Friday, November 30, 2007


ENTREATY


I come up from the subway, where hunchbacks play
the accordion and drag long bags of laundry. I head

for the all-night deli, where a bulb has flickered out,

so it shouts to me, "ALL IGHT...ALL IGHT...ALL LIGHT"

I step beneath its canopy, to let the folds
of harsh florescence take me in, and I look around,
witnessing the busy litter of late-night items:

oranges wrapped in newspaper, cantaloupe chunks

steaming, and the coffee sodas all laden with a yet

undiscovered poison. It's in their bright, quick

arrangements that I suddenly see a random
grammar; foil wrap and chemically induced color
all flashing out mantras I begin to recite convulsively.


I see Abraham Lincoln watching a View-Master presentation

of the Moon Launch and saying, "There's not a free man

among them" and then wondering, "Is my check in the mail yet?"

I see the CEOs of Microsoft smearing their bodies

with bear fat to keep warm for the winter, while outside

Xerox machines spit out replicas of the rain forest,

inch by square inch. I see the new fruit glowing

like an emergency inside my vultured grip.

I say, "The story is dying, the story is dying.
Don't let the story die yet..."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


ZEUS GETS A HAIR-CUT


Well, let me start this by saying, “Fuck you all!”

You think scattering my thick, black curls
will make me small, leave me a scalded mountain in my bed-sheet, as fit for the morgue as the barber?
It means nothing less than nothing to me.
You're all so desperate nowadays to bring low
that which confounds your careful rooms,
your four even corners.

Yeah, well, I held court in a hall with ten times

that many sides, while I set fire to drunken ingrates,

laid diagnose to a nation of infected throats.

Fuck the climate control! I want the fever
that's coming to me.

I still dream of maidens by above-ground pools.

I dug into them as a worm through rotted wood.

You think I'm ashamed of that? My hump

showing white beneath star-light younger than I am?

I've put myself through a lot worse just for a little contact.
Never mind you would burn in a second

from the glory of my open chest.


All I wanted was your dust, your cast-offs,

your incidental sweat, an eye-drop to see my reflection in.

But you, the dry ones, so sure of your counting, your medicine;

One lock, two, the whole mane come tumbling.
Who's to say I didn't want it this way?

That your slow dissection is not itself a kind of worship?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


TRANSIENT


The spirits that live with us are dying. Each summer

we spend away from them, their voices grow dimmer.

Trampled here beneath these mile-high pylons of bone

is the smell of the first season, is your hair growing long,

is the time you first caught scent of your own body

and thought, “I've been smelling that all my life!”


Someone just shoved past me who could be an old lover
or a dead ancestor, but what does it matter?

Faces become emblems of themselves.
We are shuttled from tunnel to tunnel, through miles
of massed blackness, our heads bobbing like long rows

of candles on an altar, waiting to be blown out.


The light comes on again. “Exit.” We jostle and push

toward our next hurried birth.

Monday, November 26, 2007


WHITE NOISE


I go looking for the white light of your skin in the rain. I go with the clinging impulse of dust to clutch the small noise your body gives off.
When I strain, I can catch it, even in this churning

chain-smoked bar. Our brief time together has taught me

your silence is a buried trick, thick with awkward

dresses, the ugly flowers of childhood,
living rooms that gave off cold and never heat,
your father calling distractedly over the racket of jazz.

Your silence a tightly packed blossom that might explode

into spore, drowning your lungs, your voice.


It is raining. You are leaving tonight.
Rivers are joining to set off black currents between us.
Leaves are bursting into murderous green bounty,

the air is choking with life,

more weight to a city already too heavy.

Bats shriek nervously above the park,

the siren-wide, stretching pale light

of empty playing fields, where rain falls

in the smallest of particles, gathered

in vast black nets of grass.
When I feel like this, I feel
I could come apart in my own hands,

I could hold you.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


AURORA


In the summer, we go on trips. The lawn grows, the moon rises
while we are gone. We read the billboards on the way down,
but coming back, they'll be different.
For a while we float, as made up as balloons.
We look at him in the front seat, hunched at stop lights,
sweat clinging to his white dress shirt.
We hear him curse and fumble with maps.

Right now, far above us, on the moon we won't see
for another five hours, Apollo is accomplishing its mission.
The kicked-up dust hangs behind them
in dead-air tendrils as they make their way.
Stuck in traffic jams and broiling heat, we think
of the possibilities that TV has taught us;
of the astronauts' re-entry failing, of them burning up
in orbit, reduced to nothing but meat.
We hit speed bumps, jolt into rest stops for blessed
soda pop and the terrifying urinals of adults.

