From A Crystal Wedding Day
I seem to recall my dying.
It was on Sunday, the bars closed,
The oven door slightly open, laughter seeping
From Vicksburg porches.
There was no wind,
No rain, no turning back.
There were no silly visions of the past.
There was only a frail blue quietness,
A built-in system signing off.
Then they took me
To a hanging tree of pine,
Positioned their guns to the South.
A great sadness came over me, a wanting
For Tara’s warmth, for Tania’s body,
For Mama’s calloused hand.
But it was too late.
In the distance, a long green limousine
Raced a cloud of dust, the driver rattling
His rotting bones for music.
Trash Cans And Flower Beds
Tell them it is nude November
As dawn flames its icy cumulus blankets.
Now I am over the rasping short songs
Of death and dripping tongs.
Merely filling space—
At the sound of the tone, shadows appear.
Often they blossom at graveside, quasar lights
Blinking between their wings.
I am coming to a meadow.
It smells of washed feet, spoiled food.
There are no souvenir shops, no passes out.
Perhaps it is halftime in a serious game
With the devil, his assistants.
And I bruise so easily
As I link up in a system of rotting cells,
One by one my daydreams diminished
In the winter Russian snow,
An exile hooked on blue.
Having Found A New Star
We have come a long way
Since 1939, since Manchester Valley,
Crossing the Pacific south of the border
In rafts made by hand, rain threatening to rule
Our lives completely, a fate better than life
Waiting back home in white frame houses
With broad smiling porches holding
Out their swings, their hands.
There has been much surreal talk
About Bucks County, its playhouse, its people.
Down the road, the clapboard village of New Hope
has its own personality, its own station
Where slick orange and green diesels
From the forties glide in with
An era collapsed as we held it.
Five stars for the restaurants, four for the trains,
Three for the grocery stores, two for gardens,
And one gold one for expectant mothers
Who gave their only fetus to
Charity’s second war.
You swarm out
Of the blue vapors of summer,
A dull canvas tangled in your mouth.
Straight to the Atlantic you go,
The biggest cat of all.
Lament: you never wrote
Of abolition or worms, tea cakes or jewels.
You were socked into your shanty,
Your mother replacing you
With a dog.
They bring you papers from Boston,
A book of love, a midwife with bobbed hair.
You harvest apples, lay them on tin roofs
Until your fever dries, until
It is a new day dawning
In the darkness, pearl-handled revolvers
Thumb-imprinted, a city of snickers
And polar bears, and you,
Faking it for real.