Performed at the Bethlehem Ice House on May 14, 2019 for the event Tuesday Muse. Thank you Lynn Alexander and Cleveland Wall for the invite.
I played with toys until age 13.
Are they just friends?
Maybe until 14, just a couple times.
Do you think she’s cute?
I had a younger friend. That was my excuse.
Does she like him?
I was good with toys.
Does he like her?
I could conceive complex scenarios and cinematic dialogue.
Are they talking?
I had a lot of toys.
Are they going out?
I’d line them up and just look at them.
Did they kiss?
I asked my therapist why I was doing this while others were maturing. She said, “Is that really any of your business?”
©2019 Marc Alexander Valle
You have to bleed it out. Art, truth, beauty.
Craftsmanship and hard work are effective, but it’s not what the body needs.
The mirrors of self-reflection reside in the gut, the solar plexus, the basement.
I used to fear the basement of my parents first house as a kid. It smelled of 100-year-old walls. I could touch the damp air with my fingers. For whatever reason I walked down, I always came running back up, imagining a zombie giving chase. I’d slam the door behind me.
You have to let it bleed. Art, truth, beauty.
Beauty is the circle and there are no shortcuts.
I once took a shortcut to the park with some friends through an abandoned factory lot. I walked on a steel beam pretending that I was 100 stories up in the air. My brother told me to get off. I kept walking, laughing. I tripped and fell on the next beam. It took a chunk of skin on my leg.
I thought I was going to die, it hurt so much. Blood poured down to my white sock and made its way down to my sneakers.
You have to let it bleed out of you. Art, beauty, truth.
Truth is the slow burn of the universe and the universe is a cold joke where reality uncovers itself at the punchline.
I once brought a dirty joke book to my sixth grade class. I showed everyone, thinking it would make me look cool. The teacher found it on me. I had to explain why I had it, and when he questioned me, I cried. Two girls in detention saw my tears, and I turned my face in embarrassment.
You have to bleed it out. Art, truth, beauty. It doesn’t even really like you or trust your humanity. But it needs you. And if you trust all three enough to let it pour out of your wounds, you’ll be rewarded with a feeling of pride, like you did something special. And we all need to feel like we’ve done something special. Even if it’s forgotten. And we will be forgotten. Right?
©2019 Marc Alexander Valle
Reality is a conversation with yourself.
That’s how I was going to start the poem. I became inspired to write it while I was waking up. I had to use the bathroom quick first. It was going to be my greatest poem. By the time I got to the computer, I forgot what I was going to say.
Reality is a conversation with yourself. A conversation full of narrative threads and spider-web worldviews.
I won’t have to worry about being fast enough at age 80. A machine will be in my head with a connection to the future form of the cloud and all my past thoughts will be at my disposal. I will write my great poem.
Reality is a conversation with yourself. A conversation full of narrative threads and spider-web worldviews, born from the fire of existence.
I’ll go to bed that night and have the best sleep of my life and have a dream better than all the dreams I’ve ever dreamt. I’ll revisit old memories intertwined with old fantasies that will turn into new adventures. I’ll get to use all of my collected knowledge to solve riddles and puzzles and unlock the greatest mysteries of the world. Did Socrates exist? Who was Shakespeare? Where was Jesus during the unrecorded years? I’m not sure if I’ll ever wake from that dream that night. No one ever really knows with those sorts of things.
© 2019 Marc Alexander Valle
I only ever met one kind of prophet in my life.
The older kid at the arcade that could beat the game in a handful of quarters.
He took us to the promised land of closing scenes and end credits.
I met him again today.
He’s bald and fat and has four girls in their teens.
They just kept playing on their phone as he asked what topping they wanted on their pizza.
I wanted to tell those kids that games, like those on their phones, filled a store-sized room at the mall.
That their father could dodge bullets, high kick thugs, out run cops, fight off aliens, save the princess and come back to life before his mom came to pick him up.
All the kids and teens in that room stood behind their dad, holding their breath and cursing in between.
The Indiana Joystick of flipping burgers.
But every now and then he’d get a day off from the hamburger stand, and fulfill his obligation to show us the way.
He exited the pizza shop with his girls and pulled a parking ticket from under his windshield wiper.
Not enough time on the parking meter.
He ran out of quarters.
Marc Alexander Valle ©2019
(Feedback is welcome)
The Santa Poem
My brother told me that Santa doesn’t exist. He showed me where all the gifts were stashed. G.I. Joes were everywhere. I felt a thrill throughout my body. Finding that Santa doesn’t exist is a double-edged sword. Your childhood is almost over, but now you have the advantage in gift begging. You can manipulate your parents into getting you what you want, and now you have someone to blame when you don’t get it. I’ll probably lie to my kids about Santa if I ever have any. When they find the gift stash, I’ll still lie to them. One Christmas, our dad made us leave a can of beer for Santa. He said that he wanted to see if Santa would drink it. The can was empty in the morning.
Feelings have no literal translation. Not even with body language. Or music. They’re private. Tossed and lost in the middle of the ocean like pirates’ treasure. Like Atlantis. It kills all of us to know that no one will ever know exactly how we feel. They call that loneliness. The only feeling without need for translation.
People will tell you things.
All you have to do is do something and they’ll have an opinion. Sometimes all you have to do is exist in order to hear the word ‘should’, and other times two or more people will tell you to do the opposite thing and you’ll end up without a clue.
My favorite is when they say, “Do this and that and that and this, but don’t listen to me. Just do you.”
Just do you. I heard that the other day in a soda commercial and it almost made me stop buying the soda. Almost.
People need people. It’s how we learn to walk and sometimes it’s how we learn to die. I listened to other people so much at one point that I jammed all the channels to my gut, and I did nothing with myself except eat, sleep, and breath.
People need people. What a beautiful concept and debilitating nightmare.
We are abandoned creatures on the side of the Road of Answers and a darkening forest resides on both sides. We walk on all four legs, waiting to hitch a ride, but paws have no thumbs.
The passing cars keep moving, and it keeps getting dark and cold and the woods are making noises that I’ve never heard before. I see another creature ahead, but it’s too far. I see another creature behind, waddling like it’s wounded. I see a firelight on my right through the brush and trees, and I hear something making a grunt and a growl in the distant woods to my left. I’ll wait up for the straggler behind. He or she seems nice. We’ll ask to join the fire together. It’s always better to get rejected in larger numbers. You never know what someone will tell you.
by Marc Alexander Valle
Nice, quiet, smart.
People have told me this all my life. I don’t know how I feel about those words anymore. I used to hate them, but I think I’m making peace with the fact that I’ll never really get to shake them off.
Nice, quiet, smart. A combination that makes me a rare bird in this world.
Why do we hate being different when we’re younger?
Why do we need so much of the three A’s–acceptance, approval, admiration?
Why does it take so long to get to yourself when you have to live with yourself every day anyway?
The rare bird has few avian friends, but people love him and put him on stamps.
Now I just tried to make a metaphor where birds represent people, but I couldn’t figure what actual people represent in that particular metaphor. I cringed at every possibility, thinking of what readers would think of my writing. So I guess I’m not that rare a bird that embraces its uniqueness yet. I don’t know if we ever really get there in mid-life.
But wouldn’t that be cool to be on a stamp?