Several Layers – Jasper Schlaffer
May 9, 2023
Onions have layers, ogres have layers
Jasper says no visitors
Jasper says advanced reservations must be made
have not been made
and paces the room.
He says: “It’s a farewell party
all my friends are gonna leave me”
And: “If you don’t want to go, I’ll have to go alone”
She nods at him
and smiles at me
I made no comment
half of them still in bed
or already again
and an army marching up and down the room
another hacks her body up
one whose dreams are all forlorn
is cold like ice-cream on a winter’s dawn
another one writes poetry,
quotes T.S Eliot and the Marquis de Sade
terribly smart and wrong from the start
he knows every statue has a concrete heart
everybody is talking to themselves
and nobody is watching.
This is to say:
I have external resources
I am neverbored.
I have 12 shadows who walk without me
3 who hold her hand
22 with monkeys on their back
and one who prays to the lord
he locks you in a bold, distinguished stare.
he can’t go to paradise no more because another
has killed a man up there
How old was I when it started?
I can tell you, missus or mister
in a polyphonic whisper.
I can speak to you and to others
None of the poems were written
under cheap tenement parquet floor
by eleven hands or more
the susurrated, r-rated kind
from licking the green mold in the
cellar of the mind
He’s had intercourse there as well
(the architecture begs for it)
4 or 5 times,
in 7 different skins
hiding sore muscles a liver and a heart you can’t see
that’s where his future birthday parties will be.
And as the grumpy one
– the one that quotes Eliot –
grants himself an undeserving nap
we smother him
and hail a taxi cab.
We will miss him too.
You see, the madhouse has a revolving door
so does the shopping center
they have insanity on discount
and the white rum for daiquiris
for all of them wearies.
here’s to social drinking
“Jasper, you’re not yourself when you’re drunk”
“On the contrary milady.
I think you mis –
you misapprehend the comprehen –
It is much more severe
I had to write a poem about it.”
I put myself together
and take myself apart
I mean, I was born three times already
have about 7 to go until I’m through
and yes, I have planned about another two with you
and maybe, just stick my scrapbooks up with glue
“The seasons change and every winter lasts forever
and when we fuck it is always the last time.”
“I know. Guess what I brought the memory foam mattress for?”
And when they came home from the ordeal
A spitball in the water with somebody’s daughter
he, last polliwog, not drowned in the liquor
sez with a snicker: “You can suck me dry like a lemon peel”
in the space between our bodies
the air had grown small fingers
Soft wind seeps through a cellar door
It was a cold winter day
I was wearing several layers.