Fridge Tree

The underwater tennis match at work has gotten ugly. There’s clearly shit I could be doing, but not of it is terrifyingly urgent, the way everything has been for the last month, so I am loathe to do anything. But I can’t leave because of the underwater tennis match: I am watching them returning my serve in ultra-slow-motion, I have to be ready. If I had an iPhone I could blah blah etc. I ate food.

I often tell people, via email, that I am

  • sick
  • sleepy
  • hungover
  • in a bad mood

As if they care. As if it’s important. As if it colors our correspondence. “Please.”

I read a poem on the New Republic’s website. It was called “Fringe Tree” by James May. Since I’m just sitting here, angry without deserving to be angry, awake without deserving to be awake, without carpal tunnel syndrome and still with plenty of central vision, I’m going to fake-angrily “rewrite” the poem. A pointless act of deconstruction. I’m “taking back the night,” where the night wasn’t “taken away” in the first place.

Here is the full text of May’s poem, legally reproduced here under protection of the Fair Use doctrine, since I am using the poem for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, or scholarship:

Fringe Tree

by James May

–Or Old Man’s Beard.
That the names we give recall the thing
is what we want. And yet, both names are boring
when compared to the way it shimmers there
like a firework that somehow doesn’t fall,
or the way it will fall eventually
from itself, swirling its gauzy pollen
in the wind above the lawn
where the children next door run outside in late April,
swearing to their mother that it’s snowing.
And even after they know they’re wrong,
they squeal, insisting their mistake
is something to dance through, something
to repeat and repeat again–not hoping
to make it right, just enjoying what it is
and what it looks like the more they say so.

here’s my version:

Fridge Tree

Why are adults so ashamed
of the smells they leave behind
in bathrooms? Little vomiting daughters,
their eyes unseasonal rainstorms, or, like, kalidescopes.
Seriously, bro. Your advanced degrees
Didn’t prepare you for this. The poetry editor
At The New Republic emailed this morning,
Telling me she liked “Fridge Tree.” That she
wanted to “take it.” Why are the names of things
So much hornier than the things themselves?
Aristotle doodles a picture of a vagina in the snow
Using a stick he found in Ancient Greece. What’s
up, bro — indeed.