A Life in the Theater
I was wrong, I shouldn’t have picked up the phone
just to read you the line you already knew from the review
the reviewer wrote that said you were no good in the play I can’t remember
and only came to see because it was you alive somewhere else in it—shining below the fake sun
and I was in love with something you said or thought or willed into being
because of just being back in the boat with the living after swimming too far out and for so long just
to meet living again. I struggled to get on board and join the [...]
The Storm We Call Progress
Strum and concept, drum and bitterness, the dog of history keeps being blown into the present— her back to the future, her last supper simply becoming the bowels’ dissolving memory in a heap before her. A child pats her back and drones there-there while under her lifted skirt is a perfect today where a cult of ghost-lovers predicts a rapture but instead remains to inherit varicose veins, rubber knickers, douches with bulbs, douches with bags, girdles in a choice of pink, red or white, and in rubber, silk or twilled linen, enemas, clysters, oils balms, and other Benjamin etceteras burrowing like scabies into the [...]
Like a Prayer
Everyone must stand alone with other loners. The black lace
veils from every other chapel- goer, all the doves mourning
a boy-star petered out too soon. Heaven help me slip through
the bars of this brick house shattered by blue light, glum moon
fidgeting with shadow. The boy’s black light vision. His sideways
ways of painting wings, crowns, anointed words and words
backtracked. Track back a beginning, what the cave muralists
meant. Not the death of the beast but the brilliant red, the rigid white
of bones. Raise folded hands and a fur-gilded skull. Crown yourself
with horns, most elegant weapons. And with slowly going embers
Poem Ending with a Phrase from Federico Garcia Lorca The last time I saw Lorenzo he was wearing a blind man’s glasses and holding the leash of a seeing-eye dog
though he isn’t blind and he doesn’t have a dog and his name isn’t Lorenzo but Bruce.
Who can explain why a man might dance on the ledge outside his office five flights above the Hudson River?
The city with five boroughs and two thousand bridges fits on one side of the coin my father gave me to give to a beggar.
It remains in my pocket as I look out the window on the day of my [...]
Either everything’s a valley, a jelly donut dimpled down the middle, or else everything’s
a collision of plates, crustal thickening on its way toward muscled mountains. Either everything’s way,
way, beyond mid-gallop or a rundown shack haystack- still, a dog-patch immobilizing glory, gumption, get up
and go. Either everything’s a sandy path leading to a dune-saving fence or nothing’s guarded, out of reach.
Which is worse: too many walls or not enough, the laciness of shams or an endless hallway of bare
jalousies, dead fly lounging on each lone pane?
All the worrier wants is love, like anyone else. But he won’t seize it for himself; he needs you to come to him, admiring the way he keeps the background safe for everyone. He can’t—maybe you’re right, he won’t—descend the pole into the heart of the burning house, the hotspot between the sheets. But someone fastidious must man the radar, someone, unlike you, who is happy in the lukewarm broth between choices. One part of him is forever holding his foot above its first step, waiting for the all-clear that can never come. Another part is waiting for you—he may move if you take his hand.
Love and Decay
Graze on the face like a fly on honeydew, bend over toward someone so that your entire body alights imperceptibly, on the cusp of action, afternoon fretted in long lines of light through a near-drawn shade. Between what you do and what you don’t do, what you can’t (but could) or haven’t (again) but have imagined, fates hang suspended in the whirl of motes over sugar, over a piece of fruit, over an orb smashed on the ground. The bride walked out of church with her bouquet, then seeing it still in her hand, she dropped it. The airplane running low on fuel cannot circle back. [...]