Menu

Author

99 posts

My Reptile Brain

Harsh sunlight makes me sadder
   than these clouds
These clouds softly reflect my mood
   Harsh sunlight cruelly laughs
Progress, any progress?
   I see no progress---yet
   Take my pulse
   no progress yet
You can survive without love
   you can get on without it
   Though it, admittedly, fires things up
Like a little piece of hell
   in my life
I guess
   there’s really no one out there for me
   never was
   never will be
This latest one
   I don’t like her much
But my reptile brain is still in love

-November 8, 2006-

Just Because…

Just because this cruel sick world
   comes together when you’re together
Just because you yearn for each other
   everyday, and
Just because the sex is great
   doesn’t mean she loves you
Don’t make that mistake

Just because she puts her stuff on your stuff
   at the gym, and calls you her amour,
   and sleeps with you every night
   and plays with you everyday
Just because
   you touch your very hearts
   and she tells you you’re her soul mate
   and she waits for you everyday
Just because you touch
   doesn’t mean she loves you
Don’t let those things fool you
If you do, then one day, you may ask:
   Am I still special to you?
   Do you still want to hear from me everyday?
And you might have to ask:

   Am I still important to you?
   Will you ever stop pushing me away?
Or you could sing:
   I lay here in this king size bed of mine
   The one I bought with you in mind
   Plenty of room for you here by my side
   Plenty of room for you here 

-September 12, 2006-

Waiting Room 239

In the waiting room, Room 239,
   we were all. . . waiting 
A young girl and her brother, or maybe it was her friend,
   were playing with an old tennis ball
   rolling it back and forth across a table, laughing
Suddenly, that happy face began to change
   and her face, no, with her entire body, she began to cry
   and cry she did until she cried no more
   and after a time,  she smiled again
And I thought
   if only I could cry like that little girl
   If only I could cry
But I didn’t really know her grief
   just as you don’t really know mine
   and crying doesn’t always help
   and the fiercest love may fail
In the waiting room, Room 239,
   where we are all...waiting

-August 1, 2006-

Donny Q

I’m no Donny Q
   obsessed by the unreal
   and longing for happiness too
   longing for love where no love is
Says Donny Q: 
      “I am hurt beyond hurt
      I am sad way past sadness
      How many losses must I endure
      Before I lose myself to losses?
      How many more?”
Donny Q thinks there’s still hope
   in this madness
   her sweet face in his head all the time
   and his heart is sore
Says Donny Q:
      “I am hurt beyond hurt
      I am sad way past sadness
      Where is she,
      my sweet girl?
      Come home”

-July 15, 2006-

Mostly…

Mostly, I don’t find it
   Mostly, because it’s not there to be found
   But I yearn for just this kind of tale–
   ecstatic, mercurial, searing, profound
Like a heart still beating whose story–
   where is the pulse of this heart?–broken–
   what started it, stated it, sated it, breaks it?
Mostly, I kind of find it...
   Mostly, I don’t find it at all
   And when I find it I can’t hold it
   or I hold onto it too long
Oh no, it won’t last forever–
   what will become of me then?
It must last forever,
   like a bloody bumbling river–
I touch you my darling alive
Then I touch you in my dreams again and again
   because it must last forever
like a love that never ends

-January 17, 2006-

Last Things

It was about 4 months ago
      when you said you didn’t love me
   that I fell into a hole, very deep
Now slowly,
   I am wrenching my way out

Last things
   like the look on your face
      in those days way before you decided
         you didn’t love me
   that love you will never feel for me again
Last things
   like a love you never felt at all

And I didn’t know they were last things
   just before the end
   the return to loneliness, at last
   because we are always alone

Tell me darling
   who will love that wicked, wrinkled face
   if not someone like me
   who loved you when you were younger?
Last things like the sweat on your stomach
   when we make love
Last things that aren’t meant to last

When you used to love me
   you knew how to act around me
   you knew exactly what to do
Last things, where shall I bring them?
   Shall I give them back to you?

