About to take a ride on the bus
to the nearby city with a shiny font
a new font where all is adjacent
to the polluted city center fountain
& pigeons & starlings have struck
a tentative friendship based on mutual
ancestry because windows are shuttered
& so many brethren have fallen
slain like waxwings against that azure
pane because on days like these
I feel like Herve Villechaize
on my bus with the vinyl seats
where love is an addendum to an appendix
in the operating manual on flying machines
from The Book of Incidental Birds
Emily D. stands in her standard plain frock at the edge of a normal wood, earbuds in, Carlo at her side. She leans down and nuzzles the dog then removes her sneaker, inverts it to free the pebble inside, replaces it on her foot. With great deliberateness, then, she plunges forward into the rust-colored copse, swaying slightly to Mazzy Star (iPod on shuffle) thinking about volcanoes and judges, inhabiting a vague idea of posterity, stopping here and there to admire a thrush or the ridiculous woodpecker. She is walking with her dog in a park in wide-open Massachusetts, and she is postulating theorems about gigantic worlds that endure, enclosed in small domestic spaces.
Because it's a new language--
I walked about,
had a bicycle
could see the wall
had a snog
& without drugs
be what you are
to be incredibly
well a halo black
to beaches, ashes, new
to be positive about the future
to find: mother, matter, I have a body
but nothing bad to do with it
high resolutions of a kinder kind:
from THE BOOK of INCIDENTAL BIRDS (June 21, 2015)
Out in the back yard, we push plastic forks into the soil as markers for future vegetation. The purslane, though, grows on its own, no fork necessary. In the near distance past the rotting past-due fence is an almost-imposing structure of blue and grey metal siding that looks like a small-town, river-adjacent Quonset hut. I don't know which war we're fighting anymore, but I do know that the finches, the towhees, the jays have all moved into tract housing in another part of North America, early, it seems, this year. The mourning dove and her brothers in shaky alliance, the crows and ravens, remain, though distant, in another tree.
FAILED SESTINA FOR A BEWILDERED SUMMER
Mother of all things that ostensibly rise from the foam of an ocean,
Mary come lately, saintly matron giving birth to something furry,
or at least less Cthulhic than my Satan-loving friends or Jesus
-adoring enemies could fathom , hear me: From several fathoms down, a hoagie,
also known as a submarine or U-boat, inches toward the Sea Mother,
who is, of course you, my lithe old gangly wearer of couture that's juicy,
I beseech thee right now to get out of its ever-loving way, can't you see
beyond your non-tentacled face that you're going to get blown from the ocean
like all the drowned Argonauts before you? Just wait a second, Mother,
and let me explain. I come to you from a windy place where the furry
tendrils of August enwrap me in something like a convection oven, toasted hoagie
gently toasting inside, and that hoagie is me, because I'm damned hot. Jesus
Christ couldn't even harrow me from this hell, but you are cuter than Jesus
and infinitely more merciful. Forgive my forward talk, but it seems my juice
box was spiked by some raincoated lover's older brother. Now I'm hoagie,
toasted, for reals. But to put a point on it, a fine embroidery, the ocean
ain't my home, the sea is not my bailiwick, though San Diego (home to the furry,
deceased Jim Croce) once was my home, where as a teenager I listened to "Mother"
from Danzig's second album and contemplated laying lady sailors. My own mother
probably approved, eager as she was for her underachiever to grow, Jesus
and chastity be damned. Forgive the oedipal digression, I am yet still furry
of cranium (and face)and must now repair to kitchen to fetch more gin & juice
and try to figure this thirty-nine-line lumberer into something like an ocean
-worthy craft. A poem, they say, should be like a ship: wooden. Hoagy
Carmichael, "Stardust" on his Georgia mind knew this, living with a name like Hoagy
in early 1900s Indiana, in a stately house among some pines with his dour mother,
where there is a great lake in the north but no ocean.
Forgive me, I know, it's taking a while. But speaking here, (poet, be like Jesus,
I say) it's hard to address directly what I mean. This life left is without juice,
I bereft here against a coastal shelf, missing the small one, listening to Super Furry
Animals, in an attempt to stay this middle-age against a disappointed God, for He
so gave his only begotten something in hopes I would amount. Instead it's a hoagie
I settle for, no job, no wife (and it's a sad life), a daughter, (a Jew, see)
a couple of dust bowls away. And so it comes to something borrowed, dear mother,
something here washed out, my remaining days the side of cliff, barely held, Jesus,
by the gangly roots of admonished trees, not good enough, unable to hold back the ocean.
I forgot my question. Figures. There is a hoagie here though.
My poems are seldom autobiographical and I suppose this isn't juicy enough
for the tabloids. I'm going home, where Jesus went out for smokes and didn't come back.
* * * * *
Mr. Robinson writes, i have no good bio. i live on the earth.
i write things. i'm an addict and a jerk.
is that enough?