the spirit of the deep keeps watch
In my daughter's old schoolyard, the building boarded up now
with curly dock and eclipta growing thru the brick walkway
like those brown folk in Gauguin's Polynesian journeys,
next to the chop shop that, according to Ms. Walker, was
raided three times this calendar year. She makes a motion
with her teeth out, of engines and transmissions sitting in
their oil and trans fluid like a kind of burgundy blood that
will not dry. The posts for the wire fencing standing erect,
one bent by an Alero in sudden reverse; the fence long
stolen by the scrapers. Nearest where the pit-bull strains his chain
between blue moons and ambulance sirens; it is his
ceremony of interring. His way of finding freedom and
perhaps some interlude of love. What else could it be?
What else can anything be but love if you do it all the time?
If you do it until it chokes you?
when i fell in love i pulled the front of
Select and Audience
Nope. no more love poems from me.
Not a single one pearl shaped and pinned,
ankle length like quick impressions made the
pedal-pushers hold inside of me.
It's my shibboleth I will say to
you, my truism; how I felt
when you want to mean a painful
thing which floats as a myth
like pushing a large stone in front of the garage.
Like having to go to work
knowing that a huge rock is there;
Like tearing up stuck with the
motor running and your
cigarettes. Like first
feeling hungry, then going
to a sudden sleep
Like Sexton in her mothers finest mink coat.
Yeah, just like that.
Embodying beauty and translucence
just like that.
i go about pretending
Most of the time, I go about pretending
that there is a part (though granted a small part)
that wants to be tied up to the bed-post
and my naked ass whipped
while I plead that the dominatrix invite me
home for new poems. Especially on those
days when I've slept too long on my face
and the blood wells up behind my eyes.
it's not always the heart;
Sometimes the mind breaks as well. Because to
be separated hurts to touch your elbow
on the hot roof of it
and loneliness makes the room dark
and the furniture licorice
and the sofa a too tight corn roll.
And to that resounding that dragged me to it's lap:
Please stop! I beg of you. Or in other words,
in season, peaches
the peach season will be over
where we will only get the unrealistic ones,
the ones you put in paper bags, for that incredible few days,
to soften. Though this process is as highly improbable a
supposition as landing softly in a hot air balloon.
What Grandma called voodoo, ancestor worship,
the chemical action of bones. Can you imagine the
hot talk? The panicked crematoria chatter?
it is true,
what the others have said about going quietly?
Is a pit the same as a heart? As kids, with bricks,
we would crack them open to see what the center
of the universe held, and each time, there was
nothing there. Just disappointment;
the burden of centuries of evolution,
folds of coil.
Bewitched, one could surmise,
is the hardest thing for fruit to understand.
Cali. and Me
I had heard that California
had burned to the ground, that through the cinders,
the fine granules seen in the cross sections
of the virion
helicopters dropping bales of water
like a hawk letting go of a pigeon
she refused to eat.
Over and over the light by an arc made.
Teacherly, in that sort of olympian way.
Clay, as my father called him,
still trembling in 02 (which we refused
to see through); the sudden ardor of youth
is the wine we drank. The architectural
quick feet shuffle. The rope-a-dope
delirium of frenzied fiend strata. Then a man
lay still. His eyes wide open but dreaming
of a sudden shining. A hot calm. Sandy beaches,
volleyball, and little dogs running through the shoals.
I had wondered was a wolf burned out, an owl family?
From my back window, I heard the firebomb thrown.
Saw the carnage, the Red Cross vests. The sirens.
Heard they owed the dope man money.
Which are the astronomical fires
of another poem.
I grew up believing that Pygmies
were little short Americans who,
fed up with cultural materialism,
hid away in jungle overgrowth
dressed in what remained of
the animals they beheaded. That they promised
each other, around a still flickering
to kill themselves before returning to
Chicago's south side or Detroit's east
side. Not now. Not with the taste of
the simplier life so fresh.
Not when clean death suggests
a drifting from human to conglomerate
where the dead are not passed away
but departed to the unskeptical land
of deities and truth-tellers. That land where
only serpents die off. Not the daily
processionals of young boys
clawing at their neighborhoods
in the brightest blues and reds,
defending the motionlessness of
the impure air, waving 45's
at some mythical foul future; promising
revenge in the tiniest of candlelight vigils.
Yet for so long
I understood, reluctantly,
this concept of borrowed space; I mean,
the precepts of being mad. That
poetry, when done with aggression,
takes up such little space.
The afternoon O.J. Simpson was acquitted
we had lunch behind the engine house
on Ryan road.
Ham sandwiches and a
loaded potato salad that had sat
too long in the sun. Boisterous
was the throng assembled, then
disassembled. All the blond,
slim white girls
in tears. Some being carried,
like me, for different reasons,
to their cars
this time, lets give a name to fate
a runaway train
could jump the tracks and kill you.
Two old lovers in a garden hugging?
Not so much.