-December 5, 2005-

Lament

Her smell is in my nostrils–
   I’m obsessed with her love
   My dear one
   The sweet smell of her– sticks in my brain
   My dear one, my love

No one loves me
No one knows my name

Mama can’t read nor write no more
   But her mark is everywhere
   Her mark is in my soul|
   Her mark is in my brain
   Mama can’t read, nor write

No one loves me
No one knows my name

When you reach for me, I’ll be there
   Does my lady still want me?
   She doesn’t say–
   Reach for me, my love
   I’m here

No one loves me
No one knows my name

When my woman comes back to me
   I will cover her in kisses
   I will love her with all my soul
   She will be mine again, I know
   She will be mine

No one loves me
No one wants my name

-September 25, 2005

Matt Died Today

1. Sunday
Matt died today
He was all alone
I heard about it over the telephone
from Iowa
I was expecting to hear from him any day now
I hadn’t heard from him in awhile
He was the kind of person where
no news was generally bad
Bad news generally made him quiet
But my birthday was coming up and
I knew I’d hear from him soon
You see, when we were kids
we made a deal
On my birthday I gave him a dollar
and on his birthday he gave me a dollar
That way neither of us would feel bad
about not getting presents
I figured him to call when I sent him the dollar
Usually when he called with bad news
it was because he needed money
I’m not great about giving money away
so he really needed money when he called and I  gave
He’d had a bunch of bad patches--
heart attack at age 35, followed by a layoff
at a high paying, high pressure telephone sales job at Time-Life
and a compulsive gambling problem, which
after he lost his job became worse
and the break-up of a 10+ year relationship
with the woman he lived with
One day he showed up at my door in his car
without money, with broken glasses, without a place to live--
even the car had to go that very day--he couldn’t make the payments
no job
I put him up and got him on his feet
Or rather, he got himself up
got treatment for his gambling
got a job, not a good job though
When he worked he worked hard
but he never worked hard at getting work
and we fought about that
He’d always take the first thing that came along and
stop looking because he knew
that something better would be coming
and sometimes something better came
He was my favorite brother
2. Monday
Matt died today
He was all alone
I heard about it over the telephone
from Iowa
When growing up he never learned to care for his appearance
and he had a nasty case of acne, even worse than mine
But it never made him shy
Matt was always outgoing, friendly, and even then
a very funny guy
He never seemed to care about his appearance--
odd, for someone who wanted to be an actor
The few actors I’ve known
seemed to care about nothing else
His friends thought he was brilliant
One said, after hearing of his death,
“I can’t believe that mind is gone...”
Others said similar things
His movie career consisted of one movie,
“Slap Shot” starring Paul Newman
Matt’s the fan in the seats who throws his keys
at the hockey thugs shouting, “You can’t skate, You can’t skate!”
And they pummel him climbing high up into the stands to do it
It was a very short acting career
My two other brothers and I
never thought he was brilliant, smart
perhaps very smart
He was always funny always making you laugh
and always into odd stuff
like Elgar and Monty Python (before either became popular)
but academically he was not usually brilliant
and didn’t care to compete that way with us
3. Tuesday
Matt died today
He was all alone
I heard about it over the telephone
from Iowa
“You’re a wonderful person...”
He would say after meeting me at work
when I gave him a check
I wasn’t so wonderful, at times I
resented having to give at all
and I suspected that if I made it easy
he would always ask
Finally, after some awful jobs that just came his way,
a friend of his
found him a telephone sales job in Jamaica
(the country, not Queens, NY)
This presented a problem--
how to get satellite TV
because he loved watching TV, especially sports, and
couldn’t be expected to live without it
He learned he couldn’t purchase satellite TV there but had
to arrange for it here, taking the “dish” with him
Because he was paying the bills (this was one of his good paying jobs)
the dish continued to work (even in Jamaica, the country, not Queens)
until one day, Matt’s ex-roommate in NY got a call from the company asking
“Where’s the dish?”
He replies “I don’t know, I think its in Jamaica”
“Jamaica, Queens?”
“No, Jamaica, Jamaica”
“Oh”
Then he’d get a call the next day
“Where’s the dish?”
“I don’t know, I think its in Jamaica”
“Jamaica Queens?”
“No, Jamaica, Jamaica”
“Oh”
I’m told, this conversation repeated for months
Matt was in Jamaica for about a year and half
Then he left that job for one in Florida
with even a little money saved
But the job in Florida didn’t work out
and the little saved money was almost gone
