Having lived for others, my mother said,
she’d planned her life in thirds: first for family,
second for world, third for self. But third
had been drained by caring for her mother
as well as for my father in retirement.
She’d run out of time. Design flaws.
I no longer hear that silvery soprano tone protecting me.
The woods, deep darkly, overcome a sheer blue sky, the color of your eyesight.
How can this impeccable quiet answer me?
A whole pure run of notes shows I have practiced imprecisely.
Endless deficiencies exposed, features that exemplify America: gruff,
grub-hungry, godforsaken, hateful and hated. In fits of childish
impertinence, not great, but intransient and irrelevant as the Raj,
knick-knack of another know-it-all empire totally out of control.
Philosophers had become so dense that aphorisms took over
like hungry busboys clearing a banquet. God is dead; hell is other people; I think therefore…
One busboy copped more leftovers than he could devour,
so he packed them up for his family.
Tiffany and the Nimrod took their first night in a motel just past the truck stop, in a scarlet and white bridal suite. The motel had plastic furniture in the lobby, and “Jesus loves you,” graffitied on the condom machine in the public restroom.
I don’t know what any of it means
sword arm aching, rebelling from the wrist
illness never quite reaching retching or infarct
never quite reaching the stomach or the heart
only the seat of longing for rest, peace, cease
But what about bewilderment and the bewildered? The chance meeting of a dusky drowse with a stormy-gray late afternoon. Immaculate light meeting cobalt darkness in the lonely garbage-can alley. My electric mouth kissing your pink fingers one by one in aubergine ecstasy.
I have come to an important decision: I’ve had enough to drink. I’ve had enough of this salt air and these nights of dry smiles. Oh city of brick, oh house of dimming stars, my ancient rusting instruments.
sympathize with horses, who unrolled the plains. grass grew wide
in their tracks. yes, it’s on odd world, Dan, beyond our reasons.
might as well count violets, weigh wind, chart the angle of an eagle’s glance,
ask which nuclear bomb the US used to blow holes near the Colorado River.
Was he in Hawaii like he’d been
once in another dream?
Was he flying without wings with his daughter beside him
before they roused him from whatever lousy joy
with a baton at the window with a show me your hands