Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Part Time Heaven

I have been to heaven
on my days off
and just missed the ceremonies
and the best big band music ever
as a cadet angels finally earned
their wings and raised them
to fly in formation against
a sun that is never crossed by clouds,
all I could see were the workmen sweeping up,
emptying the latrines , and
ridding the clouds of evidence
of all that downy androgny.

Back on earth
I park myself
at the coffee house
because it was still
a day off and read the newspaper
between hot sips on scalding coffee,
making note of headline announcing
that the world had stopped going to hell
because we've run out of hand baskets.
"Don't get yer hopes up, boyo" says Josh,
a Swedish massage therapist
taking a drag from his third cigarette
in five minutes, " that ain't the good news
we've been hoping for 'cuz all that
bad faith and congealed karma is
all clotted and clogged and it's all
about to burst and before you
know it
it'll be 9-11 everyday".
I start talking about the weather
as Josh goes back to furiously scribbling
in his spiral notebook, I mention
that the clouds look very fluffy
and maternal, like the softest
place where a man could lay his
head and find that center of rest
that eludes him in the night
as he wrestles with the sheets
and argues with voices that
have no intention of going to sleep.
Josh lights another cigarette,
mumbles something about
vectors and dreams, death and devastation.

It's spring, I say,
flowers are blooming,
hormones are kicking into gear,
men and women and boys
and girls are exhibiting
an unnatural kindness
to one another in the streets
and I swear the water tastes
sweeter these sunny days
in May, but Josh grumbles,
his head in a shroud of fumes and disgust,
his knuckles white as they hold the
pen that tears across the notebook page,
his writing looks like tattoo scars,

I arise to get another cup
of coffee,
and happen to look up
when a feather
falls, there's a flock of unknown birds
flying in perfect V formations
against the sun emerging
from behind cloud banks,

all to make this
the best day to wake up to
if I'd been sleeping all this time
until now.