The People in this Room I'm in

Charles Gariepy

A series of self-portraits



Perching on a radiator
the casual pull
on a spliff and laughing,
          just going-on
          in-between broken clips 
of foreign languages
more like to flirting
          in American-English
than pronouncing correctly
          (in Portuguese)
the perfect way to say:
          "Why, yes, I do!
          I do, too—in love
          with the cinema—
          don’t you think?"


Claire's new guy, Ray
          Is he from the East Coast?
With his spatial-learning ability
          and personal tendency 
to glance all-around the room, frenzied
drinking vodka, chewing gum
          when we all are not drinking
tonight: that's not to pass judgment on ol’ Ray

He has an all-too-familiar but charming way
of passing metaphor that I've only read
in long, epic tomes by amateur meteorologists,

sure, it's academic
but there's no money in it
          "Poor, Claire"
says Bradford, her college boyfriend
who now just-so-happens
to be gay. 



An actual meteorologist—finally!
          someone who reads ahead, knows something
          about the rain: when will it stop? when start?
and whether we can
drive all the way from here to Wellfleet
in this rattletrap and in one day
          without running-out gas
or get-caught in the muddy dunes out there
by Gull Pond; in the rain, it's nearly impossible
to get out—
          We'll spend all summer getting stuck and stuck again, like last year
          and the year before, which feels like
forever ago. 



Bored of everyone here in town
Gloria moved upstate on the 9:14 
          to marry a sculptor—they'd met online 

And shared a barn outside Mount Tremper
where the Buddhists meditate on singing bowls
and nothing left to do but hobbies.

When later she came back,
The stories were all true, but dull:
just after three months, another minute
with a strange, difficult man
was “more like a life-sentence
than a life goal,” was said.

Later in Spring, one lazy afternoon
the Sun dripping off and on
the fire-escape, she and everyone we knew
began planning a week-long trip to Lisbon
that never took.  And why not?
          When Gloria was so adamant…


Lu, "Lu!" 



Once upon a time, Madison called Gloria "Gloria Steinem"
This was in college when Gloria, who was born-again feminist
released white mice into the lecture hall of Intro to Game Theory, Fall 2006
who made all of us re-watch Charlize Theron in Monster
before dragging us to Mad Max in 3D, opening weekend when she and Mad kissed
on the lips, on a personal dare, more like a pact
and when Madison actually, finally, totally moved to New York from her parent's
she slept on Gloria's couch until finally, totally, actually got a job selling 
knitwear at a boutique shop on Fulton and organizing late-night moon-tours
of Prospect Park for willing (and mostly) Scandinavian tourists.
There is something so profound about her subtle drift through life—we all agreed—
though it is rarely rewarded and often mistaken for some greater worldview
which is simply not true of it at all.