Keep your white hair, she says. I go around and walk around an artificial lake that has become real. With the snow and the geese, it has become real. There is no place not to be real. That is the unavoidable thing. Keep, she says, in a place where she is disappearing. She wants me to be old with her, to walk on the mountain that is disappearing. The mountain of us. I hear the single word Keep, and all through the night like my reflection in the dark plate glass of the artificial lake. A radio has been left on, somewhere in the night. Which is no longer a thing. Now it is a piece of paper I could hand to you. The lake, the geese that no one wants, that no one will bury, the ice they walked on, verifying existence. Their nests, your nests. It lives inside a piece of paper. As you will, soon enough.
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?
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.
All the times you unheld something
I believe that is the word
I mean letting go
It is like the bones of your hand
It’s merely structure
It’s like a piano being a piano
No apology is necessary
But you believe you have angel wings, don’t you?
So your apologies are gigantic ones
Like the winds stirred up by your wings
When you are upset and they flutter wildly
You feel there should be a groan in ice
Even in the ice of outer space
Of your feelings
You think you are a special form of earth
You suppose you are different from dirty water or hard winds
All because you have a name and a front door
And these feel like solid things
Those two things you must perforce defend
I, myself, am just a guillotine
When a skeleton
is seeking a dance partner,
a sleep partner,
a circus animal,
who will sit
on a window sill
and wait for its
on driveway gravel
like a snake
You have left
There is still a gas jet
sound of her weeping
crossing an isthmus
too dark to see
The formidable holiness
of the small balloon
pushed into the heart
There is stillness, a crossing
of the tiny sounds
the flaw of being
how the train
becomes a name
A crack crosses the ceiling
as we lie on our backs
A map is so pretending
Its boots fill with rain
two tall mouths
to empty each morning
Two looks fall with morning
as the children of deer
behind the strip mall
exhausts its guises
Solomon designed a throne
where mechanical animals
would greet and acclaim him:
golden doves. There were lion
machines in Constantinople,
grief had bright eyes.
You should probably not go to dinner