Telling it Plain

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
things scream
when they have been buried
within walls too many
run-on years.

Still, you taste
the weird tang,
the poetry
of rust,

and will spend it
somewhere
like a quarter
you found

on a winter street.

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Around 1 a.m.

I hear some sort of distant emergency vehicle make a sound halfway between a horny drunk and a shaman. Foreshortened siren. Miles from here. I hear two cats fighting or consummating. Much closer, but who can tell?  I hear silver leaves of Andromeda falling through the vacuum of space. In the vacuum of space, where nothing hears nothing. I am listening there. Tonight. They may land on your shoulder. They usually do. So I will think about them some more. I will be a home to the sound of their homelessness.

Pine Needles

The fear and hope of a house.
There is an echo.
You could sit bare-ass in moonlight
In the deep forest.
Here’s a story
that’s not one:
A brother took his brother
into the deep of a forest
to sit on pine needles,
to scoff and wait for the moon.
He took him into the deep of a forest
with intent to kill him.
But they got separated
in a stupid sort of game
they agreed to play
in honor of wild animals,
which they were.
They both got laughing
and felt they had hooves,
and now they are there,
bees on their bones
or calling to each other forever,
depending if you believe
and if you love ghosts.
Calling out to each other
with the same degree
of fear and hope.
Like two tin-cans
on a rusty string.
Or maybe texting.
Although one still wants
to kill the other
before they find a way
to enjoy the shadows
as a permanent bed.

There is a heavy nothing
on a killer’s chest.

Because he did not get
to gnaw that bone.

There is an idealism
in that they are
wherever they are.
They’re like a jpeg of the moon.
We are unable to enjoy
anything of them
but the hope that both calls
will be answered at once.

If the voices found each other,
both brothers would be lost.

If the forest keeps them, though,
each in a separate pocket forever,
it is not so bad.

[3 a.m. crickets, wall of sound: the ghosts of monks chanting in the yard]

                                        Their mind mass slows to the cool
September air, the tempo a function of temperature,
their self-explanatory dying, told without pity. Count the beats
to know how much impersonal darkness they have left.
I can’t hear it impersonally. I want to personify the sound.
I believe there is someone making that sound,
even if my someone is only dark splinters on the ground.
I feel it’s talking to me, and somehow performing my mind.
If I can’t take it any longer, I will throw open the front door
of my house and yell at them. They will grow quiet for a moment
as if listening to me. And then they (no they there) will continue
their chant. The sound will close back over me
like starlight, and I will drown in that.