The Last Modern Conversation (And A Lengthy Postscript Wherein M Contemplates What Happened, What Went Wrong) Poem by Dennis Ryan

The Last Modern Conversation (And A Lengthy Postscript Wherein M Contemplates What Happened, What Went Wrong)



begun Thursday morning, March 22,2012; completed Monday night, March 10,2014 at 9: 48 p.m.; briefly updated Monday, August 1,2022 at 12: 50 p.m.

'Hitorigoto moto moto zen zen iwanai kedo. '/'I never really talk to myself.'
- A Japanese native speaker engaging in soliloquy in a Japanese-English cross-linguistic study

She looked at me then—
'Everybody needs somebody, '
and again when—
'but no one cares for anyone.'
F: 'So this is it? '
M: 'I think so. A lot's missing...'
F: 'Really? '
M: 'Yes.'
F: 'I'm okay with it, if that's what you want, but...'
M: 'But what? '
F: 'Tell me why I'm always on the alert? '
M: 'On the alert... with me? '
F: 'You too.'
M: 'I have no idea.'
F: 'Why I'm always worried about....? '
M: 'Maybe you've got too much goin' on.'
F: 'Why I always hide my true feelings? '
M: 'It's not like you're telling me anything new—'
F: 'Why I threaten to walk out, then flatter and lie to get you back? '
M: ''Well, I....'
F: 'I hate you.'
M: 'You always want your way.'
F: 'Don't say that! Don't—you always—! '
M: 'But it's true! '
F: 'F-- you, your honesty! '
M: 'Sincerely yours.'
F: 'My heart—'
M: 'Your heart? You're so vain! Envious of others—'
F: 'Shut up! '
M: 'Overly materialistic.'
F: 'You always say the wrong thing at the wrong time! I measure myself against the successes and failures of everybody else, but feel so alienated and insecure.'
M: 'Not a bad start... You measure yourself out...'
F: 'Exactly. That's why—'
M: 'You need me. When you need me... Sentence completion....'
F: 'You're being honest again....and ironic, as usual.'
M: 'Thanks a lot.'
F: 'I need you when I need you.'
M: 'Yeah... Who's being honest now? '
F: 'I'm afraid you... you seem so distant lately? '
M: 'I don't value what you do. ‘Be the best'. All of that.'
F: 'But you want to excel! You love excellence.'
M: 'In certain things. In certain people. You. But at what cost? '
F: ' ‘All of the things you want me to be...' '
M: 'Nelly Furtado.....again? You ever read...? '
F: 'Hobbes' Leviathan? '
M: 'You wrote the book.'
F: 'Wrote the book? You always get this way when you don't get what you want.'
M: 'Want? You want me to serve you. I can't do it anymore.'
F: 'No one's forcing you...'
M: 'You mean ‘Stay in touch. We can still be friends.' That stuff? '
F: 'You are so, so asinine... sarcastic.'
M: 'No. You don't give, reciprocate. No point. You won't change.'
F: 'I can't...I can't permit... '
M: 'You mean our contract? '
F: 'Our contract'?
M: 'All contracts are mutually beneficial to the parties...'
F: 'That's enough! Enough! I hate your sarcasm! '
M: 'It's just that everything's in my—'
F: "Everything IS in my favor—so what? '
M: 'Just being honest again? Forget yourself? '
F: 'It suits me.'
M: 'I wish I could... these emotions... absent before your arrival.'
F: 'What do you mean? '
M: 'Sometimes talking with you feels like talking to myself... at others like to a merciless stranger.'
F: 'I don't talk to myself. I have a ‘roommate', remember? '
M: 'How could I forget? You don't take the time.'
F: 'To talk to myself? Why should I? '
M: 'You don't like yourself very much.'
F: 'There you go again! I'm attractive, intelligent. I've accomplished a lot! I work hard! '
M: 'And you're very well adjusted. It's always nicer when someone else notices these things.'
F: 'I'll miss you, but in all honesty—'
M: 'Save your honesty for next time.'
F: 'You always blame me for everything, use words to hurt me.'
M: 'Like you haven't hurt me worse, and don't know it.'
F: 'You have choices! Getting hung up on me...'
M: 'Like you haven't tried everything... Loving you is killing me.'
F: 'You always try to get me to believe it's something I did, said! '
M: 'That doesn't change anything. You don't give.'
F: 'Now you're acting like there was never anything between us.'
M: 'Goodbye...I'm outta here.'
F: 'Honestly, you don't matter to me anymore. I—'
M: 'I know. I knew. Believe me, I knew. You don't know what you need. You do, but...'
F: 'You're just somebody I...'
