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I run

I run down with the escalator steps—
down, illusionary down they go, dizzy
illusionary steps—as the ground reaches
up from below to engulf me, its plasticity of floor
is the give of an elongated dark brown plastic, how
it will now surround me, I think, cover me altogether,
but, instead, its sturdy hard surface steadies me

Seated around a small table in the Midwest
dark, we laugh and mourn, careful with our
words, very gentle for us in the cool night
Calm, poised, still, patient, shrewd, dynamic—
the more people we get, the dumber we become
The seas rolled outside our lines, the light shifted
and I made my way home by myself that night

We scratched graffiti into plaster walls
before the volcano erupted and 2500 years
later you can read it, and see us sort of, read 
our messages scrawled in latrines, inns
and brothels, get to know the text, its gaps,
its nuances, its rhythms because our
means are the means of circumstance

The present’s a distant unhappy nightmare,
an illness from which we hope to recover
His lack of generosity, once a source of
low comedy (now read the graffiti) what
an irritating human being he was
What’s done to your body when you die
depends on your tough economic chops,

but, nevertheless, in a few generations they’ll
dismantle and steal from your tomb, ravage your
headstone and no one will know a thing about you
“May the earth rest lightly upon us”
“I made a living with my mind”
“They mourn me with perpetual
laments and never-ending tears”

We sought a consummate touch,
just strong enough, perfectly
accurate in location and force
She looked to her silent pets for love
May became her favorite month
They cordoned off her space but couldn’t
withhold the rain, the shadows, the sun 

You misread my book when
you read it front to end
It’s the root not the context you seek
It’s a drama not an argument
Said Joe Kennedy about his son the
next president “He can’t lose because we’ll
sell him to the people like soap flakes”

-May 18, 2019-