Thursday, December 30, 2010

kept in

My steps stop, doorless
at the edge of the canal to watch

mallards in snow-coats, the egrets and snowgeese
all stopped for a moment on their trek south

or wherever it is that Arctic-Canadian ducks go,
the blackgreen-headed mallards arranged in a line

four and five deep and forty across wobbling
in a tugboat's wake; and I wake

looking! at them - we all clutch at the hinges sometimes,
don't we? mine were screwed in too tightly,

too tightly to stand and watch the mallards
for more than a minute, afraid the smoke

might get through the door and kill me -
suck, suck; but oh the stately geese -

they honk, attack, and harry the tired, cold ducks;
but I could be projecting(?), here, ashes;

yet I observe the egrets, the peaceful
bickering blackwater birds not weird enough

to withstand the oscillation or the onslaught of either,
but what happiness! that they have no

dank cellar door to open or be kept in;
by mallards, by snowgeese, even shotguns

blasting their hollow bones - a regular Greek chorus
of not singing-sung birds, a moveable blessing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas!

Hope tears its way into the world
from a womb! From a womb!
Gloria, Christ-child. Gloria.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

home is not a place to spend wednesday afternoon

"It's one thing to develop a nostalgia for home while you're boozing with Yankee writers in Martha's Vineyard or being chased by the bulls in Pamplona. It's something else to go home and visit with the folks in Reed's drugstore on the square and actually listen to them. The reason you can't go home again is not because the down-home folks are mad at you--they're not, don't flatter yourself, they couldn't care less--but because once you're in orbit and you return to Reed's drugstore on the square, you can stand no more than fifteen minutes of the conversation before you head for the woods, head for the liquor store, or head back to Martha's Vineyard, where at least you can put a tolerable and saving distance between you and home. Home may be where the heart is but it's no place to spend Wednesday afternoon."

- Walker Percy, from Lost in the Cosmos

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

just making conversation

I see the point you're trying to make
but . . . there is a grizzly bear
big and brown at my window.
He's howling like a dog.

Rococo, what an interesting French building.

What were we talking
about again?

Dear God I have grown
bored, drowny-downy bored,
baroque or no baroque.

I love Campbell's soup
but Warhol seemed rather sick.

Look at that bear! Look, how he
takes my trash
in his big black paws
and pitches it across the yard!

Oh world! Oh world, that thing
is hungry.

lighthouse at sunset, lol what, judas

The news comes that Thomas Kinkade is a prick.
I'm not surprised, but why?
He's been making grandmas happy
and happier for years now.

Don't tell me
my grandma can't be happy.
Just don't. She's unhappy enough.

I'd buy that mustached
painter a drink. I talked with Judas,
he said he would, too.
But shit, man, those pictures
old T.K. paints are so bad
he'd probably sue. Sure, I said,
but it's hard to rip off a real fool.
Hard to sell out when your art is in
the homes of every geriatric Bible
collector that'd cry wolf
if your lighthouses didn't
glow so brightly, or didn't inspire
the comment: Sweet Lord,
that sunset is pretty.

(I was loved once, too.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

were i the dog

It was a long way he ran me
out that day.
Smacking my
foolish dog's skull
with the buckle--he hit me.

No, my father said,
I've killed him,
daylight turning on a hinge.

(My coat frayed in its closet,
waiting for worse weather.
I needed to get out to the fringe.
Things, when I grew, would get better at last,
out there, away, not silent,

not quiet as cemetery flowers
growing through twilit evenings
before night-time ripe with rain.)

But that day he stained me
and I ran, chased my pate-broke
bewildered dog
around the shed, not knowing
if he was alive or dead.
His throat rattled down
to his lungs. I shivered
what rage would come
were I the dog and not the son.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I’d think your eyelids would blister

from so many tears,

your wet cheeks unwalked-on

rainy sidewalks

in a sea-side city. They’re natural;

no need for cement


You look intoxicating when you cry,


No deadpan jokes can alleviate

that pressure. Just kiddy-chalk,

in pastel measures. Your sigh

devastates a world within me,

hurls twirling stars across my selfish


my nervous twitch.

It’s because you’re it baby,

you’re it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

for sleep

You were so close to death that you prayed
for heaven to come down:
but you wanted sleep, to be buried
under a thousand grains of sand,
quieted by the falling-away of time.
(Real irony is always clever

but seldom sweet.)
You'd never be the same,
praying that prayer
for sleep, for
endless closed eyelids;
you were really waiting for winter
to end, for the sounds
in the walls to cease.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

telling you telling myself

With so much brine
to swim through,
why would you
pursue this salt-cured
body? I've been pickled
for years before
you found me. Relax,
I tell myself.
I'm not the Dead Sea.
Just a tired young man
who smokes too much
chasing a lighter
state of being,
a young man from
far away who loves you,
and is fucked up anyway.
There's a line
for both of us,
we can do more than float.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

tea for one

Put it in twelve/eight and
Jimmy leave it there, howl
a bit, black yankee lover you are
just show me, show me that lick
you keep licking, put it in
twelve/eight, keep it easy,
keep those blues howling all
night, the blues', blues, Jimmy
howl, howl, howl that swift-fingered
heart of yours, till it's just you,
the guitar, drums, and bass.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

rent is due

Papers lie in little (fuck-off) piles
waiting on me ambivalently,
like old people playing chess
(or something else mind-using
that can be done dispassionately);
no. No. No. I won't look at them today:
not the doctor's bill for my summer's strep throat,
not the notice for the internet, electricity or other invisible things
I seem to need, or the dishes, greasy red,
bowls filled with grey bits of rancid rice and meat.
This is the loveliness my roommate keeps leaving for me -
and only me - to clean.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I was thinking (not feeling)
all the ways iron
is cast and wrought,
bought and bound;
oh . . .

the Age of Industry
glittered with its
cutting cold sounds . . .

maybe how
that Bit in paul d's mouth
must've been
more poisonous
than any green
moccasin's sting
or any whiteman's
cocksure fist

even mine . . . oh . . . oh.

we defy augury

"Not a whit, we defy augury. There is special providence in
the fall
of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to
come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the
readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is't
to leave betimes, let be."

- Shakespeare, from Hamlet 5.2.217-224