To him, the problem with a public library was that it had too much sincerity about it. Everything was so nonprofit and earnest. Even the posters showed a pacifist propriety. He felt judged by the public library.
She was sixty-two and widowed. Church people did not recognize her, but people at the animal shelter did. People at the shopping mall did not recognize her, but people at the library did. In this woman's life, there were more books than traffic lights, more cats than cell phones, more vegetables than credit cards.
The side entrance to the library is a proper Ivy door: a solid antique, heavy, imposing. I'm used to its resistance, its demand that I show a little gumption, so I give it a proper pull. But as I grasp the big brass handle and begin to give the door its due, it lunges toward me, tossing this handsome red-haired woman into my arms.
One mother used to boil orange rinds in sugar for hours to form a leathered candy. When her daughter was released from Dachau, she vowed no tears. Then the soldier tore the skin of an orange. Today, I read in the Encyclopedia of Birthdays that orange is a calming color for those born in April. I can't paint my walls this spring without picturing a mother boiling sweets for silenced tongues. I place my compositions in the corner. People think it isn't risky to be a satellite. My god, what I've never seen.
30 October 2009
The children have placed our eggplants
Beneath their shirts, purple boobs.
Earlier, daughter was pregnant
With a honeydew.
23 November 2009
Note which figure the tree
the night-blind awl,
the ingot of blood,
the face down grace
6 October 2009
Never speak of it. Be silent as the little b. Lean into the graceful skewing
of the downward spiral. You can't stop the postman from delivering.
Millionaires at large in the garden are just as likely to pull up our fences.
4 October 2009
The tickets are for entering a new unimportance that insists it is all
made of glass, smooth enough to be skied upon, connecting
above water to below. You are connected to the Midwest
because your river is connected, but you are made up of non-river
elements, too. You can see how the water is also the skier…
2 October 2009
In hooves, trying to get inside the apple without
breaking the skin, or inside the Orangery at closing,
oh, and in that, a hymn containing the words
taken from the antique store down on 2nd Avenue.
Will a boy wake in the night and hear his way out of the dark room into a dark hall, past a painting of a pear too dim to see, like the picture of a sea horse inside a closed book. When he hears his feet on the carpet, will there be carpet? When he hears his father roll over in bed, will his father roll over? What about sleet tapping the window? Will his ears create the snowplow shaking snow from a bush? Or does the plow rev itself into engine?
I'm carrying a black baby inside a white baby inside a floral blouse that serves as dress. I'm looking at a television through a shop window through which, by reflection, I see a floral blouse.
11 November 2009
Fiction made desperately, to fence in God.
Oh swollen mercury
Oh swollen Oh
11 September 2009
And so again we're left with speculation. Luck, destiny, fortuity.
The mouth makes its sounds, curls ever so slowly, forming
into horror or love, while lightning in the sky, if you're a passenger,
cannot be described, because those moments are always
your last. It's 3 a.m. Monday morning…
5 September 2009
Because I have waited too long to ask why we deserve this,
it keeps pounding harder than we ever imagined. Awnings
have collapsed over every balcony, cars start floating
gently down the streets, and even rats nestled in the sewers
have already drowned. But still there's no flood, no looting.
2 September 2009
Too late to think about tomorrow, I do it anyway,
and while I'll still be sleeping, your drive across I-95
I always picture, every situation different. First
a man in a car with a siren—flickering and silent—
wearing away its dark black paint. He stops, tells you
to get out.
8 September 2009
Smoke from the pipe of our lungs, unreaching, shifting molecules
to air and back
to smoke, will leave us, in the midst of this city, quietly to drown
among our past—
suicide gun blasts through walls, our waiting and heart-stopped nerves
then beginning their stretch…
If there is something to be devoured, there is something to be devoured, this taste of whatever it is that makes things taste, the touching of tongues and the speaking of tongues in various languages, words that I have never heard, meanings that can never be parceled from the letters formed, these looping curves, these straight angles, up and to the left like angels circling above like buzzards, like vultures, all things holy and good…
26 September 2009
I never win at the game Hump the Hostess
or Musical Beds. Martha says I don't
have any rhythm or know how to mix
a drink. Last week I sloshed in
rubbing alcohol to see if she could feel
a difference, but she just asked if I went
cheap on the brand.
20 September 2009
of snow dust
on pigeon shit
at the end of another year
17 September 2009
their inevitability, like frost
or pigeon calls in morning air.
there is a turning point
with snow, swooping
20 November 2009
Everything passes, said the Buddha,
and I saw it myself on the river—
tennis balls and condoms,
waterlogs and dead dogs,
the mastless schooner of a rubber sandal…
16 November 2009
Or let the answer be
that sweet scent of smoke
when in his special chair
he puffed then let out hummingbirds.
14 November 2009
Cut, cut the envelope says.
Keep it deep
my father says.
I obey limits, green soup
18 November 2009
The glass was empty except
for the cherry… the TV showed
volcanoes in Ecuador.
And rain and rain
in the South of France.
29 September 2009
Read your hand in the mirror:
this is your only chance
to be the victim.
Lucks, my fair falcon, and your fellows all,
How well pleasant it were your liberty!
Ye not forsake me that fair might ye befall.
But they that sometime liked my company:
Like lice away from dead bodies they crawl.
They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.