[untitled]

in the rocky foothills
of some country i’ve not yet been to,
i’d like to meet you again,
and walk together for a moment.

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nosedive correction

housefly in my mind,
zipping around and bumping into corners.
the static grinds wetly hotly against skull

i look at chapstick and think of snowfalls
i look at zippers and think of concerts
i think of my girl and see stone fences
in past new england pastures
barriers and divides and things to climb

how complex
surroundings can seem,
but then i look at the sky,
at the quaking aspen and birch closing above,
and it’s funny
how simple
feelings actually are.

distance

were i winged,
or perhaps just on a plane,
i’d be in your bed by tomorrow nightfall.
instead i cocoon myself in blankets,
and must imagine you in Spain.

my poems aren’t grand,
faraway love isn’t novel,
but i miss you, i need you,
and i wonder it all:

how’s the coffee?
how’s the cat?
do you write of me,
or just talk like that?

seeing you again

we watched a man spill box of beer
on Madison Avenue
that wheat scent rising.
we saw dogs in sweaters
and children in coats,
then hopped in a cab.
drinking you in,
i couldn’t help staring.
that leather jacket
and backless shirt
and smooth even tan,
two freckles inline of your spine.
you watched me
with that searching gaze
i tried to stay guarded but
you asked to see me again.

and so we watched cherry blossoms fall
and birds courting boldly.
you lay with your  head
right near my lap but
you didn’t really talk to me.
just went childish and watched the squirrels,
giggling occasionally as i seethed.

equivalence

the sound and buzz of people around you, chatter rippling in the concert venue: all metal and stairs and popcorn and beer.

is the same as

when you’re in a white bright eyeglasses shop, facing a corner on your left hand side and you turn to the right and the flash of lenses in the sun hits your eyes makes you blink for a second and their flash-burn is on the backs of your eyelids and you blink again and everything is thinner

the feeling is that you are empty and small, being carved clean by something bigger than you.

the dream in which i found you

I took a trip to the Caribbean to find you,
last minute and wild.
on my back
I floated, on the flat round plate of open harbor
it was late afternoon
yellow orange sun
light flares and salt skin
and then the dream breaks

I got to the beach somehow
it was crowded
many Muslim women in burkas
sat crowded to my left
sifting sand through their hands
and i turned and
I walked past all these students
they lay lounging
reveling in solid ground
backpacks and towels and sleepy eyes
one of them had to be you
I scanned their faces but none registered
(I was in a red bathing suit I think)
so I walked up and down
up and down the beach
empty and sad and longing for you
and finally I got angry
so I stood facing the water
wind whipping my hair
and I ran and jumped off the shelf
dove deep
cold sluice and I
opened my eyes
and I could see
the gray teal shafts of light
and sea grass and fish and shells
and I got cold
then arced up and took a sharp breath in
(filled my lungs clean like you never could)
and bobbed in the water, crying
I wouldn’t turn around
as the sobs shook my chest
I’d face the open ocean and not you
or your boat
but then a grey shark shadow
flickered below
and I panicked oh yes
I quickly fled to a dinghy
white and rubber and small so small
I climbed up and lay there in the hot sun
till dusk
when the dream breaks

and I’m on the shore again
the group of students
your shipmates
was packing up and filing into this bar type of place
I stood at the door scanning the faces
and then I saw you
recognized you by the freckle above your brow
you were wearing your sunglasses and a soft pink maroon tank top
you were tan and thin and
and you looked at me with pity in your gaze while
the loose shirt rippled over your skin.
suddenly I was filled up with your thoughts:
I was pathetic not brave,
confused not in love.
the brim spilleth over.

 

poet for hire

‘what’s on your mind?’ the poet asked,
eyes peering bright over the typewriter.
i thought of your name a thousand times in that blip,
of boats and burial,
skin and lips,
bruising loss and spit.
of that black dark cave
with your red paper star light.

“a girl in Paris,” i told him,
astonished by my restraint.

(Metropolitan Museum of Art, north side. April 2016)

beth israel

i’m sitting in a hospital waiting room. old bodies and canes and walkers and spotted skin. young bodies too, with tapping feet, anxious friends, and worried families.

i’m waiting for her to go in, to go under, to come back. i love her so. my chest swells and eyes well. i think of her there in that big bed, so tiny in the rumpled blue gown. i had held her hand. saw those green eyes go glassy as the meds dripped, so cold and clear, into her arm.

by now, the scalpels chink and forceps dig. blood, gauze, and suction. a mask on her face. slow breath and heartbeats.