The bio note tells us
you are a successful urban professional
in a cut-throat academic field.
But the poems give us vapors of other dreams.
We learn you are a male, middle-aged mermaid
who prefers the shadowy corners
of very private bedroom nooks,
wine and snow and Brando movies,
not bodies of women or men, and song.
You are shy with the pretty eyelashes
of a petting zoo deer. You are sugary married.
You are a father. You are tame.
You appear to drink a great deal,
or seem to want us to think you do
going by the poems. This could be
a cry for help, (should we worry
about you?) but No,
I think this is just who you are.
You are safe in your life.
If someone tosses a styrofoam cup
on the street without crushing it,
you will rhapsodize about it.
I like that you are a unicorn
of city nuances like that.
Tell us that the cup was dregs
of dire cough syrup. Make it new.
But no. You are a mermaid.
Must a poem be politically correct
and thus inaccurate?
I used to be afraid
of my own rusted screens
the brown palms
of my hands on their overtime
like the hills
you swept them under
I cannot price
of the language we use now
there is a bitterness
there is an equality
it is very much of these flowers
the problem of the personality has been solved
It was solved not for x or y
but this golden field
this nubile cloud above it
Isn’t it funny how the same X’s and O’s
we use for hugs and kisses
we also use in a strategic game of war
with a wholly finite outcome?
There’s eventually a loser or a draw.
Then they just become exes and ohs.
I wake and want to be different
from my self. I split the word
in two to show the goshdarn seriousness
of my intent. I do this for a someone
watching me (inside) who probably isn’t me,
but who ‘s always there anyway.
I mean the one who walks the other one
like a pet on a retractable leash.
These walks with our little wild friend
can be stressful. They can walk us,
and it’s embarrassing when others see.
Other times? I’m not so sure.
We might enjoy the fun of having
a wolf take us for a ride.
Life says be a sport about it.
It says this while revealing no rules
that might give the play some boundaries,
some sense of a definitive score.
People claim to be winners, but who knows.
Certainly, there’s no convincing umpire
or referee on the field. Not even the divine ones
with those shrill whistles hung around
their oversized necks. Their rules are crazy
and only there to soothe them. Life says be a sport,
and then does crazy things that no way make sense.
You start to realize the game is really much more
like art than anything else. You make it up
as you go along and just try to convince others
it’s a believable form. If you hang yours on a wall,
will people nod “Uh huh.”
Could it be that life and death
are just resemblances of the real?
Often, I do not feel myself
but a sketch of something happening elsewhere.
You want to be a bringer
You want to bring something
You want to bring it to the people
No, you change your solemn mind
You want to bring it to the animals
This is a wise, a tactical swerve
Nothing may be brought to the brightness of people
That is the miracle of death
You can bring things to the animal
And you can bring things to the animal inside the people
They can eat and absorb things
If they are interested, they will chew
But the person itself
It is an impermeable membrane
It’s a different kind of will
It’s like a mouth of rust eating and talking at the same time
The pebbles that lie on all the beaches of the earth
That infinite variety!
The colors of them!
I don’t know
But I feel it
in my gut
They can’t stand the emptiness
They can’t board the emptiness
I can’t figure it out, they say
I can’t get on this train of emptiness
So they blind themselves to it
Though they feel it moving swiftly past them
Every day of their lives
There is a society of words
It’s a sorcery of branches
There are crossings and snarls and interlacings
Of a sort of society
These are branches underwater
Mostly ghastly traffic
A traffic of frogs kicking their legs
Under the earth of the water
The motes of it that color
And screaming birds
The flashier males shows off their iridescent trains
Some of them have green eyes
Yellow eyes from long resentment
You must have the nose of a dog
I mean a snout
You become pretend basic
You become for real basic
You drown in the emptiness
Of what you can’t forgive yourself
You are a poet because you cannot speak