and as it turned out, I was in Florida with my wife and
kids, because we always go there at the end of August
on Captiva Island for two weeks, which is far away from Miami
which was where Matt was at the time
he decided to take a bus across Florida
to visit us
The bus of course didn’t go the whole way
and my wife, driving an hour each way
picked him up
He stayed with us about four days
leaving his clothes and towels on the bathroom floor
and drinking a lot of ginger ale (not diet)
He and I took a long walk together on the beach
I don’t remember all that we talked about, living in Jamaica mainly, but I do
remember how hard it was for him to walk
He was overweight, easily out of breath, with hurting feet
He was only  43
One Jamaica story he told me was this--
The company had given him a van and his first pay  (which was on him and in cash)
and a place to live (he had the dish)
and he was driving home when the van broke down and he was lost
Two men in dread locks stopped to help (so he hoped),
it was dark, he was lost, it was a strange country
One of them said to him
“You have nothing to worry about...I am a very very good man”
and then a moment later
“But you might have to worry, because I am also a very very bad man”
Goodness, however, prevailed, because they did help him get the van working
and did tell him how to find his house
and he did give them some money
which his Jamaica friends told him was too much money
and all was well
After seeing us in Florida
he decided that he would start over again in Iowa City, Iowa
where our older brother, Howard, lives and generously offered to put him up
When he got to Iowa, again by bus,
Howard would ask him,
Matt, would you like to have some breakfast in the kitchen or
watch some television,
or go to a movie, or go to lunch or some other such question and
for the first few months his answer was always the same
“Do we have to take the bus there?  Because, if we have to take the bus
the answer is no”
“No, Matt--
we don’t have to take the bus”
4.  Wednesday
Matt died today
He was all alone
I heard about it over the telephone
from Iowa
Well, after being in Iowa for a few days
Matt landed a job making luxury soaps
He even sent me some and to be truthful
they weren’t much better than normal soap but did cost more
That job didn’t last (I guess others thought the same as me about the soap)
and Matt went to work at a fancy grocery store named the “Coop”
where he made enough money to move to his own place
a little two room basement in a private house in walking distance from work
(no bus)
with free cable TV (no dish)
One room in the back was large and he didn’t use it
because you had to squeeze through a small opening to get to it
and because it didn’t have heat
He lived in the front room with a large bed and a small kitchen
and there he died of a heart attack
It isn’t clear when he knew he was in trouble or
if he tried to get to the phone
or the pills near his bed
or if he knew what was happening at all
When we went to his apartment to clear things out
we found a library book of folk tales
and the first tale was as follows:
My servant came running to me in terror
He had just been to the market when he saw Death lurking behind him
He begged me to loan him a horse so that he could ride away from here
as soon and as far away as possible, even to the next town
I agreed
Later that day I went to the market myself
and I too happened to see Death
I went up to him and said
“Why did you frighten my servant?”
“Actually, I did not mean to frighten him
I did not even expect to see him
My appointment with him is not until much later this evening,
in the next town over”
5. Thursday
Matt died today
He was all alone
I heard about it over the telephone
from Iowa
In high school Matt was one grade before me
We only once had a class together, an elective,
“Comparative Religion” with Dr. H.
Dr. H was in his sixties when he taught that class
had been at the school forever and taught
Aldous Huxley’s “perennial philosophy”
whose idea was that all the great religions were at base
the same, with the same hidden wisdom and essence
Matt loved it and when he loved something
he always did well
He really took well to Dr. H (even getting as good a grade as me or maybe better)
whose style of teaching was open and warm, enquiring and tolerant
For instance, Dr. H more than tolerated the atheist in me
He would, after a class in which we gave our opinions (and he always wanted to hear
what any of us had to say) encourage the class,  as we were leaving,
to do careful reading and, also,
to “go home and pray for Peter’s soul, even though he thinks
he doesn’t have one”
Not so Mr. L
Mr. L was tall, white haired, formal in his grey banker’s
suit and taught mathematics by intimidation
Both me and Matt had him for algebra
though not in the same year
Mr. L’s style was to make you stand up and
give the answer to last night’s assignment
and if you couldn’t answer right, and even if you could,
he’d insult you
