Plain American Language

I cut a sliver/of WC William's finger
and placed it inside/my philosophy...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Here're the Lions

Here're the two stone lions. Paws up
balancing invisible candles,
and here are the chandeliers.
Here is the city skyline, glimpsed
on the southbound bridge home.
Trust bridges, they can be fixed.
They're steel; green and black.

They cradle other metal carriages.
Here are the oaks, some in early autumn
despite this 80 degree September 3rd.
Hadley weeping willow hangs like a birdsong,
an upside-down chandelier. It sparkles
like the Connecticut River, like
an indefatigable kettle, like steam,

the skyline we put faith in not
to disappear, like early autumn
or the maples that light the parkway in October.

The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Heaven (a title in Mary Jo Bang's "The Eye Like a Strange Balloon")

She has a plan.
Late, while he's asleep,
while roommate two is
watching movies,
she'll walk off Manhattan
and step into the space
between her wrist
and the nine tendons
that flow through it.
There is a cradle,
a candle, scented,
it smells like hyacinth
and mint. Love
can learn so much
from anatomy. We
find him studying
while she cradles him
in her arms like a wick.
From a median nerve,
from inherent, electrical impulse.
Each revolving star
we have mapped just
like our own bodies.
It's loving you that makes
this work.

Palm Springs (after reading a lot of Mary Jo Bang)

Palm Springs is a mecca of
mid-century Modernism.
Mid-century Modernism
is heavily influenced by
the space age and nuclear age.
We will find the God particle.
We will split the atom,
smash the atom, create holes,
tiny holes and vortexes
that no art can see through,
martial nor plastic, music or partial.
A blank, sucking hole;
not even Blinky Palermo
or Stella or Rothko or Auden
or Fitzgerald or Palm Springs
with their sand traps
and 100 greens like little hilly
helipads. Finally, we assemble
the machine that will ultimately decide
what beds down with our hearts,
while inside the planes we ride
to relax in spaces wide enough
to open our eyes
and have a drink, a smile
spreads like wingspan, as if
we were comfortable with forgotten coasts
and never needed
our feet to touch ground.

Monday, September 1, 2008

25 Different Kinds of Oysters

Lunch is always simple. It's choosing
that makes it difficult.
Number 25 is called, and the menu's got
three rice dishes, everything vegan,
free wi-fi for customers
to dawdle and idle around in,
and a bit of old art on the walls.
Tacky, but hip. Like lunch.
Rice & fried egg with black beans, a rice/soup,
and sandwiches, oh sandwiches.
The candles are decidedly no help.
Neither are the mirrors
expanding along the wall.
Now 31. Hummus. Why not chili.
Why not rice. Now 32. Now 33.
The Goya print is no help.
Now 34. Ok. So rice. Rice.

I Do This, I Do That Poem

Oh when the shower runs and you're
awake it's morning in New York
you're visiting and wanting to chat
slouching and correcting your slouch,
yes it's morning, in this unknown Brooklyn
a Saturday with few clouds out
the window, mostly apartment buildings
while the scarves inside are wrapping
everything, even the walls,
draping paisleys and gilded colors
promoting brick or mauve-ish reds
and creams that make you think
of breakfast while returning
home is more than a day away --
that revolving door called home --
and again no clouds
it is fresh and a toddler cries
his dailiness like this morning table:
an eye patch, a bracelet, cuff links
a pen and a few pennies.

I Put My Books In The Bag (this has a weak ending, i think)

We drive so quickly. The bends
on the highway bend
for us. This love, forced
like a pillow into a pillow-
case. We eat green beans,
it is summer, we have sweet corn
sitting in the bed of the truck.
There are times when
your hands go slowly.
Like a train sometimes will.
Time won't pass. It's not
so leisurely in its movement
but plucks along like
a nylon strung guitar.
Pass by the many houses
on the way to you.
The brown one and the pond
beside it.

"Don't forget that you must leave and return" -- George Seferis, A Poet's Journal

The room is more of a mess
than ever. 'Back' means
behind, flat or curved;
returned. In any case

it's what you left,
haven't looked at for some time.
Place things into 'keep' and 'not'.
We have to clean.

How else can we fit the books,
our shoes & livelihood?
The piles of clothing and bits

of the future finally cleared.
That space, over there:
enough room for a computer desk.

The old wooden one filled
with my grandfather's papers.
I asked him. He said
it'll be fine if I take it.