Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Two Poems by Dylan Sonderman

That Damn Green Bowl

Never again will I eat
diverse varieties of slop
from you
whether week-old leftovers
or freshly nuked creations
after thousands of rotations in the microwave
your plastic gut once held
terrible bean salad
decent chicken parm
ramen noodles
unthinkable amounts of ramen
Lipton pasta sides
Uncle Ben's rice
2% milk and Golden Grahams
oatmeal with apples and peanut butter
(which I liked to call "peasant soup")
chocolate pudding
vanilla pudding
cookies and cream pudding
so much amorphous matter
rested in your trough

I suppose we had some times
during one of those lonely stretches
you sat on my lap, in my efficiency apartment
while I watched my first Aronofsky film (Pi)
since I had no table, I balanced you as best I could on my legs
until I scalded my lap with hot soup
thanks to your flimsy green sides

And how many times did I break a sweat
scrubbing caked-on messes from your entrails
hunched over the tub, since my tiny apartment had no kitchen sink
the heat of the bathwater searing you and I
like some kind of Hell ritual
branding our joined flesh with soapy vows

But it wasn't all bad
I also served a romantic dinner in you
to a beautiful young woman
during our honeymoon phase
at least a dozen times, surely
I can just picture
your rough edges in the flickering candlelight
a glass of Pinot Noir at your side
the scraping sounds as the spoon hit your bottom
a sure sign my cooking was a hit

You followed me from my freshman-year dorm
to the cozy two-bedroom apartment
I shared with my fiance
until over a year after graduation day
when I moved out, when she broke things off with me
I left you behind
decaying in the sink

for a stupid, forgettable piece of plastic dishware
that I probably bought at WalMart or Target for three dollars
I can't help but seeing you as some half-baked symbol
death of my childhood, birth of cynicism
a lost relic of the transition period
spanning between 18 and 24
but ah . . . maybe that's too on-the-nose
you're gone now
and despite everything we had
I say
good riddance.

How a Keyboard Dies:

drizzling rain, Saturday,
November, maybe 7:00 pm
already dark out
no stars
and I stalk out of the apartment building
dragging this bulky thing behind me
yes, through the mud
preparing for the last performance
jagged asphalt by the dumpster:  12 tone concerto
I turn the volume on the Casio all the way up
set the voicings to layer piano and strings
turn on a cheesy jazz beat
from the pre-programmed library
and with both hands
lift the cheap synth over my head
drums build tension
in time with my heart rate
I'm tapping the Tempo + button
unstable crescendo
rhythm rising
to the moment

the keyboard against the ground
white keys, black keys
dead keys
natural and accidental notes cry
staccato bursts of pain
again and again my arms swing
imagine beating someone to death like this
I'm shrieking in harmony
alone in the parking lot
the dissonant wails are profound

To my pounding ears
this exorcism of my chromatic anguish
sounds better than any song
I ever played in serenade for her

I let go on the last swing
it clatters across the pavement, bleeding
I'm shaking, breath coming in gasps
but still I focus in
active-listening to the final gurgles
before discarding the battered corpse
of a fellow music maker
with the rest of the useless garbage
and then I go back inside, dry off
finish packing my shit
to leave this deaf place

Dylan Sonderman has contributed to Pyrokinection, The Burr, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, and Luna Negra.  When not reading or writing, he lives to play music and sing.  He currently writes for AltOhio.

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