P.S. We've talked several times since. She was upset about me not saying goodbye when I moved—a one sentence email. She hasn't emailed since; I haven't telephoned... no, a brief voicemail. Gone unanswered. We talked once before that, but she always wanted me to call, wanted my attention always. (This is how she is.) When I finally did, the second time... some two years later, she slammed the phone down—I couldn't agree with her terms, stated, implied, unspoken, otherwise, so we don't talk in any way anymore. Kinda sad, but okay with me. At one time, she mailed me some film... CINEMA PARADISO. Told me she... 'This is my personal copy.' And I sent her ‘TILL OTHER VOICES WAKE US... DREAMLIFE OF ANGELS, a couple of others. When I talked to her about a few scenes in 'TILL OTHER, the film's ending, what it meant to me—how I had spent time in the city, Queens, March of 1980—it made her envious, jealous. Guess I should have known better. She doesn't get it, me... actually she does, but just doesn't like me talking like that, I think... baring my soul in front of her, dredging up the past. I'm like that you see. She eventually sent the films back, at my request, got mad... She just doesn't... thinks too much of herself, her wants—her needs not mine. Except that... she hides her true feelings... to protect herself, always. Always has since I first met her. Some things won't change with her, especially takin' care of number one... smart woman. Then and now... Did I think things through? No, not really. Can I change my mind? Well, I already have to some extent... but tomorrow is tomorrow. She sometimes acts like a spokeswoman for Cover Girl, L'Oreal (you've seen the ads) looks, looked like one of the models. I want her to look like Nelly Furtado in 'Try', her YOU TUBE video, but K looks more like an older Natalie Imbruglia in 'Torn' and the 'That Day' videos, singing, acting... only taller, cuts her hair shorter now, half-Sicilian. No, Calabrian—K's family came from Calabria, close by Sicily. I know there's a poet in her somewhere wanting to break out... maybe already has as she sent me a few poems a few years back, one about growing up facing a young woman's conflicts and fears in Brooklyn, then Staten Island. Now, she's torn between her real life and... this, my last confession? No, there's so much more to her, to this. She wants everything to go away, go smoothly now, but....look out for... I mean... I think about her... and I don't know, but I guess she thinks about me from time to time too, all things being equal. 'There you go again, ' I imagine her saying, 'saying things to hurt me.' And she hurting me in turn, just more subtly. (We can't change some things.) I love how that one YOU TUBE video begins, the young woman running forward, then turning, looking back, smiling happily into the camera, her hair flying in her face, all around her head in the early morning sun... the light flashing through and off it in every direction....That's you... in Brooklyn, the all-girls Catholic high school, at Rutgers and St. John's; when we had a beer sitting on the hood of your car that early spring evening; when you surprised me with the bottle of champagne to christen the new house; when you knocked on the door and pressed your nose onto the window glass, looking at me intently; watching our kids play baseball together. I don't want to remember anything else. At least I have that. I remember the day we stood in your front yard, and I spoke with your mother, and we walked and talked for quite some time, and later, you told me she really liked me. You can't take that away from me. It stays locked in the crucible of this heart that loves far too much, far too intensely—far too unwisely.

Monday, August 1, 2022
Topic(s) of this poem: broken friendship,friends,friendship,women,relationships,america,society,problems,money,materialism,mates,psychology
POET'S NOTES ABOUT THE POEM
I wrote this poem to show the basic difficulties and contradictions inherent in modern friendships/relationships, economic and other factors involved in the late 20th Century-early 21st Century that motivate thought and behavior.
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
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Dennis Ryan

Dennis Ryan

Wellsville, New York
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