Poems January 2022

Krakatoa, East of Java (1968)

At the time of the cataclysm
You tumbled screaming into an endless slash in the earth
(what screaming — you threw yourself down it)
Leaving me to walk east to west until once again facing east on an endless
Möbius strip of a tiny beach

“Oh Universe and God,” I never cried out to the surf, which lapped more than pounded, “How much can a man take?”

“You’re not a man,” whispered the wind, or perhaps it was guitar amp static, “You’re a dumb boy. You can take everything I dish out.
You’ll be a man when I’m done with you.”

When I lost you
You weren’t the real loss, were you?
You were a MacGuffin
The microfilm in North by Northwest
Catalyzing the transformation of Cary Grant

The real loss was me, wasn’t it?
(Circa 1985)
Capable of planning on forever
Thinking that words change minds
And love conquers all

(Circa 2022)
Knows forever changes
That words must be husbanded and deployed tactically
And love never conquers but is forever surrendering and letting go

These days no one gets me out in a cornfield to wait for a bus
Or off that strip of sand bound by high and low tidelines

To moon about like a sweet dumb kid
A peach of a guy, still on the tree

January 27, 2022

That Moment in the Backyard Yesterday — Later in the Kitchen

There’s a gauze of recent snow
And empty envelope silence that arrives hand-in-hand

Cold water I cup in my palm to drink
Pausing to remember other snows, other cold water, other silences.

Then it occurs to me that I can no longer conjure up your face
Rather I see instead photographs I’ve memorized
And you’ve moved from loss to history
From presence to document

And your voice

You could be calling me from out in the snow
If I managed to hear you
Would I know you?

In the morning I might see tracks but they would only be only mine

January 26, 2022

After Dinner, but Before Breakfast

A million things to do
None of which effect the planet
More so than making dinner
Everything and most people
All becomes electrons

This pointless life on the steppes
These nomads trekking in place
There’s been a shift in the skies
Those pole stars have moved
That course is now un-plottable

Come now: Quiet
A flung and dropped comforter
What keeps a blanket from becoming a shroud is that tomorrow you get up
And after coffee
Begin the thousand footfalls
Forging your own mad chain

January 25, 2022