Then, we're back in the back seat again, ready
to shuffle our toys, telling new stories
as the afternoon lengthens and the moon pulls into view.
It burns above the super-heated blue of the highway—
but there are men up there, there are men!
Down here, we are Army generals, glow-in-the-dark
Aurora models snatched from lacquered dresser tops:
Wolf-Man, Mummy, Frankenstein,
poised to strike with the perfectly-tanned sabre-tooth
at the last remnants of the Planet of the Apes.

We are the angry men we've yet to become.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


UISGUE BEATHA*

(*Gaelic word for whiskey, literally: "Water of Life")


The water I come from grows smaller;
a puddle, rivulet or mug.
What glitters in strips across rooftops, on dirty
ponchos and slow-breaking waves of faces, is not the
same as what once ran from house gutters, where I
cupped my hands in some small semblance of prayer,

not the same as the stream that slid through dark
curves of earth, where the red lizard ran
and doves were left in bloody tangles as totems or offerings, "Don't go beyond this."

The old women called me from the woods,
their china teeth stained with sugar and tea.

All I found were pine needles and the terrifying eyes
of crows. The older kids, stinking of gasoline,

tried to teach me how to strangle birds,

but I wouldn't listen.


I lay down beneath the flag of my country:

a red-checkered picnic cloth.

I saw my ancestors curled on it, amidst the sharp-
edged grass by the river bank, applauding fireworks,
and later, artillery shells.


I saw them pass milk and bourbon, cold chicken,

fresh butter spooled out beneath the fading sun.

I saw them act amazed when their men stared out
at them like grey-coated ghosts from newspapers and
wanted posters, but the eyes,
a shunted, dense anger, were of a color
they poured into them, same as the bourbon.

There were questions I had from the back-seat, about
funerals and grand-ma's panties.

I forgot them. I drove around,

Schlitz and finger-fucking behind grave stones.
There were fire-works, video-blips of exploded towns,
broken teeth of the quarter-back I never wanted to
be. There was a thirst I learned

for drink, furious, my tongue

plying the dryness between my father's ribs.

Now the water comes, and I can't leave it.

Endure me.

Friday, November 23, 2007


ROUGH SCRIPTURE


I am bending the leaves of autumn to my liking.
I am a dunce knitting them together at some
arts 'n' crafts camp. I'll fold their stricken
golds and reds into tin cups to feed the needy,
I will create from them a whole diorama
of the city's populace holding hands, and wait, numbly smiling for someone's approval.

I will sit there and still hear the leaves falling,
stitching their piecemeal armor to the highway,

while tires sluice through a late rain outside.
I will see headlights fall through the front gates,
send their caustic gaze my way, until the engine

shuts off, ticks over: another
family member stopping by to rattle my cage.

Oh, I know they have their hopes: that I will grow

to be an adult, driving on a highway past fifty

anonymous front gates just like this one and not
think another thing, that the leaves will fall to words
like "Bourbon" and "Automatic Traction,"
that I will have one damn pop-song so stuck
in my head I couldn't get rid of it even if you shot me.

But I want to stay as stupid as I am right now.


Because each leaf that falls meets the soil,

and you know what happens then, don't you?
I was born of a few leaves falling and I count them,
gathering them up into a rough scripture that’ll do

no good, because the last line always ends with,

"Forget."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


DOMINION


Bells toll in the distance, announcing a long and steady ache.
This day begins and ends like a kingdom. As if nothing
were your own, as if the next word you spoke

could be traced back to the first word ever spoken,
and so on. I think of the perfect egg cream waiting
at the corner luncheonette, where men with sagging faces

and arms like rough corded fire-wood crack their beer cans
and talk about the last days of some other empire.

A story is being told. Wrap the dying hero
in his bloody birth-cloth and launch him;
this has been going on too long.
The father who curses his daughter for losing

a quarter in the pay phone, who kicks his son

for wearing the same swollen, slit-eyed expression

he does, who grips and grips a roll of electrician's tape

and a half-drunk Pepsi while he lists the fifty-odd

forms of hate; there is nothing personal in that.
It is all part of a larger dominion.

