This morning I woke thinking of Oblomov.
A 19th century Russian Count
He refused to leave his house, refused to leave
his bed. Believed in nothing. Wanted nothing.
Got nothing. In short, a nihilist.
It was a biography I read while studying
in Paris. I stand at the sink shaving, this Russian
aristocrat’s image hangs in my mind.
Perhaps it was too much Sartre and Camus,
but I identified with this Russian’s malaise.
I smiled into the mirror. I have a case
of rampaging Oblomovism.
I thought at the time we had things in common.
Both nauseated by each day’s banalities,
both filled with a rational dislike for existence,
both feeling a conscious self-loathing.
Each dead at times.
So the image of Oblomov ruminating
about the pointlessness of his life
burns in my mind. Confined in self-exile.
Is there nothing he wants, needs?
Yes!. There is Love.
Behind imported windows built in France,
time was running out.
“Dimitri, he cries, “bring the carriage.
And for the love of God, hurry man.”
Feverish — flushed — away he flies for love!
Unfortunately for Oblomov — the Countess
of his romantic dreams is quite fickle hearted.
And to be plain she has a carnal appetite,
a real thirst for young lieutenants.
I cut my lip with the razor.
My blood soaks the Kleenex,
as I remember it was a naked poet
who told me: “a paranoid is simply
a man with all the facts.”
I linger on this thought.
Love & illusions of love did in Oblomov.
After this final disillusionment, he returned to his
country estate. There he grew old,
quarreling obtusely with his
overly inbred servants.
And with a revolver under his pillow,
never quits his bed, as he
counted out the remainder of his days.
I leave my apartment.
Drive the Harbor Freeway,
it’s clear I can’t afford
the luxury of suffering from
even romantic love.
But like Oblomov,
I grow older.
I check my revolver,
the safety’s off . . .