When a friend of mine returned from Vietnam, he went back to the factory where he’d worked before being drafted. After his first day back on the job, he locked himself in his bedroom. His mother knocked and asked if he wanted some dinner. There was no answer. She thought he was taking a nap. Minutes later she heard the shot.
The Puberty Of Smell
If the second before pulling the trigger you remember me, remember me smelling lilacs, How every time smelling lilacs I remember The time my mescalined olfactory system caught on the early morning breeze the full-blossomed and blossoming lilacs at Big Smoky Falls, How my nose approached like a boy discovering his cock feels so good he can’t help crying out, How circling the tree at nose level caressing with my nose those purple clouds of fragrance I experienced where I smell inside my skull above my mouth and under my eyes in the very center my nose’s first orgasm, Not caring if anyone saw my abandon — Though no one was there, no one but birds and songs the sun rises in them and the falls and the song of the falls and the song of mosquitoes I gave my blood to with joy — And even if I didn’t think then of the scent between pubescent legs, Or remember my boyhood cock no longer exists to caress breasts of early morning dreams, I saw them opening, all opening and opening themselves And glowing in the sun’s first rays, lifting themselves to the sun in the just-felt breeze As if they’d waited, As if everything in the Universe had waited Till I came, till I could smell them opening, my nose caressed by those blossoms, those lilacs, those clusters of fragrance and the living color called purple, As I opened and closed my eyes with my breathing, Every so often remembering where I was, Remembering I had a face and that face had a nose — for didn’t it seem to me then all I was was that smell? Jim — Even if you’ve already killed yourself, When the time comes you have my name and I have yours, write this for me, Or when next you’re about to pull the trigger, Remember in that second before you discover if you can hear the shot That for a few grains of the hourglass this was me — That I too had no choice, drawn by the smell irresistible, My nose approaching like the lover who believes no one on earth can love more passionately — Remember me then smelling so hard As if I were the first to aroma this peculiar translation of corpses, As if I were the first to make love to lilacs, As if I were entering strange houses of early morning drawn toward sleeping boys to hold lilac sprigs to nostrils of their dreams, As if I’d discovered the answer to all the questions the Universe inside my skull could ask. And so, in the second before you blow out your brain, when you look into the gun and feel where the hole in your head will be, Remember you were immortal before you were born, that even before this poem your suicide must be fragrant as lilacs, And always remember in that morning the color of lilacs, How I smelled them till I could smell them no more, withdrawing, fulfilled and wondering If you went to those lilacs at Big Smoky Falls you’d be surprised they had no smell because I must’ve inhaled it all, Wondering if I’d smelled those purple clouds so well if you inhaled from my nose you could smell them now.