The resort


I am to leave the resort today
so why haven’t I packed?
All this life stuff, closets of clothes,
shelves of books and assorted knickknacks
still arranged and displayed so carefully
on well-dusted light brown shiny wood
shelves that bulge with important keepsakes
Where are the packing boxes?

Where’s the bubble wrap and tape?
Mom, you were to arrange all this
Are you renting us a truck?
I need more time to do all this
but we must leave tonight
Where are you?
What am I supposed to do now?
Then, relieved, I see old Dad, his

long grey hair graceful from the back
He’s saying goodbye to us
Before he can go I stop him
and thank him for this fine vacation
He seems happily startled by my
gratitude and just as he’s about to
leave we hug joyfully but the
thing is Dad died 57 years ago

He died young at age 40,
and never, as Yeats put it,
got to “comb grey hair”
As these feelings of anxiety
and warmth dissolve into sleep
I don’t know if I’ve actually touched
eternity or if, instead, this is the touch
of an unfathomed block of raw time


My brother’s gifts sometimes
fail my test of generosity
His gifts are often enough like a shop
clerk’s resort gifts—designed to make debt
like a cold beer or a necklace of beads
so I’ll really buy—but then,
what about the incessant compliments
I so desperately extract from my friends?

Fear and habits drive us
“I walked a ways in that direction and
damn, I had to walk all the ways back
You know what I’m talking about, right?”
Her glasswork’s pretty, even if
it doesn’t speak to my essence
I search for some signals in this noise
like an unresolved sadness

I have that dream of loss again—
as I hang out at the resort
The maid she puts my maryjane
in a drawer and I’m not quite sure
but maybe she took some for herself
We have so much and they have
so little so what the hell, its just
old, cold burnt coffee

What is it about my lover’s skin
that’s so amenable to gold?
Some women look better in silver
Silver doesn’t quite flatter her
Before he dropped into dementia we
asked “What’s going on with Dr. P?
He just doesn’t seem to give a shit
He’s all frozen inside”


Maurice after his heart attack—
As he recovers he has the custom
tailor measure him in his very sickbed
for several fine British-made custom suits
Maurice’s work wasn’t finished yet
and, a child of the Great Depression,
he knew he’d never agree to die
and let such fine suits go to waste

I still feel a sadness when I
hear of perfect love
“Happy?” As Grandma said
“What makes you think you’ve
a right to be happy?”
“Why does this happen to me, Grandma?”
And she’d answer, “Why not you?” That
lady, she’d never give way for nothing

Do my hands smell bad tonight?
You’re buoyant enough, so go wash them
We’re present and absent at once
That serious old man sees old patterns
in new things and thinks quickly
Rebecca doesn’t think straight
and she knows it— her solace is
the overwrought prowess of thought

I remember in high school
what a sweetheart she was
(we were too naïve then to be lovers)
She kept asking me
“Why do you use such big words?”
Now I walk around this sunny resort
not needy or sure of whom I’m with
or where I’ll go next



-March 25, 2017-