Self-portrait with…

You see, it returns—
all structured and squared,
as precise as the cubists,
impressionists, abstractionists,
their futilities, their agonies, finally
numerical—all seen through
tightly stretched webs

Although we found
a right level of caring,
aggression and sexual heat,
being my lover lent her
none of the prestige she
expected and her friends
didn’t envy her in the least

In this she’s no expert—
She’s a tourist
We waited for him to
return from his usual
bike ride but he was crushed
by a bus and didn’t— our
bitterness comes with a price

He suffered fools not at all and
couldn’t tolerate a compliment
We learn to tolerate and cherish
what is unknown and unknowable
in those we most love
She’s not stylized like
the Gypsies when she cries

We use our obsessions to survive
rampant, general catastrophes
Our politics are disgusting, extreme
The philosopher said “The world
is everything that is the case”
For “The world” should we
substitute “God” instead?

“Suds” as we called Mr. Sudborough,
our high school English teacher,
said that when a song or a poem
gets to him he gets goose bumps on
his arms and his legs—we collect
things so pleasure becomes a kind
of hardy, chaotic control

A little pain here tips us off
to where the actual injury is
When the accountant came
to see Maurice, Maurice, bored
mightily, left the room and told him
“Keep on talking, I’ll be back” but
no one was there to hear the man talk

I make a self–portrait with, at
my side, an imaginary older brother
Wendy moved out in a huff and
settled, finally happy, in Karachi
Where worldly rewards are nil,
some otherworldly sparks may,
instead, flare up and descend



-June 24, 2017-