Look, the father rises, puts on his work boots and a few
sturdy words; he's a new man by the end of the weekend.
His daughter's lips are crooked and blue. She has a story

to tell at school that Monday, about the beginning of the world.
In it, her father's hand is a fish.

There is nothing alive on the surface of a snow-pop.

When the sun melts us, that is all we have inside—

a wooden popsicle stick. They are gathered
and sterilized and brought to the school nurse,
to depress the tongue. Is this a time of sickness?
A mouth hangs open, and from that

words and words will come.

Your forehead is hot, is it a fever?
Is this where the world came from?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


LIKE THE FALL


What can I tell you? Tonight, I am the bitter but romantic sea captain, standing drunk at the prow
while his ship heads into impossible storms, raging mists.

My crew has deserted me. I have drained the decanters

of all my highly honored guests, who recently fled by helicopter.
I am at last left alone with my terrible secret.
It is like the fall of Saigon, except I am one man. It is not a nation I am abandoning, a way of life—
it is not even a woman. I want to remain
an anachronism, a thing of the past;
the man who would say nothing.
Better to slip into ruin with sea-spray and whiskey,

dizzily listing the constellations that once guided my way.


Now watch. This is my best moment---where I break

my empty glass and throw the shards into the boiling waves.

Where I smile and bleed and accept my fate,
heading toward a collision that is certain
but never shown.

Monday, November 19, 2007


COMPOSITE


Have you ever contributed to your own composite sketch?

Shift the graphite a little to the left, shade the nostrils a bit,

make them flare, enlarge the ear lobes, crook the smile

like a clothes hanger?


There's no such thing as strangers. You've met them all

at one time or another. It’s in the tiniest details

that we give ourselves away.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


TIRED PARAMOURS


The polish has gone out of the world
There’s no talking to the boys and girls Outsourced ugliness all the time
And we stumble over ourselves to
“Make mine, make mine”

I go walking with a thread in my head
I don’t stop until there’s a noose instead The koda-chrome trees are making like mimes
And I’m already late to

“Make mine, make mine”


The asylum gets asylum, the doors swing wide
A poison Kool-Aid moon changes the tide
And the tired paramours of a dying line Wait in the shadows to
“Make mine, make mine”


The parade’s in a shambles, the float’s on fire

Someone’s screaming to a higher power

We’re always alone, but it’s not funny this time

Because all we tried to do was

“Make mine, make mine”

Saturday, November 17, 2007


NO CASA DE MANNA


In this city, yellow-smoke sky,
Carnival groans, skeletal cries,

I seek the leaf, the frond, the bloom--
Fire the wallpaper of my room!
Lay your shadow inside my wound.

Leak your tincture to crusted ruins. Awake to me the startled grip
of branches sprung from ribcage-crypt.


No Casa de Manna for you--

It's doors shut to such solitude. Enlightenment's opened a franchise,
All ablaze with peace-bloated eyes.
Something ferocious, this repose-- Carnivorous and razor-boned.
An ache of sweat, gasoline lungs,

Means to an end, corrupted sums.


I smell the cannibal afloat
In steaming street-side vendor's moat
of Orange Crush and hot pork pies--

Sell the weakened, we will abide.
It's true, the thick, brackish hue
of this degraded Bar-B-Que

Makes me op for an angel's taste

of road-kill plunder, Mainline Grace.


Oh, yank free my demon sweet-tooth--
An ancient hunger made to suit
Newport smiles and bright penny eyes,

A river littered, self despised.

Down in the hole, we gnaw and clutch.

Vision turns a convenient crutch.

What was once certain as our breath

Is nothing now, beget and beget....

Friday, November 16, 2007


EXPECTATION


Take me on a station wagon ride

through a dry-throated desert,
where hubcaps are hung as skulls,

laundry flutters and is not folded.

Lay me to rest there,

so I can watch my angular shadow

short itself out like a faulty circuit.


From a back window comes a sentimental song
no one believed in, even when it was written.

Kids play games with dust and broken furniture.

I was once one of them.
I learned that thirst was nothing

but the absence of expectation.
I let the aimless wind flip
text book pages, past illustrations

of steam boats, skeletons.

I stayed very still and listened
to my bones stretch beneath skin.


Now, I fry eggs, straighten bookshelves,

wait for death.

When I hear thunder,

it's never really thunder.


Lay me down in this desert,
in its cracked black riverbeds.
Let me use my fingers, dig.

