Keep

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.

You

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.
Good.
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.
REDRUM.
But no. You are a mermaid.
Merman. Whatever.
Must a poem be politically correct
and thus inaccurate?

Guilt

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

So

You have left

So

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
still
the flaw of being
so strange
how the train
becomes a name

A crack crosses the ceiling
as we lie on our backs
looking up
A map is so pretending
Its boots fill with rain
two tall mouths
to empty each morning

Two looks fall with morning
sweet wandering
as the children of deer
so
behind the strip mall
a cleverness
exhausts its guises

Poem with Lines Not in Chronological Order

And then I’m dead, and no longer care, anymore than that empty billboard
everybody was using to send babies to heaven and hell in July.
And I had never seen anything so excitable in my whole life,
not even a gilded rat!
And I came into your Trojan bed with the stink of another there.
And you gave me orange roses,
oranges, roses who’re rogues
meaning swallow my confusion.
And you said you would be mine for ten thousand years,
not a single day more.
And I fell for bullshit like this.
And I came four times that first night.
And you said, you can’t kill what isn’t alive
but we were talking about that painting (I think).
And I don’t even know your secret name for yourself, I conspired.
And looking back, it might as well have been
a unicorn. I mean that fucking stupid,
to play riding games. When you’ve never even
seen how a unicorn actually grows up,
how it is raised.

The Inarguable Flowers

You are getting divorced.
Farewell, Congratulations, Welcome Home.
Here, affect this balaclava.
So you put a large bouquet
of pink daisies in a window of full sun.
The daisies are innocent in pinkness,
there are not enough of them,
so tall and wide is the vase.
It is clear crystal, a bellowing
of a bell of tuba mouth,
but only a lip of glass
to support what it’s saying,
or almost so, in being there.
But it is svelte as the heart
of all glass, the desire
to just be silvered, become
a mirror, be done with it.
At least, you think, there is
no ridiculous, portentous
sound such as comes
from a euphonious brass
as morose as that one
can only be, at its orchestral best.
The vase is frugal IKEA,
so let’s intuit a purity of intent,
a touch of the mind of Sweden.

These pink daisies support you
as the sun supports them
now on the stone windowsill
that overlooks the living below,
though the flowers are dead.
Well, not yet. But soon.
Though they are dead,
they sing a sun’s praises,
all the pink daisies,
because the stems they have
would have them finish
what it is they had begun,
and are still quietly drinking,
whatever it is there you give them,
water and an aspirin,
maybe a place to reflect their pinkness,
the city window directly before the units of their faces.