Monday, March 26, 2018

Blah Blah Eternity

1

I’m in hot water: lodestone
malfunction, throbbing
ocean on my back.

My shell’s beauty –
hardened by time – I 
meant to master. Eyes,

but the blind kind, ears 
not to hear, nose
full of sweat

one should love.
Incrementally is best
says mercy.

Lull into dream
does the trick.
To be a hot cloud,

pink when I set.
But what of the steamy wrath 
I became?

Engraved surrender,
body of low words
like the gods once were.

2

I AM, that's true, 
religion of one, miracle
Of timing, timepiece

of the divine no
genius can ever solve,
hallowed be my name –   

I knelt at the figure
of that lovely man
in a simple robe

of earth, spread-eagled
eyes on the jumbled
throng, on me, my song

nailed to itself,
flesh to spirit,
spirit as flesh,

earth and sky
nailed to the prayer
that repeats after me

like a kid says 
over and over “Dad, 
listen to me, please?”

3

Delved into it
on all sides going back
generations,

and it’s doom & gloom
looks like. Screwed
if it bears fruit.

The great-great-greats
fell in pain
where they lived,

uncles and aunts
hammered their hearts,
lots of wheezing.

This is a deathbed
denial: whatever
got done, I meant

something else, or didn’t
do it at all. Acquitted
like all of us

of our alleged crimes
amid the stars.
Bottoms beckon.

4

Meantime, a PC-
coffee-glut, and touchdowns,
the boom boom boom

of victory; koans
serve obituaries. Poor Pres, 
no wading in the palace

fountain, no dipping
for lucky Lincolns
or an FDR;

not enough iodine
for the masses. 
His thinking

cracks like lightning,
conveys death
to non-believers.

Our guys and gals
wear the white hats
to stay cool

in the unforgiving shine.
They fit perfect.
It never sets there.

5

Terrible things happen.
time, space agree
it’s always terrible.

Wonderful things
happen and everyone
is afraid to see.

It’s like a new marriage;
rushing around,
forgetting things

then remembering
what’s best to forget.
A final sweep

of the old terrain.
It ends like one too,
with a falling

on the bed, arms
wide open, big
accomplishment.

Terrible wonder
in measure. And now,
what now?

6

I’d like to know who
will run the upkeep
when the center falls

apart, who will dispose of
the cars, trucks, trains
and who gets to live

in the toll-taker’s booth?
I want to know if 
paradise has gutters of litter,

if it has gutters at all.
I don’t want that old kind of paradise 
with its language in ruins

wherever you listen.
What happens if someone
from somewhere 

moves in? Gives us the boot?
What if other people
want to fly their flag above us?

I collect flags, big ones
and small, because you never know. 
Run one up the pole in a snap.

7

Once upon a time....
spic-n-span like the deck of a ship
bow to stern; barking

from the bridge, the headless
edge of a polar wind—
Once upon a so-so

soiled by too little oxygen,
a hole closes
each step you take

is what drives us mad
in the humid polluted climes
where horizons

have no mercy, endlessly
exhaling
goodnight’s idea. 

Spotlessly –look 
at the universe
I’d like people

to keep it thus,
evading the next
something to cry about.

8

All you see was once
mine, before you arrived.
Everything

you see I was.
Now that you’re here
out of the blue

it belongs to no one
as if found, tripped over
on the way to mass.

Picking it up
makes it yours, even,
think about this, 

please, 
even though
it was once all mine.

I was lord of my domain.
Now I am a domain
resisting its lord.

What splendid times
when it was mine.
Now you, death and you.

9

I didn’t invent me. I didn’t
make a life from nothing
or take anything

or do anything
or say anything
about anything

ever.
I didn’t ask to be here.
You bore me.

Have the decency
to provide
a warm thing.

Have you forgotten
your manners?
Improved them?

Is it honor, and nothing
else, no humility,
no civility

without reward?
I offer my foot to wash.
I offer thirst.

10

I go among them
as if they’d want me
alone

as if they and I
one mind
one charge

as if I were not me
but posing as one
I go among them

without options.
No stake in the outcome,
being for

today a song,
an arrow’s feather-brief
flight, vibrations

through air.
I shoot among them
as if at a target

moving as I do
move when I hear
me coming.