Let me know what it is to raise

water to my lips, drink.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


OUTPOST


The outpost, mistaken for a church from a distance, reveals itself
on closer viewing to belong to an entirely different order of the
mundane. A one-eyed ex-civil servant minds the store. He
coughs abruptly, to fill the silence. Long tin shelves

are stacked with dry goods, outmoded office equipment.
Telegraph papers scuttle like tired crabs across the floor,
lifted by the hot wind. You notice on one an old message crossed
out and begun: "I wish....I wish to say....I wish I hadn't
said...Urgent."

The faces on the canned labels smile at you like an expectant
audience. They are buck-toothed youths mostly, idiot savants
perhaps, blanched and withered by the long filter of late-
afternoon sunlight. But still they beam out a kind of
uncomplicated happiness, like the memory of a first sister
before she died from scarlet fever at age two.

This is about the point where you peer out the window, looking
for the lone crow perched on a dead branch, thrusting up its
ragged black wing against the blue. It has been a long time
leaving your parents, and so you get to this. You can't find a
choice that doesn't seem false, and you can't open your mouth,
because you're afraid to hate what comes from it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


CHARMER


Oh, don't get like that. Every move I pull, you're always there
over my shoulder, shaking your head, pious and redundant. You
think it's easy slipping into what the moment requires?
Seersucker, trench coat, velvet pajamas. How many people have
I become, talking you in or out of situations? While all you do is
try to pretend I don't exist. So here's a funny question. How do I
sell myself to you?
Scenarios make the man. They might come cheap and worn-out,
but they wear whatever clothes we can spare them. You're
looking for the constants in life, while I'm a master of the
unsteady art; the shell-game of many fictions. But I can't keep it
up forever. You know the whole story about how there's only
twenty-eight basic stories to tell? Well, I'm getting tired of
shaving the angles.


I thought that by stealing every expectation, I could teach you
something, could make you accept me. Look around you.

The wheat fields bow down beneath the rain in the dark.

The wheat is broken down into loafs of enriched bread.

That bread will be shoved into plastic sleeves bearing

some cracker's likeness, who grants his down-home smile

to the emblem of a brick oven outmoded since last century.
That's your sense of natural wonder? Give me a break.

C'mon, man. It's wet outside. My engine is warm.

We've got some money to make.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


CONVICTS


When I get to Modells, I part hands with my mother.

She lets me go, and I always find my way
to the pet store section, to the mangy, blank-eyed spider monkey in his cage. He knew I couldn’t
buy him (I thought), but if I spent time meeting his gaze,

I was gaining a kind of penance.


When I wander back, it is through the forest

of the floor lamp section, my face flaring white,

the dust motes crackling, full of electricity.
The mannequins' eyes follow me,
always a desperate, bird-nest blue.
According to my brother, they are convicts,
murderers and the like, sprayed in plastic;

their damnation to be stunted in such

poses of the beautiful,

to be kept that half-inch of distance from us.

I know I shouldn’t believe him.

I find my mother’s hand, grasp it,

ask for an Orange Crush, go blank.

Monday, November 12, 2007


HUNGRY


Everything makes me hungry

I’m a joy-riding, self-hating SUV

I’m a buffalo on a spending spree

Just looking for the thing that will kill me


I’m a cannibal with a psych degree

Your huddled masses are a delicacy

The jaws of life just unhinged me

Because everything makes me hungry


I saw the desert past the cul-de-sac

And I knew that’s where I had to be

I knew that nothing could stop me

And nothing was my only peace


In a hollow tree, I left you a note

All it said was, “We’ll be free”

But right then, it occurred to me

The very first smile had bloody teeth

Sunday, November 11, 2007


GOOD FRIDAY


"I am the voice of the train, not the driver" – David West


Oh, bring me through this, through tar paper rooftops,

branches strained and naked along railroad tracks,

though Spring has come.

Through goldenrod bent to the earth,
father-tall weeds hacked at the roots, left drying in heaps,
through rust-stained, weeping concrete.
Workers cast off jackets, hold up their biceps
like proud, gleaming fish to the last leakage of sun.

Drums litter the rail yard, painted in vibrant yellow

EMERGENCY.


Last Sunday, a heavy-set Latino girl ran past me

through bleak empty streets of downtown Brooklyn,

beating a palm frond along coursened brick,

counting out a number song to herself, the green
in her clenched fist strangely luminous
amidst the grey air we walked through.

I had to remember what day it was.

Now, after work on a Friday, the leaden faces

all lean toward some secret, magnetic pole.