In his favor, for some of us, this often worked
He used to call me Winey because my name was Weinberg
He’d accuse the guys of not listening and insist that instead of math
we were all admiring M’s legs
M had (has still?) great legs but I don’t think she appreciated that
I’m sorry to say that
this method of teaching worked on me
and I got out of that rather unpleasant class with an A
I do not, to this day, remember any algebra,
though perhaps under torture it might come back
I still remember much from Dr. H
Mr. L’s sadistic methods didn’t work on Matt
If Matt didn’t like something
he wouldn’t do it and you couldn’t make him do it,
and while it took him a long time to get mad
once he got mad he stayed that way
One day in class after being called Winey, ugly and stupid by Mr. L for months,
Matt stood up and firmly said
“Mr. L, go to hell”, which was unheard of speech in those days
Matt’s friends tell me that Matt could do five or six things at once,
that his memory for details was astonishing
They thought of him as one of the smartest people around
My two other brothers and I never knew this
6. Friday
Matt died today
He was all alone
I heard about it over the telephone
from Iowa
Matt the class clown
He told me that at sales meetings at Time-Life (at Time-Life they were big on plaques, 
salesman of the day, salesman of the week, best salesman of this or that, Matt had a wall 
full of plaques,
and they were big on meetings to hand out the plaques)
he used to imitate our grandma, Dora
and I’m told that at the Coop where he last worked
Dora was famous for her sayings,
though nobody there or at Time-Life had ever met Dora
No doubt about it
Grandma Dora was an original
She was a soprano and a pianist and fine musician
she was short and wrinkled, with big bosoms
and a prima donna, selfish as they come, with a good sense of humor and
not much common sense
When I was a small child I’m told I famously asked her
“Grandma, why is your bottom on your top?” and that she laughed at the question
When we were older she and my Mom would have loud, bitter fights over bridge
bringing up years of bitterness between them
But we could also
visit her at her apartment where she would sight read Brahms
But when she came to visit us
she’d enough money to get there but not enough to go home
and my mother would have to give her the money to go
Matt was the only one of us who could deal with her
in long stretches
Once, with some time on his hands,
He somehow let himself get bamboozled into taking her to Florida
Now grandma would not fly and so they went by train (not bus), Grandma paying the way
Grandma did not believe in tipping people and so Matt
would sneak back after each encounter to do it himself
Grandma found it somehow unacceptable that items would be priced
96¢ or 87¢ instead of 90¢ or 80¢ and would ask
“What’s the 6¢ for?” “What’s the 7¢ for?”
The “trip from hell” ended when Dora was dancing and hurt her leg
mercifully causing them to cut the trip short
Years later Dora was complaining to Matt about her hard life
and crying, how she missed my Mom (who had died of breast cancer years before)
and started a phrase with “Not a day goes by, that I do not feel the pain...”
A few moments later she asked “Matt, do you remember when we went together to Florida?”
and Matt, far from being a saint, said
“Not a day goes by, that I do not feel the pain...”
He would get up in front of large groups
and imitate this strange old woman
(who referred to herself as his decrepit, old grandma)
who none of them had ever met
He would tell of her reaction upon hearing that her dentist of 30 years
had died, how she broke down into tears
and how he had tried to comfort her upon the loss of this close friend
but heard through the tears instead
“Now  who will take care of my teeth?”
He would quote her sayings
“What’s the 6¢ for?”
Or the time she announced that she would now eat only “antibiotic food” (moldy carrots 
and bread, I suppose), or the time she said
she would not go to the planetarium because she doesn’t like fish
I was not at the Time-Life sales meetings
and can’t tell you how the spectacle of Matt
in front of these drunken salespeople
dressed in an old house dress
speaking in a high pitched voice
imitating this old eccentric woman, played
Did they laugh as Matt insisted they did?
At the Coop I’m told Matt had a lot of fun with the intercom
He would announce to people that the express check-out was for eight items only
and that if you had more than eight items you could not use it and that
no exceptions would be made, none
He would then wait the requisite three to six beats and announce
“Well, if you have nine items, it might be okay, but definitely no more than nine items
at the express check-out lane”
And I’m told he also pretended to be  Dora
After Matt’s funeral I went to the Coop
and there were Dora sayings on the wall
there to remember Matt
So I hope it was as he said,
“They loved it!”
7. Saturday
Matt died today
Was he afraid?
I don’t know
He was alone

