The Hindrances of the Householder
for Josh Korda
Mark has two watches,
and I love both of them.
One is black: the other is chrome.
Mark wears one of the two watches at all times
unless painting or asleep.
The watches are quiet but emotional.
The watches are busy and hard
to pin down but they are quite sexy.
The watches are exact, but always late.
Jennifer dreamt that her dharma teacher
held her in his arms and it was sex and
not sex. This occurred in Albuquerque.
Jennifer’s dharma teacher confessed that
he had been arrested for PCP use the day before
and as a consequence his bicycle was missing.
Jennifer was confused by her dharma teacher’s mixed messages.
There was a swimming pool in the dream too.
Sometimes, people called the house and asked
for Jennifer, but it was the wrong Jennifer.
The other Jennifer was much older and
more famous, a painter.
The two Jennifers shared some facts:
they both lived in Brooklyn and
both had a fixation on swimming pools.
This other Jennifer had one such swimming pool
in her loft, before moving to Brooklyn.
The real Jennifer’s husband would
not allow her to have her own
Mark liked to introduce the real Jennifer
as the other, more famous, Jennifer.
Mark was a painter
and Mark’s friends were painters
and Mark was highly amused
by the mistaken identity.
Jennifer had a tendency to stop in
the street and listen to the neighbor’s
problems. She was consoling to them.
Jennifer would look for people in trouble
and offer help even though
her body was relatively weak and
she could not carry groceries
for the old people, really.
When the young mothers had issues
they would come to Jennifer because they
knew that Jennifer also had had issues
as a young mother and would listen to them.
Now, Jennifer had middle mother issues.
Like all of Jennifers, Jennifer had
a best friend. This best friend was called
Andrea. Andrea and Jennifer discussed
many things. They discussed childrearing
and husbands and boyfriends
and potential husbands and boyfriends.
They discussed philosophy and memoirs
and the best subway routes.
They discussed al-non and Buddhism:
disability and the mom-po list;
Portland poets and food.
They discussed Jennifer’s alcoholism
and Jennifer’s outfits and
Jennifer’s reluctance to be in the world.
They discussed Andrea’s pot habit
and Andrea’s family and homeschooling
They discussed neurology and
the right side of Andrea’s body and
eating meat versus not eating meat.
They discuss rape and abortion and
being sexualized versus being desexualized.
They discussed Larry Eigner and Jennifer’s
garden and what she should do about it.
They discussed how the neighbor stole Andrea’s bike
and sold it and what she should do about that.
They discussed chandeliers and mirrors
and clothes they landed at the thrift store.
They discussed AWP and why you can’t use a
cell phone on an airplane and the price of
hotel rooms and pets and Jennifer’s husband’s
girlfriend and being an artist versus a poet.
They discuss meditation and their dharma teacher
and common household cleaning products
and which was the best public library branch.
They discussed college versus no college
and grants and business plans
and swimming pools and yoga.
They discussed the projects of others and
what it would take to get a teaching job.
They traded ideas and books and
groceries and clothes. They traded
sorrows and worries and happinesses
and printer paper. Andrea could do
things that Jennifer could not do
and she did some of these things for her.
Conversely, Jennifer did things for Andrea;
things that Andrea did not know how to do.
He is my true friend in the sense that he deeply
cares, I mean, deeply does not care who I am.
Jennifer Bartlett is in her third year of working on a biography of the poet Larry Eigner. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.