The train pours forward. I wish

for the snapping black of the tunnel,

so that we might be like Him,

rising toward something; a dull humming,

scythes cutting the sleek green grass of our graves.

All this gravel come up,

bone-sharded skull of a king.

All these rails tremble, limbs of electricity.

We are the Body, passing through.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


DISTANCE


What rises through me

could be breath or wind;

I shiver with the thrust of it.

Past my window, the stricken

corridors of Brooklyn, to the grey,

pulsing mesh of the screen porch

where my father steps out

and lets the dark air take him.


I can’t imagine what he hears,

swirling his cheap martini

to the stark clutter of leaves;

The way he could listen to thunder storms
by himself in the summer
and I knew not to go near him.


The trees set off their soft,

urgent twinings,

the grass rises like the knives

of saints to greet him.


He already can't find his way back.


My mother snores on the couch,
the gardens in her magazines
folded across her lap,

the garbled blue flower of TV

plays for no one in the kitchen.


Across the screen,
someone
in a white shirt
wanders on a beach.

Friday, November 9, 2007


RIGHT NOW

Right now, my skull is thunderous and empty

with the left-over reverb of a rock'n'roll show--

I can hear anything at 4:20 AM.


Footfalls up the block--

A drunk man struggling to find

his key; he jabs it forward

like a single prow to make sense

of this stupid, mute ocean.

I can hear the oil of his left-over
fingerprints in its silvered grooves--
I can hear anything.


Right now, the night sounds

like a thousand furnaces.

It could be airplanes taking off,

taxis missing their exits,

lettuce heads bobbing like green monks
in the back of tractor trailers that see the last
gas station for miles but won't stop.

A slow, heavy throb that is less

like love and more like cursing--

a last drink poured,

a forehead steaming with fever.
Right now, I can hear anything.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


REQUEST

I take the stars as needle holes
through which all blood has seeped,
leaving the polished gleam
of bone behind.

Night's black throat is closing.
Hunger is a way out.
Ask for me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


COMBUSTION
Everything burns within my sight.
Easter lilies, styrofoam collars,

the subway cripple trawling salvation.

I add them all to the widening pyre.


And He said,

"Stoop here, and drink, and live..."

Black waters of Christ, I am done with it.
I can't drink you for this heat.
When I was young, I wanted combustion.

The Human Torch, “Flame on!”


Now, I see crucified silhouettes

hazy on the outskirts of Rome.

A lone man, numb but jubilant,

his skin in hock at the local pawn-shop.
God's vengeance on all the earth
smells like a fire in a Greek diner.

And this coffee, this coffee is awful.

It tastes like my ancestors.


I am asking, I am asking...

No God, I don't know what.

This fever ends when I want it to.

Rapture just a matter of letting go.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


TRANSMISSION


In the future, celebrities will be hunted for their pelts.
An elaborate ratings-point system will evolve, based on whether
you bagged yourself an A-, B-, C- or even
the occasional anemic D-lister.

Macabre masquerade balls in urban public spaces will become near-weekly events, where participants wear the skin of their trophies, and act out corresponding scenes from famous movies &/or TV shows, ushering in a new Age of Viscera, which will make our clumsy forays into virtual reality seem as quaint as the eight-track.

Unfortunately, this depletion of the natural celebrity source-pool
will eventually lead to the outbreak of the great Reality Show Wars,
in which every citizen is drafted as an Honorary Celebrity… And when current trends are projected through to their logical conclusion…
Will the last person alive please shut off the camera, please?

Monday, November 5, 2007


BLOOM

As leaves fall through

the last steeples of light,

someone falls through me.
He tastes of old seasons,
damp and mulch-heavy.


Let sway! Scatter the spore

of first hair-cuts, mowed lawns.

What is dead beneath

spreads its carpet of heat.


Let sway! Each leaf is a skin

shed-off, already ancient.

My father's hands, brown and spotted,

are leaves spiraling toward a stop.

Let sway! Let sway!


Withered man, you do not

speak for me.

Oh God, let this be

the first bloomings of amnesia.

Sunday, November 4, 2007



AT THE NEW EARTH SEMINAR

Tell a tale of skin coming undone, of organs
standing in for continents.

Your fingers, please, will tug on the bell-pull.
The hired help will be summoned and this illusion can get cleaned up.
The paint's not even dry yet, and I am turning in my pecs
for a sturdy front bumper. It has the message I want to put across:
Robust, blunt in its self-interest, devouring the miles
and slick with the juice of incidental insects.

