Poems February 2022

For C in 1982

A certain awkwardness
In newish shoes
Which get pulled out and put on
When hopes are high and expectations…

Expectations are exciting

I think her name was Caroline
She of the shy sideways smile
Her shoulder against mine

But whatever else went up into the sky on an Indiana night
A bird flushed from its hiding place
The wisps of smoke from the fire
Laughter, and words you can’t quite make out
Blond hair cascades over the collar of her cardigan
And the strange way she’d say my name

February 23, 2022

On Getting Lost Because Why the Hell Not?

How often have I walked out into my own neighborhood and hoped to get lost…

It’s familiar to the point where it’s not comforting
I know all the dumb plants and the stupid flags the cracks in the sidewalk and exactly where the majority of dog shit might be

I saunter by houses
Imagining the imaginationless people inside
Some fat guy and his wife
Staring at second-day take-out

There are lights on in the upper windows where there’s a kid
And they don’t even bother to look out past the curtains
Because the only thing to see is me:
Some dumb guy walking past at night trying to do something decent for his heart

If I could get lost…

I could follow the sound of an airplane or a train and wind up in 1962
In a bar
In Paris
Listening to film students argue mise en scene
My shitty college French suddenly complete as I get
Involved
Gesticulating wildly with the stump of a Gauloises

And then, at 2 AM, under some poplars making out with some French chic who smells like soap and smoke

Suddenly, her eyes fly open:
I know you
She says
You’re that fat fuck that walked past my parents’ house
I dream, too, she says,
But never of you

Well ain’t that a kick in the nuts

Across the park a bunch of plastic tunnels and ladders that might be a pirate ship to a kid that hasn’t lived here long enough yet
Cold in the light of LEDs

It’s still a pirate ship to me. It never changes. And someday I’ll wander like a dog off a leash with a thousand girls to meet
Poetry to write
And enough rain falling to flip the world over

February 17, 2022

Feb@Ldyshr

When I returned to Ladyshire
It was February and naught was blooming
The cars moved with slow velocities
The sun awkward and low in early afternoon

Inside we sat
At a window table
Thumbing the local paper
There were things to notice
Framed photos, a porcelain turtledove
Bric-à-Brac on shelves…
The way your hair turned to down along the back of your neck

Glowing somehow

The words in the paper passed by and through me
The same as the wind when once again outside
I turned
To glance back through the window

I should rush back in, to your table
Take up your hands and say:
There are so many things but I do not have the words to explain them
And I’m… a confused mass of bees, and you’re both queen and honey

But...

I move with my own sad velocities
Plodding at my work
Caught forever at the corners of my own cliffs
Destined to return to Ladyshire
In spring
To fresh curtains
Cut flowers on the table
Stories in the local paper
Sitting once again
Pondering
What is worth saving?
What is worth letting go?

February 9, 2022

Snow Night

Out in the snow, each step can be a hundred years
And suddenly you’re wrapped in furs, shoes stuffed with straw
Looking up at a moon
That keeps its secrets

Where will we be when the moon returns to this same place?
When the stars of The Hunter point his bow across the sky again?

Breath comes in cold and goes as mist, over and over, in a watchful forest

Returning
The way becomes path then dirt, cobble, macadam then asphalt, all hidden under snow until the porch light senses you

The moon is 238,900 miles away
A jet you can only hear crosses the sky

Where will we be when clock and calendar have done their laps?

A shaman, hidden, watches me, shakes his head, chuckles that I know nothing, and disappears into the snow, one hundred years at each step.

February 1, 2022
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