I was sitting at the Tahitian Lānai piano bar
with the actual Surgeon General of the United States,
on vacation here in Waikīkī, staying at the Moana Hotel.
He was so drunk he’s telling me how he sneaks smokes at work,
puffing away standing under the exhaust fan in the men’s can.
He ordered an extra wide desk so anyone coming to see him
has to sit quite a ways from him and can’t smell the incriminating evidence,
while he’s dictating the ways in which we can all live healthier lives.
No, nothing there. I tune him out.
Turning to the woman on my left,
I tell her I’m taking a psychobiology course at U.H.
This opens her up fast, right away saying,
I remember that my brain is subdivided into sections
that handle different things,
like memory, breathing, speaking, and all that stuff.
I remember I left it somewhere, can’t remember where, obviously,
and I think it’s a miracle that I’m still able
to be breathing and speaking to you.
Where are the stories I could be writing,
the subjects for poems I should be composing?
All I do is grouse about writer’s block,
get distracted thinking how casual sex
with the Surgeon General would be an iffy choice,
his breath reeking of tobacco and lifestyle advice,
or with the drunk woman, who says she loves animals,
as I note the furry furbelow finished hem of her leather skirt,
hear her say she could go for a burger and some buffalo wings.
My creative writing professor said all writers are vultures and vampires,
picking over the bones of their family and friends,
seeking out morsels to incorporate into their work,
sucking the life blood from everyone they meet
so as to infuse their creations with lifelike realism.
But me, I can’t find any stories anywhere.
I’m not a vulture, a vampire, wasn’t born to hunt.
All I ever seem to do is spend lots of time not writing.
Instead, like nowadays, I kick back with my Nutter Butters,
not, I’ll guess, the treats of choice for real artists,
binge on Ozark, Sons of Anarchy, and Breaking Bad,
pet my dog, give him a Nutter Butter or two –
Hey maybe I could try teaching him to type,
turn him loose on the computer, see what he might write.
Publish it as my own? That would be villainous. A good story?
Painfully plotless I drift off to the sound of TV screams,
the wasting and the soon to be wasted echoing through my dreams.