Turn me in. Update me. Set my wavering fingers around the pen,
I'll sign anything.
I have aged ten decades in a minute, and in another, I'll be back,
trailing a filament bouquet and mumbling a few pledges
about the future's bounty.

Some call me Lion. Some call me Prairie.
Some call me Worm of the Earth. Some call me Great Daisy,
Seedling, Stomper of Whims, Exploiter of the Growth Impulse.

I am a mouthful of dirt, I am the hollowing-out.
I am dinosaur tar calling for quarantine,
a fever on a match head that can't afford to be out-dated.
All niceties will be scissor-locked.
All second-guesses will be double-sealed
and mailed to their prospective buyers
(They'll get the message).

All parking lots will be set ablaze.
All breezes are being re-routed.
All party-talk will be reduced
to the squabble of fighter pilots lost in low-lying fog.
And you, Sweet Lady, take my hand.
We're about to do something they used to call The Twist.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


TRACT EXTANT


Don't fool yourself. Do you think your life is still run by the
passing of the seasons, by some back-assed rubes calling in
the harvest, by thaws or freezes or tidal sways? No. The
instruments are much more subtle than that now. Fiber-
optics? We might as well be discussing a toilet brush; it's
gone way beyond that.

A feeding frenzy of minnows in the South Pacific, a
presidential candidate in his limo sliding up mirrored glass,
wind flipping the pages of a newspaper in Brazil. These are
the signs we should be looking for. You might be told that
the scattering of animal guts to divine the future is an
outmoded practice, but that is because they don't want
certain information leaking into the marketplace.

In the barrios, a white chicken is strung up facing east.
In the X-ray metal detectors, the patterns of key-chains
and spilt change make their own random prophecies. It is
all in the way you point your hunger.

But be careful. They're taking inventory.

I am not afraid. I have taken precautionary measures.
I have learned the sweet crisis of internal shut-down.
Beware. Even crop-duster planes, a seemingly pleasant
anachronism, cannot be trusted. Blacken the photo, dose
the back yard in gasoline. Don't think for a moment that
this is not a kingdom, that the categories aren't up for grabs.

The terror of the obsolete grows in every organism. It is a
biological trick, to keep its eyes open. But the tracking
systems are compensating for this. Remember the old
saying about the whites of their eyes? Now they've brought
the barrel closer, but kept it at a distance.

Friday, November 2, 2007


HANG-OVER ANGELS


Why am I so sick of transmissions?
It is the New Year, and I have nowhere to go.
I've been listening to the radio. It gives me
Bach, Western Swing, new sofa ads.
All it asks is that I sink in.
I'm tired of the impossible made visible.
Please, at least leave that alone.

I’ve been very concerned with angels lately;
I keep thinking they must have teeth.
Pearl-white, or nicotine-
stained incisors, it doesn't matter.
They will be extinct, and so collectible by next century.
They pop open our oxygen
the way we do some fizzy, overly-sweet childhood drink.
They're after one thing: the dull, comforting
redundance of memory.

Why can't one snow-drift stranger
find me among the muddled many?
Why can't he look at me, eyes steady
as airplane warning lights, and say,
“Now you know what angels know,
and that's nothing. Between each step,
there's just bare air and grace...”

Thursday, November 1, 2007


IMMACULATE


The packed caravan of days wander away from him.
He wishes he knew how to undress in public, and not be
arrested for it. He remembers the stiff wooden pews
smelling of Lemon Pledge, their beaten red velvet knee
rests, the dense, stern, evenly arranged Protestant air. He
remembers sitting there, trying to imagine God in all his
tired glory, not being happy with what he came up with.
He is curious when this comes back to him in a soot-weary
alcove of Grand Central Station, among a scattering of
homeless men sleeping beneath plastic bags and Army
blankets; a swollen foot peering out from a broken sock
strikes him. Isn't this why we heard prayer to begin with?
Can a mouth find its way back to its first expression, when
words meant nothing but how they felt, lifted and thrust
out like apostles into the storm? Saint Peter. Saint Paul.
Peter. Paul. Almond Joy. Clean-teethed and suckling.
Token. The Immaculate Expression. Grand Central
Station, swarming. Siren. Place-mat. Snow-Pop.
Daybreak. Cross word. Influx. Robe. Satin. Breast.
Perfect. Perfect. Perfection.