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To An Anonymous Friend

your thinking relies heavily
on indigenous speech

to what you ask?
to where you ask?

indicating the limits of territory
and the limits of geography
cleave to the limits of class.

why are we speaking
at once and as one?

Meaning that the rooms of a Chain Hotel
in their evisceration of place
their evocation of
cause the symptoms of psychotic break
and soothe these symptoms.

Bad mothering is a template
for the Chain Hotel.

The hotel is a bad mother
in our name.
All medication is a bad mother
in our name.
Justice, commerce and language
also, in our name.

Meaning, each corner of endeavor
shall be harnessed for the national good.

What is your nation and what is its good?

Is it the Chain Hotel?
Is it the tourist economy?

A seductress has entered your hotel room.
She is free with the country at hand.
She is your fantasy of your country at hand.
She takes you in.
She gives you drinks
that taste familiar,
as if you read about them
in a story.

Soon, you think she is your mother.
Soon you think she is a virgin.
Soon you want her to stay up all night.

The Chain Hotel is suing the country you are in.
You remember this, drinking in a foreign tongue.
You say "Nada más."
You say "No merci."
You say "Bitte"
and then you fall
into characters and hieroglyphs.

This is how they like it here,
wherever you are. Disoriented.
They like you to think that you are at home.
This country is…
no, the trees, the water, the jars of amphibians
all indicate that it is not… home.

what is your home?
Am I a function of your home?
Is this a writing through of that idea
from onset to destruction?

Friend, walk into the next room.
It’s just like the one you are in.
Friend, I’m in there,
and full of theories
Oh, don’t be scared.
In this environment, nothing that easy
can touch you.
So, come in. I will look like the room.
I will smell like the countless transactions
of this room upon the idea of this room.
Outside, the dictatorship, the populace,
the misery will rustle
and I will protect you.
I will pick up the service phone and say
"Stop that rustling."
and a voice in your head
that has always been in your head
but also outside
will say "Yes, ma’am."


Caroline Crumpacker

Caroline Crumpacker is a poet living in Brooklyn. She is a poetry editor for FENCE magazine.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2004

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