Recording Device

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I can feel the beat.
You walking through the door.
Me listening at the door.
The slightly humid room you would like to escape from.
The air conditioning kicks on with a sputter
as you turn it down
one degree at a time
like a safecracker.
The shirts folded where you left them:
in the basket
and the carrots simmering in butter.
Where did you come from today?
The rugs under your chair
I’ve never seen and the music
I turn on in the evening.
The pots I put away while you fold
paper bags and wonder where
to put them.
The boiling water and the remote control
‘s silent adjustments.
The jacket on the chair, both chairs
and the shoes by the door.
The knife against the plate,
ice falling on the floor.
It broke into multiple pieces before you could catch it.
The paint flaking along the windowsill
where the tree branch taps every November
to let you know that Winter is near.
Your teakettle with the ivy decoration
and your laugh during Futurama.
A Doritos bag, when you want to be healthy
and a deep sigh when you do not.
The cat scratching and summer beatles
at the doors and windows.
The doorbell and the ice cream truck
‘s bell and the oven
letting me know the biscuits,
the cookies,
the cake,
the chicken
is done.
Refrigerator in B-flat
and the consternation of all our electronic devices.
Hail in Summer and rain in Spring and
each neighbor saying hello in the way they know how.
Reminders spoken about
swim lessons,
thawed meat,
bath times,
and clean clothes.
The music you sing in the morning
mainly to yourself.
Popcorn on Friday,
pancakes on Sunday.
Gathering coats, hats, purses, and bags to leave for the day.
Paper towels torn from their mates
while the cat watches.
Birds through the back window and the
squash growing thick by their nest.
That is not my noise,
that is my beat.

Midnight Snack

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Kitten calls are the way to find out nature is in your living room. It wakes me at 2am every night. Bladder and cat food, like clockwork. Between popping the top off of the purina bin and glancing at my own nighttime reflection in the dining room mirror, I begin to wonder if I am in fact alive. The reflection is solidly there, but during the night, after the day, before the alarm, I am not solid. In fact, should I bump into the table on my way out of the room, I may not respond and instead watch as my particles come back together on the other side.

Long Walk

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Regulate my temerity,
but lust for the bastions,
where roses and a deep sigh wait.
Beekeeping myself against waxed rows
and granular helpings
of pine-scented lips.
Retire this feeling
beneath the decking
boards and the sunlight relish,
that lift my shoulders
beyond where I knew they could be.
Shanks and beatitude for the trees
and precious time,
loosened
with patience and our breathing
chests. For the moment, light
crosses our path,
blazes at our feet
and makes a treasure
of nature’s detritus. Modest reasons
for reaching the hours,
holding
the wrists with thumb and forefinger,
making a livelihood of absent tone
and enriched grace.

To My Friend, On the Occasion of the New Year

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Keep trying.
The end may be nigh,
but you aren’t.
Whether you disappear
beneath the ground
or into the sky-
whether we return
to our mother’s
wombs
on our weeping knees,
or settle
into salty oceans,
you and I are fathoms
we cannot depth.
The inkblot,
the zeroes and ones
that trail our names
are temporal AND lasting,
existence outside
our own comprehension and concern
make it so.
Galileo and Rembrandt
did not know
we would be here
and they, like us
cannot predict
the future, only rotations and pigment.
Yet we keep trying.
Of the future, I think:
the remainder
of your voice, your will
is imaginable,
palpable even-
the seed to flower a heart.
I believe
the next sentence
or sketch you make,
the next love
you confess sincerely
will mark the end
of what seemed true
and the beginning of brilliance,
love,
beauty,
the fracturing of a deep lie
someone touched
you and me and many
with.
Keep trying,
because the calendar pages
will eventually be realmless,
and right now
we can
still write
an x for a day passed
and underline our friend’s birthday
in red sharpie
and turn past October
to see
what date Thanksgiving is.
The best we can do
is ready our hand
to make work
and shields
and pull weeds from our gardens,
to reach into the night
and touch the forehead
one pillow over.
Whether cool or hot,
that brain waits for beginnings.
But you try,
as you should.
If you didn’t
how would I recognize you
against
the backdrop of all the still boulders,
looking down
and grumbling
beneath the weight
of their own granite reasoning.
During dewy mornings,
you are dry and pushing
at the sun
to wake up
and warm even those unaware
of your presence, asleep and water-speckled.
Alongside cattails and
weeping willows, you think
of every word that rhymes
with brush, while warm-screened jinn
tend to their masters.
I am not sure they try,
not as you do.
I am not sure of anything, anymore,
except I’ll try, too.

Yes

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Catastrophe abounds
when you reach
behind me to touch
my hair
and whisper, “Shush,
it’s the night and I am
here to save you
from yourself.” I can
only see beyond the castles
and trees moving
with respirative awareness
and think, “You are the end of me.”
Your wordless presents
prevent my absolution
from the faltering winter
sky and dislocate my
heart and tenuous soul to a place
frozen with memory.
Grey clouds lay
the heartiest of death wishes
on any smartly dressed
field. I lay
watching your chest
heave life. I can see
this theft of my will,
as a cloud of breath
against February air.

Forgotten Voice

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This voice is quiet now.
I have not put pen
to paper. Nor have I heard
you, beautiful muse.
Come to me! Grant me
your omniscience
and the confidence
of strident satyrs, who are not afraid
of foolishness- they bear it
in all around them.

I seek you outside
my car window,
near my tools, where they lay
at home. Man
on the corner, he looks, too,
but cannot find you.
The book under his arm
with the pineapple on the cover,
that talisman will bring you.

Continue, though, I do.
Are you in this cold cup of coffee
I purchased at Starbucks
an hour ago? I swear I saw you
leaning over the counter
refilling the sugar. Words
filled my head, but quickly left
as if you snapped them back
on a rubber band tether.

Muse! Oh, muse!
Where are you?
You must be somewhere
incomparably better. In the smoke
produced by laissez-fare
cigarette banishments and sonic souls.
I know the folk singers wake
somewhere. Have you given
a note or line to him and her
on pastoral accords?

Shall I wait here,
right here until I feel you
providing the neurological
connections between heart, hand,
and head? Where is it
without you? I shall sit
with ink dripping from my mind
and watch the evaporative progress
in my teacup, where you might be.