We grew up hard.
We acted like children.
we played school.
I carved my name
on the desk of my flesh.
I wrote mash notes
to Mary Jo Talarico's
had a solid set of gams,
in silky hose.
I wanted to touch her.
I wanted to reach out
and run one finger
Love was getting the strap
for talking back.
Love was detention,
our little rendezvous.
I wanted to make babies,
little baby babies,
however that happened.
THERE ARE MANY ROADS BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE ST. CHARLES AVENUE
I threw out the mouthwash and the white wine vinaigrette,
caught myself redhanded in the pantry
banging failure in the dark. In the bath,
I did a charcoal, called it "Mortifications of Youth"
but its dishonesty was hot junk blue.
My sterile canvas spasms for the new.
I wrote THIS IS A FALSE GOD on each mirror
and meanwhile Mardi Gras was yelling
'PINK ME!' on the street below so
I got myself all dolled up in rags
and called a cab, threw my canvas
in a holster, fell downstairs into
midnight rum, a delirium of giving in
and falling through.
I ended up dead at your
in the museum. Every surface pristine
as after the rapture. Even the dust had risen.
Your fingers (the real thing) melting me
to the floor, which was waves,
which was India.
I took the pebble road across
the quiet continent of your voice.
You said, While you are not safe,
I am not safe... and so I slept
for thirty seconds, an era,
a whole moment where color was uproarious
again like in the '40s.
I don't know anything but
your hands are kind.
I owe you at least this sculpture
done in smoke
you saved my only life.
We must share
“This is a
My pain is
a squadron of
On the thunderous
there’s more manure
Nora, drop your
sling & scythe,
for I am here to
offer you relief
Run through a dead airport under a burning white sun. Thirty-seven degrees, not even
noon. Break the body, mend the mind. Spare the ferule, spoil the child. Your pleasures don’t
shimmer and shine in the sun. Your pleasures pound a body over tarmac in sweltering,
pitiless heat. They tear the throats of shoes stitched by imagined children in subhuman
regions. Run through an aerodrome splayed by two parallel runways. Runways are for
vessels of titanium and steel yet here you are, all heart lungs liver viscera, here you are all
blood and glass, here you are. Now lacerate the atmosphere. Board hundreds of planes,
never land once; neither here and barely there. Endless lack of gratification is yours as
revealed on this track paved for leisure and war. This airport is dead and you are alive,
at home in multiple realities. Don’t think, here are the signs. People who read the signs
are not better than people who do not read the signs. (You do not read the signs). Before
the war, there were cows. Before cows, forest. Before forest, ice. Run through the dead
airport, counter to the direction in which you entered. Run beside a water tower, barbed-
wire, bodies reduced to cylinders, eyes to diamonds. Lose briefly a mind bound to arbitrary
certainty. Run and then run harder. Leave only when you know this dead thing is closed for
living things like you.
WORDS TO PLOUGHSHARES
Let’s play some more
team catch, this time
with terms like sir
you can come up
with to create
order, a sense
of nonchaos to attribute
to the world: row
upon row of bricks
to the foundation,
into geometric constructs--
food pyramids, circles
of mitosis, square meals,
cycles of life and death--
two-way roads, the theory
that daylight can be saved
claiming that life is based
on repetition. In fact,
it never repeats.
never repeats. It neve--
have you ever based your next
sentence on another sentence
you swallowed while riding
a bike with your mouth open?
nations, genders, the words
that mean honor
, my grandmother
I grew up in her house,
then left her alone only
long enough to die
from a mixture of chronic
diabetes and stubbornness.
What you call repetition,
I call cheap facsimile:
the color’s almost right,
but the brushstrokes are far
too impulsive, the original
was made with patience
and a delicate hand.
Over the years, the mirrors
just get softer and softer.
CORNER OF WINE AND WINE
Two stems flute like barefoot grapes.
Drowning gripes in red and white. Blush
of giggling faces, friends. Though solitary
solace is just as comforting. Bouquets
and notes that taste nothing like
descriptive blurbs on bottles. Glass
always half full.
CORNER OF BURIED AND RESURRECTED
Half exhumed. Maybe
down too long. Underground
passages require energy to dig, and collapse
around themselves, crumble. I have
eaten my share of dirt, worm food.
Tired, I tunneled upward and waited
for someone to start digging down.