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Friday, January 28, 2005

4th of July

My love knows no spending limits,
the matter was always academic,
the lots from which fireworks were seen
could be viewed as check marks against
a scorecard that is invisible, behind the clouds,
the wind blows toward the land
you'd never get for a birthday.

Even if we stood here all night
the wind would taste the same as
it did last year as we light our fuses
with old Zippo lights, there were sparks
in the dark and flinty remarks
as the sulfur caught fire and the
curvature of the caved-in moon
gave us white, chalky light
to search for our eyes in the dirt
under the leaves and the blanket
we brought from home, the
threshold we carry ourselves over
like weight that shifts in assignments
of motion , water displaced and rising
as the moon leans to the shoreline
for a kiss and a sip of what we're drinking.

She rose a leg as though to dance,
he played a song the same as always,
you sang those words with those strange notes
that rustle the highest limbs of California fronds,
I am writing a novel with every pause in the chatter,
in my mind I'm at my desk laughing again as
all the words fill the monitor and fall off the screen
and onto the floor.

It was clear, this dream
I had, we stood here with our
friends with our sparkler
and glasses of wine
cheering the American Night
as rockets screamed across the sky,
risking our homes or at least car keys
that might fall from our pockets,
but there is only empty night
in front of us, a moon shining light
that ripples over the water
that moves toward land in
serpentine movements,
as I was saying,
"…if we stood here all night,
if we made a big, tall wish,
if we're good with ourselves
and our words we put into the world
that goes to sleep trusting
the rime of light to creep over
the horizon come dawn,
we can see where we might
live in futures where we all have our keys
and we all get to drive home
from the fireworks at the beach…"

Monday, January 17, 2005

In favor of steady work

Icing on the cake
was all it takes
to get me to follow
a rule rather than bend it
to what my moment of need
might happen to have been
if I were with a friend
who chided me
on losing my gravitas
in this tight circle
of rules and cash value,

just make it sweet
and neat
as a treat and
as if it were were
a cocktail at the end of a shift
of shuffling orders
and rubber stamping
receipts in big red ink,
rules as they are
are fine if there's a kiss
or at least a nod
at the end of days
when the light darkens
through our office
and retail windows,

pals sans skills
on pills
and copious quantities
of smoke and coke
can stand their corners
and thumb their nose
while they leave
their trail of
running hard luck stories
about how it
was a bit of bad luck,
misunderstanding,
a bad break
they couldn't shake
nor bake as truth fully cooked up
like it were a scheme
that was their dream of becoming,
it's numbing to think all this,
what's remiss in the speech
and dress and the place
where they stand
in a pride that guards
cracks in the sidewalk
as heads nod in sleep,
a respect for weather
that forgives them not
at all
because weather knows them
not all This Fall,

I argue at times
not a wit
nor a flick of
the wrist that
twists every bad note
like it were some
malformed melody
someone else wrote and played,
how long have
I stayed
above water
like an an adult
oughta,
it's a voice, a cash register sense
of the world,
a sales floor
flooded with creme filled donuts
oozing underfoot,
zoo animals charge past
the register stands,
bosses and their assistants
asleep in the front seats
of company cars,

none of this makes
me star or delivers from the Devil
but I am above sea level
and have reveled in
the music of screams of joy
and been blinded by the
coin of the realm
as it it glittered and glinted
while all of us
squinted
and made plans to
go to movies
plays and
dinners our wives and husbands hinted
were the places
to let the evening's big hands
crawl steadily to
another calendar day
spent parsing
the history of
every rotating mystery
and solving this problem,
right now,
big or smaller fork,
fish or pasta,
Coltrane or Satriani,

benefits easier to take
than
nonconforming
myself to oblivion
on a corner where
i would be the boldest
among the coldest.