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A streetlamp is trapped
in the water glass
on her bedside table:
3am and drowning.

Bright as a harpooned goldfish
dropped in – plash -
by some passing surrealist,
enroute to a better party
two blocks down.

It watches her
(the goldfish, not the surrealist)
and she peers back
from a skull like a champagned snowglobe.
Spirit shrunk
to a bleak black hole,
to sobbing antimatter -
doesn’tmatter, nothingmatters -
dwindling tinier the lonelier she becomes.
By now, from here,
the water glass is dopplered.

Beside her, sleep has strangered him,
cocooned him
with a bland, obscene completeness.
Awake, some hours before
broad hands
insensate, confident, controlled, controlling
removed first breath,
then clothes, then will
in effortless succession.
His chest,
when she rested her head there,
subtracted ten years.

But the snowglobe rests on her own arm now,
and breathing hurts
and the years are back with interest.

A dying goldfish watches this.
It’s 3am, and drowning.

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The following comments are for "3am, not waving"
by MobiusSoul

"obscene completeness"
you describe the minutiae of acute emotional entropy/ atrophy with a seasoned eye I half wish you didn’t possess, so sad it is, reading this. so sad and so familiar-feeling. your poems always have- for me, least- a nameless quality of realness, of this-happened/ is-happeningness, that I almost feel like an intruder for remote viewing these events…

a nuanced piece, for sure. as impressive a depiction of not waving as I’ve ever read.

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: November 17, 2008 )

M.S. of ten years subtracted
Mobius Soul,

Words fall from lips - scales scraped free from fish - his lips,cracked - frozen waves of time,
captured kisses, many a given grimace. Then, the narrator seems certain there have been times
when he was handsome, but at the continuous moment you have captured, spittle collects at the corners of his mouth as words continue to fall, tiny fragments - snow upon the lamppost in a glass paper weight. Truly enjoyed.

Thank you for this.


( Posted by: Ariana [Member] On: November 17, 2008 )

MobiusSoul..."not waving"
Another microcosmic representation, offered real.

Really enjoyed.

"and the years are back with interset."..primo.

Robert William

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: November 17, 2008 )

AMG, Ariana, B7L...
Shannon - thank you. I aspire more exclusively to that ephemeral quality of 'realness' as time (and poems) go on. Usually, something genuinely did happen, but it's often unrecognisable by the time I've finished extrapolating and free-associating it into a poem. Besides, I guess I wouldn't be posting here if your 'remote-viewing' bothered me!

I am touched by your sympathy... perhaps my posts are too depressingly obsessed with failures of human connection. Although it sometimes feels that way, life really isn't an endless parade of such failures. I'm also prey to chronic pragmatism; long spells of bovine contentment; occasional outbreaks of irrational joy. But somehow, what lingers in the mind, snuffling poignantly and demanding poems, is the myriad variety of man's inadequacy to man. I suppose every failure, like every disfunctional family, seems unique, wheras every happy one does not.

I may have to steal 'acute emotional entropy/atrophy': more prose-y than poem-y, but nevertheless damn fine.

Ariana - thank you for the interesting comment. I like your characterisation of words as scales scraped free from a fish, although the defining feature of this poem, when I wrote it, was rather the complete absence of words. The failure of verbal or emotional communication. Sure, the sleeper may be handsome and charming when awake, but he's not supposed to be ugly or cruel in the moment described either. All that's betrayed is the lack of genuine intimacy. Noone is to blame.

Bobby - glad you enjoyed. This still feels a bit shoddy in places, but I've hit stasis with it for the time being. I've already cut out a lot of meandering maundering - your reductionist instinct might have been proud :)

( Posted by: MobiusSoul [Member] On: November 18, 2008 )

believe it or not
it's almost 3am as i read your poem. perhaps that's why i like your poem so much. it's definitely a 3am kind of poem. i love the imagery - it's so dense with creative imagery you can cut it with a knife and eat it with a spoon. a fine poem.


( Posted by: johnjohndoe [Member] On: November 22, 2008 )

3am, response to
In parts, 3am, breaks out into rich descriptive bijous of Tennyson like qualities. Where readily not, the poet within battles with plates of political correctness. Too direct in places where MobiusSoul gives way to A.E. Poe like clinical depressionisms- still keen and literary. For my part, 3am, is thoroughly suggestive on two levels, [1] interconnectedness of, [2] narrator's reflections, both plausible and omnipotent. The poem is deep and inner reflective: remains accessible. I award, 3am, a [9] even in light of PC (adjustment) and simple diction below. Form slight wayward.

(the goldfish, not the surrealist)
doesn’tmatter, nothingmatters -

I'd love to see a revision of this piece? Potential++


( Posted by: firstedition [Member] On: November 22, 2008 )

JJD & First edition
JJD - wonderful comment. A poem composed at 3am should, I think, ideally be consumed in the same frame of time and mind. So I'm very pleased you did so and found that it suited. How lucid you manage to sound at what, for me, is a twitchy, hallucinatory witching-hour of insomnia & irrational ideas...

FirstEdition - the parts of your comment that I best understand seem quite complimentary, so thank you. The parts I do not, I'm afraid I can't really respond to ('Where readily not, the poet within battles with plates of political correctness')?? I'm not even sure if you're referring to my 'poet within' or yours. Mine has found, albeit reluctantly, that in matters-of-the-heart (or lack of it) political correctness carries little weight... and seldom improves the poetry either.

( Posted by: mobiussoul [Member] On: November 23, 2008 )

caitlin, wow.
really well done, girl.

aching, dark blue, beautiful. yum.

one question. by this line:

more like pianos that like pianist’s -

did you mean:

more like pianos than like pianist’s -



( Posted by: ark [Member] On: February 16, 2009 )

Ark? Long time no see!
Many thanks for dropping by here on a visit back to the 'old country'. (I see with pleasure that you have something new: I'll be over there shortly.)

I like this poem for its mood, but less for some of its words. That 'pianos' line seemed clumsy at the time, and clumsier on returning to it a few months later. What did I mean? Well, you know the cliched description of having 'pianists' hands': you know how sexy big, sensitive hands can be on a man? Or perhaps that's just me. But the point is that physical attributes are useless without emotional intelligence behind them. 'Pianist's hands' are just big beautiful-looking blocks of wood if they're not communicating anything musical.

Get it? Nope, nor would I, reading my own poem. Oh dear. I'm must do something about that line.

( Posted by: MobiusSoul [Member] On: February 17, 2009 )

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