Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hurricane Rita

I will stand your ground
when the water comes
and our ship comes in to moor
where the porch used to be.

While I'm up here I'll inspect
the seams of the ceiling where
the roof pitches and folds down
like a book face down and open,
saving an empty seat, in another hour
I'll be crawling
along the shingles,
waving red rags
to helicopters,
wishing I had fixed those leaks
and thrown out all my long playing records.

Photos and furniture
catch the black water
to the intersection
where dead traffic lights vanish
under the brackish bubbling
of foul tides and trends,

Tonight there's a full moon over the Lone Star state
and clouds full of fury
remember nothing of the Alamo because
even our monuments are in the way and must go
to some other place we'll find
as we draw new maps
for an old , wet planet.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

About this Book

There’s only a slight tear
at the corner of the page
where there’s the part
of the rhyme that says
everyone cries now,
everyone falls away
and everything
that used to seem part of plan and agenda
that would last so many years beyond
our petty days
of birth and death
now exists on
time stolen from some large
jar of sand
that is leaking
into a universe as vast and black
with the deadened light
that has fallen ever so much
while all we’ve seemed to do
is brush against each other in the streets?
glance through windows or in mirrors
to see if someone were looking at us,
sneaking extra shares of baked bread
out into the traffic where
all the crammed jostling is easily
mistaken for the tempo that
drives a dancer to distractions
that becomes legend
in the cities that might exists at the bottom
of the chasm
it feels as if our feet come to the edge of,
the edge of the page where the tear
down the side of the page rents
a word or two, divorcing
whole ideas and philosophies
without a shot being fired
nor a crowd stampeded with
troops with blades coming from the
the end of rifles that
smoke that comes clear and
vanishes like breathes in
winter, all the words that
get said and vanish with
each gasp of cigarette fume and large idea
that snap like firecrackers,
a warm room,
books that haven’t been sold
for drugs.

parking spaces you can't give up

it looks as if the cars are waiting to be stolen
yet no one looks sideways at them
and so they rust in weather
that takes one friend
and then another
until all that's left
is you and a
steering wheel
with no chasis or
suspension and of course
no friend's house to drive to
because friends and foes alike
have all become dust and rumors of
grave distinction, just the nuts and bolts
and the broken shoe laces of the whole damn mess .

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nothing for Breakfast

She picks up her brush
to place it where
stars would awake
amid the downstairs clatter
of spoons dredging the bottoms
of cereal bowls,

Though still asleep
in allegiance to grace under clouds
swimming over
the bedposts bearing
a rain of brass bands
and animal farms,
she rises from her covers
and goes to the windows,
wonders what it is the birds sing about
when there's no family
left in the nest
and a cold sun
blows their feathers
in the opposing direction.

Her father shaves with the door open
and he's only a half Santa Clause today
as she walks down the hall,
her brother has both his shoes untied
and he's taking a hammer to his favorite plastic airplane.

Mother sits at the kitchen table
holding a cigarette in her left hand,
raised as if though holding a tray full of drinks.
and the other one is flat,
smoothing the pages of a newspaper
and she frowns at a photograph
of old men in overcoats and wide brim hats
saluting missiles and soldiers
who've all found the same dance step.

She says she wants pancakes
but her mother says
there is no flour anywhere
except in the garden
and no pans except the ones that
movie cameras make from
the top of every hill overlooking
a Grecian city next
to an impossibly blue bay.
Her mother laughs ,
an ash falls from her cigarette.

She helps herself
to the corn flakes
and the milk carton,
wonders why the coffee smells
like odd, bitter medicine.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Speechless as Trains

In the drift of the words you are speaking,
wrapped in steam
that unfolds in vapors that vanish
in the cold snap of wind
that blows against
brick houses
that remain beautiful
despite neglect and graffiti,
a half-century of weather,
I am stunned,
speechless as trains.

I am drunk in love
with an idea of you
before we ever spoke words, that is,
committed biography
without being asked,
in a blur it seems
one of us was getting out of a car
in front of a marquee that advertised
a dead man's magic,
giving a panhandler a dollar
drawing up a collar on an oversized coat,
eyes locked into
the swirling twines of
train station steam
from an ideal century,
steel towers and smoke stacks are
rising to the nights' swallowed
promise of a glimpse from the roof of the
tallest building ,
feet moving under you,
but the steam dissipates, torn asunder by
wind and thunder,
I've memorized the lines of your hand,
these are lanes where eternity lives nameless
and absent in the Present Tense,

The same stores, the same houses,
the same neighbors coming and going .
pass me by,
cities are made
for finding dark places
as fingers trace the limits of seams,
the way the threads tear
at the stitches.

All this before
I heard you talk in that twang
and before I knew there was
an idea in your head, a buzz
of book learning that meets the world and negotiates
meanings with truths that have no resonance
except repetition and insanity.

I love those first moments
when it was all image,

The city’s posture bending
to compliment a style you forced even
canyons of tall buildings
and banners for gunboats bearing
dead sailors names
to give themselves away in a rapture of your eyes
lighting the streets and every room with grace
that would be uncanny,
for a minute I believe the city was built
on a hill nearest Gods' dispatching cloud.

But you spoke
instead, about the weather and movies,
my rapture was destroyed and shredded,
you became another pretty head full of brilliant thinking.

History is something you can wrestle with and win,
irony is a language you use with the ease of
turning the pages of a big dictionary,
the double click of the mouse,
subtlety is the Church you attend,
you make the streets that vanish
into perspectives to not disappear but
to continue somewhere over other hills,
in the middle of
a continent whose state capitals
you can name and spell on the Main roads.

You cannot transform my city
into the simple pleasure,
the world is just pure process, a
machinery that never stops,
your brain, my words,

Damn you, damn you,
it's gotten so a man cannot hide
even inside the lust he saves
when love won't follow the script
damn you,

Tonight there's only smart talk,
getting in touch
with my feelings,
framing statements
in generalities that leave room for the
world to resists even momentary certainty,

No escape for the wanna-be wicked,
no sleep without perspective,
the relevance of a sock drawer, pairs of socks,
speechless as trains in the yard
before the daily invention of light,
the day that comes again without knowing you...

The Hills Wash Away, The Hills Are Embered

The Hills Wash Away, The Hills Are Embered

All of us lucky sons of bitches
live on the hill tops
high over the fatal diseased
stew that the village has become,

And one of these days
it will stop raining,
the water will stop rising
and we'll be able to use
the roads down the hills again,

Followed with flames
racing up the sides of canyons
to embrace terraces and pools
after the fence is consumed,
fire balls and their embers carrying themselves
over satellite dishes and American flags,

But in the mean time
we will gather our pots and pans
and not mourn over our terraces
that have collapsed with the onslaught
of water and wind
that howls and whistles through
loose joints in the wood