-November 24, 2000

My Mother’s Death

         "I did not know the necessity.
         You know, I have been thinking about
         this idea of education.  It is terrible
         when one day merges another.  Last week
         I lost two days.  What you have to remember
         is this:  No matter what they look like
         they are really five years old.
         Some people get frustrated.  I'm sorry, look for it,
         In the purse with the credit cards, under the drawer
         or behind the bed someplace.  Brain damaged.
         But I have thought about this enough today.
         I will think about it some more tomorrow.
         I don't know where it is."
Wrong muscles strain
Wrong muscles relax
The dying person
The face is puffed
The glands are tender
The head at a nearly right angle
from her neck
as though the neck would break
The nurse says,
      "She likes to sleep like that sometimes"
These stones' clarity
sharper than all regarded precious,
gold and the like
A river spans over the region
darker than blood
its coarse soil feeding
vegetation rich with our colors
Soothing, kinder
the rays as in dawn or before rain
I have seen these things
I will see them
The bank's coarse mud far richer with colors,
delightful grain which soothes,
ore more precious, more common,
than gold
I brush the crumbs from my beard,
   my hands shook --
   too many cigarettes and ale
I listen hard to what is said
(faded clippings or those that fade,
somebody's shoes hang,
two black helicopter fans don't work,
the pot bellied stove works,
the usual waiter serves)
In the hospital
they wheel a cadaver
down to the basement
strapped to a stretcher
wrapped in linen
with a towel wrapped around the head
with an opening through which
no face is seen
I notice the
dead illuminated buildings
their sugar-glazed shadows in street light
I work in a grey building
Some of us are old now
There is a statue on the roof, dignified and erect,
overlooking Wall Street
There is an antique wooden indian in the lobby
I always greet the blind man
who sells newspapers and drakes cakes
and overcharges for everything
especially soda and cigarettes
which we buy to break up the day
He can't differentiate the paper we hand him
A blind man depends on honesty
I am impressed by his skill at counting change
Some of us load trucks
We have learned to look busy
or have worked in the Xerox room
for some time, making excellent copies
Some of us drive buses
or push carts full of mail from office to office
We all get paid twice a month
Many of us have done this for twenty years
We never know until it's time
to clear our desks
Yet we will earn a decent salary
working for this city
In between work
we play stupid practical jokes on each other
We like these jokes, they are funny
--Hey Jerry, the next time you'll
get your damn ass kicked for sure
Like the time I threw this at him
(He holds in his hand a piece of metal
from one of the printing machines
It weighs three or four pounds)
Aw, you guys give me a pain in the neck
(He is partially deaf
We don't like him because he always complains)
Won't you look at the boobs on that -- Shit
but the best looking ones are upstairs
You ever take a look at them up there?
Man they're something else!
Meanwhile, our hero combs his hair in the mirror,
undoes his pants to tuck his shirt in,
without warning suddenly turns and flings
the damn thing clear across the floor!
Magnificent
I notice,
how calmly a person will sip ale
A bitter young man maybe twenty or forty
Maybe forty or sixty
We often wear fine suits
We always read the newspaper
In our pockets are credit cards,
an extra check just in case,
and a couple of bucks to placate the muggers
         They say that,
            after he left her
            (poor girl)
            she gained seventy pounds
            His fault, she says
                                  CAUTION
         This bed is for use with oxygen administering equipment
of the nasal type, mask type, and by standard 1/2 length oxygen
tents.  Oxygen tent canopy should not extend below bed
         spring level.
He dreams
      that all things froze
So quiet
      the rays serene, complex,
         still,
He is not sure
he remembers those eyes
Her eyes like moving molecules of ice
            kind of dead
                        (not quite)
She does not move yet
These dancers always pretty in their way
            (even in his dream)
How gracefully she holds her head
When the nurse said she wasn't trying
      to get better
   she could barely move
We fired the nurse
   ("long skilled in techniques of comfort")
   even an ignorant fat woman
Should know better than to torture the patient
Cheryl wrote:
      Do you remember how we fell in love?  You said my dancing was
desperate...
With her hair tied back
She'd perform a perfect somersault
                         awkwardly,
I'd reach for passionately
She said,
         "You feel so good"
She did try to get close to me
She said,
         "Why get so damned angry"
When she was angrier
She wanted to be cruel
Her own reasons
Or intentionally ugly
I don't know
Dear Cheryl, I do not remember having been in love,
                        desperately,
 
