The Collector

He collected stories like stamps,
gluing them in his mind’s spiral bound leaflets
and on occasion he would part those pages
brushing the dust away gingerly with his fingertips
to find they had aged, and cracked,
but more interestingly, had morphed
and only slightly resembled
the charming anecdotes they once were.
His stories were not usual ones
full of adversity, heroism, or moral.
Instead, they were whispers of depravity,
debauchery, and delicacy.
Loosely intertwined were blots of humor
dropped in the most indecorous places.
His stories were not fictional,
but they were in-credible and un-believable
to the audience of a few whom he cornered at debutante parties.
He was odd, and ofttimes avoided, but respected for his brilliance.
His hobby appalled and fascinated at the same time.
And his listeners in their black bow ties and tinsel gowns,
wide-eyed and rubber-necked,
once having eavesdropped,
would focus intently on his words, and still
remain to display disgusted looks on their faces.
This gentleman, with his idiosyncrasies,
like a ringmaster to circus freaks, yet
still warm and convivial,
and a restless insomniac,
made his nightly junket
into the dark passages of the world without slumber.
He befriended lost souls
that luck had ignored
and took their confessions, their plight
with an anthropological wryness, and
recorded them into his mind’s spiral bound leaflets
for no one’s sake or pleasure but his own.
He had no goal to educate his targets;
the slumberless, or the aural party voyeurs,
nor did he intend to change lives.
His tales were not wrought with sympathy.
Like a grandmother’s teacups on a shelf,
he sought different patterns, and stockpiled
not something so rare,
as something so rarely treasured.
But as time promoted his body,
so his yarns became tangled.
The bindings that held the pages were loose.
Some pages had drifted out into oblivion, undetected,
on the occasions he would finally sleep long enough to dream.
The gritty details which made his gems so tactile
had disintegrated and left, mostly, the core of the chronicles.
With little to preserve,
he fumbled to save them,
confusing the delineation between events, instead
weaving an incongruous braid of torpid remarks.
In his confusion and mournfulness,
he staggered through the shadowy sleepless underground
trying to repair the finer membranes of his memory.
Whilst striving to re-piece events with those he’d collected from,
he’d get it wrong, and mistakenly divulge private goodies
to those who trade such secrets like currency in the underground.
His sufferance increased as those who sought to silence him
paid him in pain and harassment.
The congenial man with the sardonic wit,
trusted and revered by many social classes
and always sure to repulse with a calm and matter-of-fact demeanor,
had become useless to everyone, even himself.
His only choices were to forsake his quest to reclaim his joy
by retreating into his lonely apartment,
with little left to draw fondly upon
for the rest of his long nights and miserable days;
or to go full balls-out into the sooty depths
of the whores, the beggars, the addicts, the sociopaths,
the gamblers, the cheaters, drunkards, and thieves
to howl at the moon in anguish
and become one of the very objects he spent decades ogling…
Published in: on May 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A poem about the worlds relatities is how i read it.
    Considering it was long it was smoothly written and easy to follow. Nice work

  2. Ooh yes. This I think is what jogged up memories of my father.

    “trying to repair the finer membranes of his memory.” Lovely alliteration and meter there.

    Near the end, I think the meter and the flow get a little clunkier than I enjoyed in the first 3/4, maybe because you were excited to finish it? Not to be too critical. It’s great. It’s very visual!

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