Monday, October 14, 2019

I’d like to write a round for you.

I’d like to have you around, too,

and try to right a wrong—

running around on you—but

I know you’re 85% completely gone

by now. By noun. The noun being

‘frown,’ and, to me, the door

you’ve shown. Rightly, I’d say.

Oh, the rites of the first of May,

and their bodies strewed in the hay.

• • •

Notes on the Chorus

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The purpose of the chorus, we are told,
is to echo, advance, question, and sometimes subvert
the singer’s argument—or the singer himself.

In Joel, for example, the narrator’s earnest query—
“Should I get a set of whitewall tires?”—
is met with an apparently rhetorical question:
“Are you gonna cruise the Miracle Mile?”

It should be noted that, in this instance,
“Miracle Mile” refers to a premium shopping district
in Manhasset, on the North Shore of Long Island.

Of further interest to scholars of Greek theater,
the voices seem to be the singer’s own, merely
multiplied. It is as though he were chastising himself
within the complexity of his own consciousness.

• • •

Preppy Haircut

Friday, September 20, 2019

Anyway, my band Preppy Haircut.
Venue asked what time we could loden.
I said anytime but I prefer hunter.
Assuming we’re all wearing khakis.
They said no this is for the mock
turtlenecks. I said ah that’s actually
our genre—shoegaze. Mumble core.
Rap stripe ties. They said well
how about the marina. I said sure,
We’ll be playing a few new pieces.
She suggested heather for fleeces.

• • •

Distant Relatives

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I have distant relatives
in my immediate family.
They just seem to be thinking
about other things.

• • •

Catch a Shooting Star

Sunday, September 15, 2019

I’ve tethered my star to a wagon hitch
of dreams I can’t even begin to remember:
In one, one of my oldest and dearest friends
waits patiently at a diner two-top.
His date never arrives. His date is me.
In another, a party to which I am not
invited begins to disperse, and there I am,
sitting in the middle of a well-lit
and now nearly empty room. Me again.
In last night’s, whatever we’re paying for
we don’t have enough money for,
and I’m asked to go sit in the car.

I guess i’ve put too much stock in things
that circle back around to devour themselves.
Crushes, consumer products, promises,
even institutions such as the Constitution.

I—we—had such high hopes! Once,
sitting behind my favorite bar and grill,
I proposed to my friend Devin that what we
really all want is to be back together again.
All in one place. All sitting at the same table.
He said he doesn’t want that. He
wants to be off on his own, ultimately.
Maybe that’s changed now that he has kids.

• • •


Thursday, September 12, 2019

He said that he would join the dead
that we humans no more may die.
I believed him! But then he said
that I myself would three times lie

when asked point blank if I knew him.
“No, no, no!” insisted I;
“If the whole Dead Sea I must swim,
you, my Lord, I’ll never deny.”

He looked at me, sort of grinned:
“I know you’re perfect, Peter; ‘Rock.’
I know you’ve never even sinned!
But think twice when you hear the cock.”

He knew me, how I’d prove myself a liar.
They took him (apparently the plan?),
and then night fell. Folks made a fire.
This girl came up and was like “Man,

I saw you with him. Am I right?”
Unthinkingly I just said “Nah.” I mean,
the air was cold, the fire was bright.
I needed to be chill, not “seen”

by some servant girl without a name.
A hubbub broke out—just a small one.
By the light of growing flames
I was accosted by a centurion.

“You’re his disciple?” asked this guy
wearing a helmet with a transverse crest.
He looked me dead in the eye
and cocked his head a bit to the west,

seemed a wee bit cock-a-doodle-doo,
like he’d been hitting the vino
for some time already. “I am a Jew,”
said I, “But a disciple? Me? No.”

He wagged his red crest back and forth
like he didn’t believe me at all.
Unsettled, I left the common hearth,
into the dark, tiptoed along the temple wall.

And though there was no light or noise
and though I never felt my heart harden,
ex nihilo a very sober, earnest voice
said to me, “You were with him in the garden.”

And then I snapped and shouted “No!”
I was heading down a darker road.
“I’ve said it already: I’ve never met the fellow!”
And just like that, a rooster crowed.

• • •

Nobody’s Watching

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Jog like you’ve never been kneecapped.
Jump like you don’t live in shame.
Traipse like you’re not made of feathers,
and nap like you’re already dead.
Win like you’re not tired of losing,
and lose like you still want to play.
Sing like your dad isn’t drinking.
Shop like you’ve never been dumped.
Dance like your exes are watching.
Shriek like you’re not getting stabbed.
Barf like a toilet’s nearby, lease
billboards like yesterday’s here,
and let the peppers sauté like nobody’s
coming for dinner, like nobody’s
ever passed by this way—nor will they.
Tweet like you aren’t abandoned.
And live like you’ve never been loved.

• • •

Vaguely French

Thursday, August 1, 2019

What galls
me about Gallic
art is the balls
  it took to make
it all so phallic.
  I mean, apart
from O’Keefe’s flowers
everything is—
basically towers.

• • •

Two Things

Monday, July 29, 2019

I do not think that I could drill

So many holes I could not fill

Them with the sand from every beach.

That, and my name’s not “Stacy Keach.”

• • •


Prune Seeds

Thursday, July 25, 2019

From one point of view, now is twenty years ago.
That point is, of course, twenty years from now,
Standing perhaps where you’re standing, eating
The prune you’re eating as we watch this show.
I’ll suggest changing the channel: “I’m so bored.”
As prune juice and seeds spill down your arm
You remind me to do something I’d been
Putting off for decades. Let’s say, for the sake
Of argument, that something is planting a prune tree.
I might plant an entire grove today, but
That won’t have moved our constabulary
Any closer to the sea. Oceans between you and me,
Jefferson. I want you the way I want myself:
Somewhere buried in the remote if magical past.

• • •