11

I’ll give you everything
ff you promise love
forever

even if I have to war
against those you admire
and the architecture

you love, forever
(or else I can’t
give anything)

until death.
just in case you get too
used to me,

in case you notice
your breath is mine,
mine yours.

Promise me forever
no matter what happens
or die or

let’s just forget it.
Can you live with that?
Neither can I.

12

I’m no apple expert,
just a fan of compromise
if the numbers are right,

if it doesn't linger too long
in my conscience
and wreck

everything else that's there. 
If it takes a daily on the rocks
I say, hey, hello

pour me one.
Think of hot shampoo
dreams for reality’s 

boon coming to myself
in a panic: save me! 
Please! Yes, calm

in the make-believe
I don’t know
on the street, at the table

while my wife
ladles soup and the kid
waves a toy

13

like the flag of home.
Carnival time--
decide: walnut

or plum, wound or pain.
She was uneverything,
unspoiled

enough to love.
I was rich
with poverty

of experience.
We alchemized,
fell victim, shining

in a conspiracy
beyond our knowledge
though believing

love was a dyke-hole
and a fingertip
and stardust 

enough
to fill in the scars.
We got gold, miraculously.

14

I’m always in motion,
a wave in the air, okay,
okay, whatever

you say is me.
I tidy up around here. 
My only

discipline. I am
a stay-at-home warrior
memory-armed

with maps, parking
my least resistance
like residual

highs, clouds
of skies like leaves 
fly in, swirling,

curling goodbyes.
Nothing’s a thing
when I crash

in apathy
on the grass no one
bothers to cut.

15

Garden birds sing
their view. I sit back
like everything

is fine and dandy. 
A drink; the wind
combs the land.

The main leak
is in slow-motion,
wall of a lifetime

below standards.
Technology
will save us,

when my son owns it.
He’ll wink a brand
new roof, blink

the wall to right itself
or a machine
will do it for him.

I have faith.
History is full of faith.
That’s how we got here.

I’m keeping mine
since it so happens
that’s all there’s likely to be.

16

At night in the castle
I imagine voices
moving in the dark

of the people
I know how to love.
I’m always alone,

always just
about to light a smoke
beneath the stars

right on top of me,
a wild country thing
screaming inside

the black trees. 
like Royalty’s henchman:
manager of details,

who, what, when, 
how I’m the one
atop the bomb—

Programmed for love
on a cross
of promises.

17

Always lately
in the alley, in my mind,
bushes that edge

your place. I climb
the tallest tree in the yard
singing whippoorwill

shrill until the sun
breaks on the hill.
I watch papa

and the youngest
hunt for the ball
in the grass,

her teen self
ski-jumping as she 
trots to find it.

In the alley
I search for love
half-eaten in its wrapper

or a safe place
to avoid the ones who hate
signs they’re lost.

18

I go to my job
for money, to have
something to do.

on the road
in contemplation
behind the wheel

with the sun
baking my forehead
through the glass,

tractors, trucks, compacts
with trailers pig-piled
for market, a lady

pushing a carriage
on the dirt shoulder
between towns,

I avoid them all
remembering
between thoughts

not only am I bringing peace 
to myself
but I’m driving.

19

You want it
and don’t know why
and then do, and then don’t

want it at all,
don’t think about it.
You think rather

the answer lives
only to die to live again
in endless thought,

in the meaty deep
lungs where loose
ends contend,

converge
in polyps of yesterday,
branches of hope. 

Lately it makes sense
in the rain
because you can see

from a god’s POV
the dandelion nodding yes,
yes, agreeing to disagree.

20

Nothing but juice—
I have it figured. Remember
how I once imagined

you? And I’d be nothing
without you. Nothing
without us, without me

and others.
Remember the tricks we played,
how I knew where it hurt

and went there
to help kindness take root?
That was real.

But you can’t recall
the reasons or the point
you wished to make

about living that way,
losing your sight
in the glare, what died

mounted to debt.
I bank at church, fill
my account with hymns.

21

Hard knowing.
I say any word
and the chestnut

drops a pincushion
on my head. The birds
sound off

past us.
I can’t wiggle myself
out of it. Hard

being here. Being
there for you,
too. (Can I borrow

a few dollars?)
Maybe there's a breeze
where you are.

At least in the beginning
before here and there
facing each other

look like leaving
and returning from now
on together as one.

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