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If you

If you only want what everyone wants
that’s greedy enough— not special
If you want just what you deserve you
might get it— to your sad, ironic distress
What you jeopardize everything for
may make you whole or break your heart
For some that’s their power, their zest

As a teenager I thought religious folks
were oppressive, ignorant hypocrites—
evangelicals who cow-tow to power
without a bit of the morality they profess
Now, older and wiser, I know what I
knew then was true—religious fucktards
are heartless, ruthless hypocrites

When she got to New York
Dylan Thomas was nearly dead,
lying in a hospital bed unconscious
So she lost it—smashed a sacred
crucifix, knocked over a statue of
the Virgin Mary and bit an orderly’s
hand in ineffectual, hysterical protest

The ideal of courtly love—
that there’s someone out there just
for you, may not be your truth
The universe throbs for you,
wishes in you, like a ghost
who haunts the surface of you,
like some life you didn’t intend

Remember the last time you said
something you didn’t know until
you said it? I once said “No
countries’ food is bad” and
didn’t know that until I said it
Awake in bits and fits we aren’t
the world’s only animal intelligence

Dad didn’t drink coffee,
he drank tea instead
Mom drank her coffee sweetly
sugared with half and half
Grandma drank it in a glass
with lots of milk and a sugar cube
in her teeth, Russian style,

a spoon in the glass
so the glass wouldn’t crack
Little pleasures are the
subtle marks of our identities
Maurice recounted how a
little girl knew that the falling bodies
she saw during the collapse of the

World Trade Center were not butterflies
as she had told her parents but falling
bodies and from this he concluded that
children will sometimes  try to protect
their parents from what it is
that children know—and I know
wherever we go, there we are

Here I am reclining on my couch
which is electric and reclines if I
manage to push the right button
I’m retired and watch a baseball game
in the middle of a weekday afternoon
Matt would have loved this and I can
easily imagine him in the recliner

next to mine as I enjoy the game
all the more as I imagine him there
The promises you made, did you
keep them? Some of them for sure,
some of them—When Verdi
wrote his fervent, fiery  requiem
his wife wrote “I won’t say he’s

an atheist but he’s not much of a believer”
Unrequited desires can tear you to pieces
Some lovers give when they love—
some just take—when I’m with her
truly I melt entirely within her
Victory’s a god, honesty’s pure,
good luck now, that’s the best

 

-June 30, 2018-