For the pale dudes who confront the wind
and try to push it back into its bottle,
and for tall girls with their datebooks
who can organize their dressers
but feel acid scorch their throats whenever
someone says the not-so-magic words
because disorder haunts them still--
For all the paralegal types
who had to rearrange their futures
for the kids,
and for the dryer locked in layaway--
I will keep the fire going.
Remember, when you find yourself rejoicing for the rainbow,
that the earthworms rest below you on the sidewalk,
having lost their sense of being and direction,
having died but lived to feel it.
Remember when you're aching for the earthworms on the sidewalk,
there are some that didn't make it to the surface,
having drowned before the sun could take them slowly,
having died without a preface.
remember when you find yourself embarrassed by the cycle
that destroys and then destroys what pleads for safety--
--these are patterns that remind us we are systems:
Rainbows wax then die like earthworms.
Bring about a second war,
or pack up - and go home.
We can't accept apologies
from Sicily or Rome.
We can't impart cartography
to mayors without maps.
And no one wades the rivers here,
and water fills the cracks.
And water, liquid power naps,
repels us at the coast,
But draws us in at pipeline ends
and haunts us like Dad's ghost.
I died sometime, the future came,
and everybody smirked
and asked me, while we waited
for my casket, if it hurt.
As runners in a fastened loop
stop often to recount their breath,
and lookers placed around the group
in blocks of twelve and twenty-four
laugh quietly and think of death,
an older man who runs a store,
who's still content without a wife,
flops aimlessly against the floor,
and thirty men in tailcoats swoop
to save an upper-level life.
Some men trek the marathon with grace
and finish gently.
Some men catch their second wind and roll
their way on empty.
Lunch rush was hell for the new girl,
stacking foamed cappuccino cups
and stirring spoons in a broken-handled
bus tub while trying not to slip
on soft ice and discarded lemon
wedges. She took our mugs,
and told us about a guy
—Dave, she said. I don't know.—who sat
with his friend, comparing *** to work
over the rusted cabinet tracks
of his warped fork scraping
his egg-caked plate.
Dave's friend was leaned in
with a cocked grin waiting
for one of Dave's "Classic Dave" punchlines,
which I'm guessing are all witty,
the funniest *******
things you've ever heard,
but there wasn't one
because there's nothing funny about
a ***** intern cringing beneath the weight
of fat Dave and his brick
paperweight jammed in her back.
The girl who thinks Tuesday is "almost Friday"
bakes in her room like a milk-crate left for Phoenix dead.
but nobody's thinking.
How do we know that the fly loves its life on the web
if we've only consulted the spider?
How do we document
a Grecian revival of a Spanish writer.