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May 01, 2010
Lamppost Poem #23
I became a tree hugger to meet other tree huggers, but it turned out they only wanted to meet trees.
At our first meeting, I wrote my name with a wooden pencil, and I was accused of eating the flesh of a tree. I denied this, but realised I was chewing the end of the pencil, so I rectified the wooden and sticky situation by living with trees for a week, to learn about them, to be closer to them, to one day call them something other than ‘them’.
This tree is not a calculated thud on the ground. Phone calls are made with osmosis, but they never speak; only mumble. A sound is made when a lamppost collapses, but can it be heard if no one is around? Witnesses cannot see without a lamppost light, and are never heard from again, which isn’t too much of a shame considering their presence ruins the main condition of the question.
In forests, Lysander and Hermia throw away the candles and dine by lamppost light. He is not an expert in global warming, but in an alternate reality, he is. Paris in the Autumn is indifferent when a tree loses its leaves. I wear green, but feel blue. The polar caps melt, and somewhere, a tree laughs because the tree always gets the last laugh, as long as it isn’t Autumn.
I join a group of lamppost huggers to meet lampposts, but the other lamppost huggers are more interested in people.
I meet someone called Chris, and he says: “I don’t really like lampposts. I only joined to meet other lamppost huggers. I guess that I’m a people person.” I look at him with disgust, and notice that he wears gloves whenever he touches a lamppost, which he only ever does if Cynthia is watching. It turns out his real name is Juke or Child or something like that, but it doesn’t matter. In my head, I am still anti-Chris. I am the anti-Chris.
In a thunderstorm, don’t stand under a tall true. It’s funny because it’s tree.
I stand in Raferton, a city where artworks speaks for itself, but only in the language of graffiti. The grass is grey and cemented, and leads to libraries and pet shops that only sell fireworks. The city has two fingers down its throat, but licensed a professional artist to paint flowers on brick corners; the flowers are painted dead with the artist’s signature above them. Love letters and birthday cards are undelivered, but never unwritten. Traffic lights have staring contests with drunk strangers who wonder where their day has gone, wondering if it will ever return to give them a second chance to live their day and do nothing again. The city is an insomniac, always awake when the night breaks, and it aches and aches in the city, the sick Dalmatian, the tree hugger who hugs a lamppost, the last child to find its happy meal, and I love it, I love the lampposts, I love the graffiti, I love the city, I love the spindles of chlorophyll and incandescent light-emitting diodes.