C'mon shitface -- the wallet
hand it over whiteface -- the wallet
They're like us
They want money
to go to the movies
"If you live in New York City
it is often necessary to go to the movies"
or so my friend from Iowa tells me
My mother with breast cancer,
said
          Never think that I have not had
             a good life
Then drugs such as demeral and thorazine
                    confused her
Once I nervously watched her
Hold an imaginary cigarette
Blowing out, she exhaled the smoke
Barely lucid
She'd make jokes
Which made it difficult to understand her
Her children
       She wanted to make us feel better
She loved us
Probable metastasis to the liver
She hated death
Let me tell you the truth
Insurance companies are a big rip-off.
Now I'm trying to help you.
Tell your brother to send us those forms.
You know, I can't do a damn thing without them.
What you have to understand is this
(for instance, I'm bending over backwards for you now)
If I help you, quite frankly
(most insurance agents don't understand this)
and you grow up say,
and start your own corporation
(this is only a hypothetical case)
and you need, let's say, a company insurance plan,
well you might call me in to set it up for you.
That's why I'm always willing to bend over backwards
for people like you -- my clients.
I don't mind telling you it's not without
my own self interest in mind.
It's simply a matter of good business.
There ought to be
dignity to grief
At which point
occurs the conversation
in the elevator.
He said: "Thanks man"
I said:  "That's all right, you can keep them"
She said: "My mother, she gave me this beautiful dress
            for Christmas"
He said: "Me, I get this undershirt"
   and he points to his chest
I'm sorry
but this rabbi
is an ass.
"When my own father died
I dug the grave myself
Each shovel of dirt
Singlehandedly.
Then I recited the prayers
According to our laws and traditions
Which to me, are sacred."
Epictetus decided that
there is no pain
Only opinion
            with suicide as an option
In case you forget
 
