The old pipes in this house
scream in the middle of the night.
Not as lovers scream
in motel or wedding bed.
Not as ghosts scream,
as oracle or agony of injustice.
They scream only as old, rusted
when they have been buried
within walls too many
Still, you taste
the weird tang,
and will spend it
like a quarter
on a winter street.
I go into the backyard. The lungs of the sky are dark. It is going to snow. The sparrows fly from the naked hedge to the naked Carolina Allspice bush. They thrum from one skeleton to another skeleton and tip and balance on the arcs and tops of branches like acrobats balancing atop poles in circuses long ago, circuses long underground. Still, the plates did spin. It is going to snow. The lungs of the sky are dark. I pour birdseed from a Big Gulp cup across the ground. The millet and sunflower seeds and whathaveyou deploy a galaxy. An edible galaxy. “Eat quickly before it snows,” I pray to the sparrow minds. And: “Thank you for being here,” I say to them, to the sky preparing to annihilate so much life. As if the rest of life were an audience and I an emcee. The illusion of a sort of control in charity. But we both know, Dear Reader, the desperation is mine. I come as beggar to them, the eating of their meal an alms to me. The sparrows live and die by cold, clean in their magnetic souls that draw them each to each, as they depart, as they arrive (no difference) through the snow.
some men carry
on their backs
by age, the road
goes through snow
a small bird dances
balance on yellow
crime scene tape
all mothers carry
on their backs
I get on a subway
And there is nobody there for me
I go to the zoo
The animals are all terribly self-absorbed
In their cages
The bar same deal
I cordon off an empty bed
In the middle of a night
And there is no one
I could play a game of Twister with a mannequin
I pretended it is loneliness
I want a ticker tape parade for my loneliness
I look out a motel window
And there’s a blizzard
Doing savage things
To a parking lot
In the end the winter is funny
For how little it will give
A fuck or even less
If you are eighty
I bet it feels really good
To drop down into a sea
Of living cats
On a dirty mattress without sheets
To be nasty an earth goddess
I bet it feels
Than an evil fur coat
Used to feel at twenty
Which is how a lover felt
“You, Sir, are a goddess to all these cats”
Grrrr is replaced with miauw
a face that was facts of cheese
and cheese like
until reason lets go
just sit before windows
a weird cloud:
head like cheese
full of cavities
of egalitarian regrets
so we go
August is aptly named, I think.
It is the month when the summer
sits like an aging emperor on its ass.
It rose up atop its feeder seasons,
ambitious spring, summer flush with green accomplishments.
But that is done. There’s only ripeness now.
There’s not yet that true blush of the mortal
that September brings, when all the colors change
in that radical sense. But close. It’s felt. There is a new
darkness in the leaves. A random few parts will fall
as if in prescient mockery. Everything green is as full as it is
going to get. The husbands of August sit on the beach
with their august wives. The kids have grown,
gone their own way. It’s a quiet, late vacation.
The husband sits in a striped beach chair
and stares at the ocean. He thinks, “No worries.
Next month I will just ruin everything.” Even doom
can start to seem a likely solution. Because
the young girls and September are in his already
It is given back eventually, if you are lucky,
if you live long enough. The world becomes less
“blood-hot and personal.” Oh, but the recipe
is horrible. People must die. They must give up
on you forever. You must be written off. There must be a nothingness,
an abeyance, where your existence does not matter
to anyone but yourself. If that. And then, if you are lucky,
it may come to you again. It’s with the fingerlings
of light that come through the faded curtains at dawn.
It brings this awakening. You recalibrate your sense of event.
You recalibrate your sense of gratitude, the prosperousness
and the greenness of it all. It’s the grass everyone walks on
but nobody thanks.