felt dishonest. ”

Long hair’s got a few more days left in it,
Bags under his eyes, not quite full,
Intent on the ideal, and
Going out on his shield.
Decrying the Curse of the Under-employed.

Barking beckons him back, and
Beneath his broken heart, beating,
Beyond a reasonable doubt,
Buggering on. Exhaustingly enthusiastic.
The howled woofs, and selected drum lines.
Droning, diligent,
“And pleased to meet you, darling.”

He flips open one of his
Boxes, counts to seventeen, and sighs.
Puts a cigarette between his lips.
Lights it. Counts to sixteen, and sighs.
Closes that box, and buys another.

“One third of what he says is nonsense, but
When you talk, he listens.” And
Love’s a vice, he can’t help but
Nourish. Hiding in fog, and
Drowning in his cheap whiskey.
Perfectly cornered, writing a poem about it.

Autumn Leaf and John (read by Eve Kerrigan)

Autumn Leaf
was born on an ashram
up north
on a piece of land her parents owned,

John
was a math guy
making Wall Street money,
they both lived in the city,
radiation levels were getting too high:
babies grew too big
in the womb,
often killing the mother,
leaving the children feeble
or worse
and vexing, Mendelian mutations
were occurring
to a variety of the citizens:
accountants were spawning
extra eyes,
extra hands
and did away with sleep cycles,
bicycle messengers were growing
longer legs,
strippers
had tails
stretching out of their tailbones.

Autumn Leaf had a tail,
John had an extra thumb on each hand.
They met and fell in love at a doctor’s office in midtown.

John had a thing for her tail:
the fucking was epic.

Autumn Leaf’s parents
allowed the two
a house on a plot of land,
the mutations hadn’t started up north,
but
away from the city
all their time piled up on one another,
their love distorted.

One day
after another dismal effort to be intimate,
John sat at his desk
wearing a green v-neck T-shirt
and white boxers
with watermelons printed on them
eating an apple,
looking over some old work papers,

Autumn Leaf walked up to John’s desk,
her tail twitching,
whipping back and forth,
she looked at John
and told him
she didn’t love him anymore,

the length of his tongue
flapped out of his mouth,
bits of apple
falling onto his desk,
his face turned bright red,
his eyes bulged –

he watched with his left eye
as the right eye
shot out of his head
into a corner,
the top of his skull
cracked open,

the explosion
splattering the
robin’s egg-blue walls of the room
with pieces of his hot brain.

I Dated a Weather Girl (read by Regan Lawler)

She could be seen
on channel
two twenty five
touching numbers,
pushing clouds
with her perfectly manicured hands
across America,

she got
prettier
the closer
she got,

men try to walk away
from their teevee screens
but as soon
as she got closer to their cities,
they’d catch fire,
their hands would be burning,
their hair
would go up in flames
for the weather girl from WPIX.

The Doctor, Part 1 (read by Bronwyn Knox)

I have always sought
my own
extreme
emotions,
threatening people,
often
with love,

asking if it means
enough
to you,
do you
trust me
enough,
if you’ll spread your legs long,
wide enough
for me to see
your liver,

I am breathing
heavily now –
not hard –
listening to the sound of my own breath,
following the
idiosyncrasies
of the air
passing
in and out,
the fear and fasting
turning the air
colder
on the way
in

waiting for the doctor
to reach up inside me.

The Doctor, Part 20 (read by Bronwyn Knox)

A call
from the right place
I suppose,
a long distance
motherfucker
jammed my signal,

shook me
with the words
“miracle doctor,”

with the words
“miracle cure,”

with the words,
“if you were my son
I’d fly you to
Las Cruces
tomorrow”

jolted
my fear,
made me check my
balance
and
pissed me
off.

Special thanks to Ciaran Cooper for providing me a copy of the tribute notes.

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