Where you come from
the people speak the language
of eyelids: all messages, direction,
and mission revealed
in hints of motion visible
behind shuttered faces.
You can usually
get past the noise level here,
but some days, you come home
and lie in the dark wishing
for someone to read
what you’re thinking.
Such a loud land
you’ve landed in: news
a broken set of bells
echoing every minute, opinion
half screaming angry,
half screaming in sorrow.
You wonder if it will ever
fall silent, then fear that moment
is coming soon and no one
will know what to do,
World outside is greasy
with nonsense today; that wind
has some throat to it.
Had to get up early; no sleep
to be had with that voice
slipping around corners,
through windows, along eaves.
Anyone would prefer
to stay in bed with that
chaos blowing so hard; rather
keep sleeping, keep screwing,
keep blank and dark and quiet
pretending it’s going to end
as quickly and silently as it began,
but it doesn’t work that way; this same
scouring windstorm has blown
from first day to this one
and all that changes is who is here
to confront it and build new shelters
among its teeth. No matter how slippery
life gets, someone always finds a footing.
No matter how loud and dirty life gets,
someone always whispers
something clean enough
to break through it. It might well
be you: uncomfortable you,
frightened you, present
and dawning and perfect,
born in this time for this time.
He’s feeding the birds
before putting out the trash —
making sure they’re fed,
making sure the recycling’s done
right, making sure of his own little circle.
He will not watch television this morning
because they’ll be showing the funeral
of a villain, and after all the funerals he’s wept at
he does not want to see
the weeping at this one.
He’s feeding the birds
before putting out the trash,
before anything else he might do
to avoid the prattle and rattle
He will not stop thinking
“rot in hell” today
because it’s the only way he can assuage
the horror of knowing the funeral means
the bastard got away with everything.
He’s feeding the birds. He’s putting out the trash.
He’s amazed he made it this far
and after all the funerals he’s been to,
he’s glad he lived to see this one although
he’s sorry it took this long.
Let there be one moment
exactly like the last one.
I dare you, Maker of Days,
to repeat yourself. To copycat
time, plagiarize yourself
just this once — or twice.
It wasn’t perfect, I suspect,
although I was not paying attention
all the way through it; still, a perfect moment
isn’t perfect if it’s recorded, I suspect.
It has to live memorialized, static
in its recalled context. So even if it
had been perfect, there’s truly no way to know.
Only you, Maker, can in theory recall it entirely
and could in theory reproduce it.
So I dare you, Daymaker:
give it back. This was a learning day
and that was the capstone. I’m
nearly educated to the point of tipping
and I need to be sure of what happened
to be sure of graduating into
the next unknown moment ripe
with potential perfection.
No one beside us will know it’s a glorious
rerun. No one beside us will know
I begged you to slow down and let me
have more out of the day than I strictly
deserved. Let me have the chance
to savor it or fear it correctly. Let me
be anything other than a man in despair
of aging into the dark.
Very pleased to note that Radius, an excellent online journal, has nominated my poem “The Patriarchy Apologizes” for a 2018 Pushcart Prize.
You can read the nomination essay and link to the nomination poems here.
Thanks to the editorial staff at Radius for the honor.