It's 6:30 Sunday morning, and I'm sitting on the couch Laura bought, listening to some televangelist while I look at a girlie magazine.
"Pat, you should start doing the wangs now so that the sass is nice and tacky," Tom says to me as he pumps the keg. Tom is wiry and handsome. I'm neither of these things.
The problems with the house project and a good stiff drink seem to go together.
Club meeting, convened. Fluorescent lights shine candescent where once our faces were lit dimly red and blue by beer-sign neon glow. Captain up front, popping his gavel made from the antique walnut stocks of a Colt Peacemaker.
In the dark early morning of a heavy snow there is the sound of metal against rock, a scraping, low at first but relentless, insinuating. It worms itself into my dream, insisting that I awake. Outside it is dark but I can make out the figure of a man with a shovel.
I resist you and take a walk on
a long pier on a shrinking lake.
Women in rowboats whistle down…
I will wander afield as you shall pace a plot
made similar by the action of our actual soles,
treading the salted soil or goodly ice
in the sun's track…
Stand back! Back to the potter's field,
dark hillocks signifying darkly
what glares in the redrawn screen.
If Cyclops Mary heard it.
If that sentence flew clean into the ear.
If the whole thing traveled pure,
unrustled by the pigeons.
Yeah, I heard it.
Saw the whole thought form
from out the back of his head,
then take shape into one lust-musty sentence.
Two sisters ride down with us
to Massawa's liberation celebration.
One sister is the color of injera; her teeth are big and stuck-out.
One sister is a cinnamon stick.
At first there was nothing:
just audiences whacked mouth-dumb
at talking pictures, Jolson singing.
In other countries, he's a martyr
drawn heavy over the shoulders of sobbing women
on a long silver plate. The rebel forces…
What breaks is threatening.
Even the cat with its small growl
Days we spend in shifts,
gaze out the window
onto drifts of snow.
What do you love the most?
Say the reddish work of death
as it strolls through the fields…
You see? If you're picking apples,
it is pointless to watch the sky,
to sort each starry feather
that falls from its transparent perch.
Snow, Snow, I'm in love with the dead,
with this white and broken air—
Without stars there is nothing to keep you
from slowing the sky.
The rain subtracts
from the landscape
the light it needs to become whole.
We find his hair in dried paint, then plant cattails to hide the corn. Inhaling and spitting out gnats she says that by the end he couldn't swallow, choked on spit.