D. B. DEVILLIERS

Poetry

Month: August, 2016

Color No. 8

Here’s a change of pace from the usual poetry.


One of the only times I feel like a human being is when I’m polishing my shoes.

My collection is respectable. I tend to go English for boots, Italian for shoes. Kiton, Santoni, John Lobb, Edward Green. Always handmade. A lot of people don’t like the narrow toe box of Italian shoes. I am not one of those people.

This morning, however, I’m wearing American. By Alden of Middleborough, Massachusetts—shell cordovan nine-eyelet boots, cap-toe, plain, plaza last, Color No. 8.

Though I’ve spent time abroad, I consider myself quintessentially American.

I keep my shoe care supplies in a WWI-era ammunition box which my grandfather some decades ago had fashioned into a shinebox—complete with a cast-iron footrest fixed to its weathered hardwood lid.

From the box I retrieve his ancient horsehair brush, made by Melco of New York. I’ve never found another horsehair brush which could compete with his. I don’t know if that company still manufactures them, or even if it still exists, but a legacy of a kind lives on in this brush.

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Letter To Myself/Ravings

Years ago
I remember
I wrote myself a letter
to be opened at some distant point in time
one long since passed by;
funny how the future seems to become
the past without ever really
being the present at all
it just barrels along too fast for anyone to keep up
and that’s why I never opened that letter
which I’d fully intended to read on the date
the date I’d arbitrarily chosen for reading that letter
but we’re two different people
my past and present selves
and not two people who’d get along
no, if I could speak to myself in the past
or pose a question to myself in the future
I wouldn’t
I wouldn’t say a fucking thing
because what I’d say to me at seventeen
if I could think of anything to say
would fall on deaf ears that
don’t know that
they can’t hear
and anything I could ask the future
couldn’t be answered—
not in any way I’d understand.

Maybe this is what people talk about
when they talk about living in
the moment
and taking it day by day
and those sorts of cliches
but I always figured it’d bring about some zen-like calm
serenity state of self-secure sangfroid.
No, another concern just slides up to take its place
like hydra heads springing from severed stumps.

There’s no winning since
all the players die first
the game beats itself
when no one’s left alive to play
and then it ceases to exist
for a game is no more than the people who play it.
I guess that’s why life itself is one game I don’t play
to win.
It’s rigged every which way
and it always wins
I don’t.
I guess the reason I play at all is that I’ve always done it
I can’t remember any different
and I often think about how I can jump to my feet, overturn
the table
draw down on the dealer
contact range, base of skull
crack
turn, level the pistol
toward the door, crack
crack crack round the deadbolt
bring my boot-heel to bear upon the mechanism and
run off into the night
but where would I go?
and what would I do?
I’ve got a sinking feeling that there’s
nothing past that door except nothing
so I’ll keep quiet and I’ll keep playing
keep losing, keep losing, keep the piece in its holster
dealers dealing, doors barring
medullae and lock cylinders intact.
I have a vague, sinking sense that there’s
nothing, nothing better out there.

Besides, the room is warm
the company’s not bad
the drinks are cold
and I’m losing with
utterly impeccable style
which in my experience is
much more memorable than merely
winning.

I haven’t read the letter, don’t intend to.
I’m too busy keeping busy
for
that.

What We Can

We all do what
we can.
We all do
what we can
just what we can
just as well as we can.
Even the devil’s
probably
doing no worse
than the very best
he can.