“Meeting” – Poetry by Jeff Laughlin

Love and Death - Francisco Goya, 1799
Love and Death – Francisco Goya, 1799

“Meeting” is the pièce de résistance from Jeff Laughlin‘s yet-unpublished poetry collection “Life and Debt.” Also available in our Fall 2014 issue, “Meeting” is a screaming sigh from beneath the hefty weight of love, work, and death.  

{ X }

I.
IT’S NOT THAT I DON’T BELIEVE IN LOVE,
only that I compare it to working.
The action item list reads identical:
–That careening of blood through
the walls of the heart marking the
time you did it right the first try.
That’s enough, just that one on the
list convinces me that nothing is
different, nothing is that moment
more than anything else could be.

II.
To clarify the following, too:
I have loved and lost and lived
a million lives. I have lived in
the margins– those college-ruled
maniacs trapped me there from
the start. And I will die there,
with no work grinding my bones
and no laborious thought in my
hawkish mind. I will die without
comfort or love, but not regret.

III.
Folly of endeavor, folly of light,
prayers for the uninitiated who
just learned to work. Folly of fall,
folly of man, a layer of ice upon
the next worker who mentions he
is on sick leave. Folly of summer,
folly of synergy, a weigher of soul
and reciprocity delivers the memos.
Folly of function, folly of form, we
are not ideas we speak into the void.

IV.
Abandoned love is unfinished work:
further proof that we desire nothing.
What fills our purpose we claim to
own. Well, if the sun has not risen and
you see light, do you falsely claim to
have seen the sunrise? Cool if you do,
but some of us enjoy the undefined
parameters. Some of us want loose
ends and to accidentally leave the
machine on over Christmas vacation.

V.
Loneliness is impossible in the tech
and information era so I must be
doing this on purpose. What strategy
do we harness when we deny our base
motivations? Please advise. And with
best regards. Discuss my temperate
disdain for the idea of happiness via
all manner of design. Best, and please
communicate your findings to the boss;
he will hate to hear that I’ve dissipated
into the ethereal realm to float around him.

VI.
To sum up: I am not work or love, nor even
their cousins or friends. We learned that the
search party ended, the people too tired to
keep hunting for heresy’s end. My debt sits
in the middle distance: starving, alone, weary
but intolerably alive. Who has time for love?
I’ll bet s/he reaches in his/her pockets just to
check and make sure that s/he has his/her keys,
wallet and phone even though s/he always
knows they are there for sublime comfort.

VII.
Adjourn, adjourn, and walk out into the sun,
your skin soaking up what light it can carry,
the meeting adjourned and we all know now
that we are the Equator, we are the sheen of
packaging, we are the continuation of our own
argument, we are the reason that hands clench
and release, we are the baseboard hiding the
ants, we are the end of work and love and we
are always welcome into death’s arrogant arms
no matter what value we have been assigned.

 { X }

1486901_10204740657619070_6399160013604306531_nJEFF  LAUGHLIN writes about the Bobcats Hornets for Creative Loafing Charlotte & about sports in general for Triad City Beat in Greensboro, NC. His 1st book of poetry, Drinking with British Architects, is riddled with mistakes but available free if you want it. His 2nd book is Alcoholics Are Sick People, and If you ask nicely, he’ll probably give that to you too. Contact Jeff on his seldom-used twitter (@beardsinc) or email him (repetitionisfailure @gmail.com). He likely needs a haircut.

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