occasionally they will take a
pot shot at an officer.
usually when soldiers rebel
it is not something they do outright.
half-crazed in the field
they will shoot anyone if permitted to
if they're not told not to.
enemy and civilian
look alike.
These fluctuations mean nothing.
For instance, last week the market
dropped thirty points.  My guess is that next
week we can expect it rise somewhat.
It is all emotional.
All in all very difficult
almost impossible to know
the subtle connections between
what actually happens in business
and uneven events on Wall Street.
They are, after all, very emotional
on Wall Street.
Meanwhile, we sit in the limousine
with this ass of a rabbi.
He would not let us see
the coffin lowered,
which we are told
is now done by machine.
Old women tend to make a scene
when they lower the coffin.
There is to be none of that
according to new policy.
"Shit!
Watch it!
You're going to knock over the fucking lamp."
"Will someone please restrain that
drunken idiot?"
Outside it's twelve below
Winter in Vermont with some friends
People start to dance
A little wine, a lot of beer
Bad music
I never dance
Still I begin to enjoy myself
in my corner drinking beer
wondering if I'll be trampled on
"It's noisy in here!"
Two people insist on running
out of the house in tee-shirts
A couple more follow them
No one stops them because
Pneumonia is, after all, curable
         You think you're smart
            hiring those nurses so I'll
               live longer
A girl (rather pretty) trips over the
coffee table and into my lap
I help her up (rather drunk)
she catches her breath a little
embarrassed -- not much
begins to dance again
"I like to use my body" she says
Someone whose name I don't remember
Hands me a glass of scotch with ice
From his own private stash
Some people return from outside
They look all right
Two girls dance
trying to out do each other
         We burn children there
         We bring them here
         Almost repair the skin
         Then send them there again
In the kitchen some people
are discussing Marx
What he couldn't comprehend
         I have found
            all the hostile faces
         that used to surround me
         were really my good friends
            learning to be witty
"I'll drink to that"
Cross country skiing tomorrow
A little Alka-Seltzer
Some lemon
(stolen from the tequila drinkers
in the other room)
And to bed
For a man with leukemia
a hole dug carelessly
meant a broken leg
where he tripped
with more violent swelling.
What is for us an annoyance
caused an infection, very dangerous for him
which they could just control.
Into this kind of rain
I came here
To avoid you
As lovers for the time
we would comfort each other
in ways that I don't understand
With a tension I yet feel
we drew near
animated beside her
with each moment closer
My best dreams were
for her
Her breasts are formed flesh
                   not whiteness
There is death in her sockets
Her dulled eyes
Like ice
   I remember those eyes
Half-crazed with an incomplete knowledge
There is perfection
Malignant, bitter
She said she remembers her father
That his kindness, that his failures
Are with her
      I loved her
      But I couldn't understand that
Certain important considerations
separated us
They were hers, she said
         typed into the brain
I would like to she said
      I loved her
I can't help it she said
The chemical factory is gorgeous
One smokestack in the fog, particularly,
With the mist that surrounds it
The rain falls in parallel lines
It's the middle of March and gusts
Hit the mountain
Brown and violet
A deeper brown with the influence of rain
There are evergreens also
And the chemical factory
Complex and innate
To the side of the highway
There was thunder
The rain became snow
The windshield iced up
Driving over the bridge
There is no control
We go into a skid
Our dance macabre
I scream
We will talk about it later
      "There is someone who designs guard rails
         for a living..."
The coming of twilight
We breathe
The decent of clear night
A soft rayed horizon stops me
A dark river spans over the region
Dried weeds that resemble wheat
There is a moon reflecting sun
We breathe
Sweet songs that begin at random
The sounds that will steadily cease
This woman
   though younger than myself
is no less knowledgeable
She knows my heart
But can't comprehend the extent of my love
This woman I need
is a woman I love
I think of you often
I need you
Yours are the breasts
Yours is the curve of your body
Our hearts are crude and tender
Together, we approach for the time
what is hidden
Peaceful again
The city reveals that aggravated light
The light that illuminates
The light that tortures
The usual light
The same measured streets
Brilliantly conceived
Through solid rock
Haphazardly built, destroyed, rebuilt
The working machine
The street light ricochets back
To the walls
To the river
An old dark cesspool, a mirror
Receives us
They tried chemistry
"Even a virus will burn itself out"
His temperature reached 105
When he recovered
Some of the doctors
Though afraid of brain damage
Thought he might live
They tried radiation
They brought in the oxygen tent
      he thanked them
When pneumonia set in
They left him
When she lay in her bed
   dying of her cancer
My mother said, "I miss them"
Her husband dead
         (be kind, he wrote in his journal)
8 years ago, leukemia
He left her four children
Her own father dead
            (once, when my younger brother entered
            the room, she thought it
            was her father
            so much did their walks resemble each others)
Her own father dead
He took my father's death hard
Suffered anyway from heart disease
   as far back as I remember
Found that he could not pay his income tax
They found him dead in his sleep
   sometime later

-1973-