I can’t call you: it rained.
you, far off deep dearth space
my voice trailing
left in the birdless wire
washed through and leaking onto them
onto the honeysuckled road
where the freckle-braided girl drips
her sweet hummingbird water
onto the backfence-met boy.
I can’t call you: it rained.
On the shady back porch of his summer home,
Uncle Dan, even and easy like my mother,
constructs a lamp from wooden matchsticks.
Calls me Crisco.
A poem about the night should offer
solace at the end, and, on the way, a list
of images the dark assembles
for our pleasure
Your uncle Paulie told you never carry a knife unless you know how to use it, right? That advice kept you alive for years. Even if it didn’t stop that kid from shooting you tonight, goddamnit. You’re flat on your back trying to hold your own blood in with your bare hands, wondering why it doesn’t hurt like hell.
I care for small animals.
Once a week, I smuggle mice out of work. I stuff my jacket pockets with three sometimes four mice and deliver them from their overpopulated cages to freedom. It is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious, even-the-smallest-animals-count campaign that I started three weeks ago. It is a fact that mice can swim up to a mile and a half before they exhaust their energy and drown. With a highly acute sense of smell, they can also find their way home from up to five miles away.
Once in a blue moon, Mark turns to Leigh and grins, revealing the coin-slot space between his even front teeth.
“Maybe I should break it off,” he tells her. Usually it’s after the last ripples have subsided, while she lies wrapped in one of his brown sheets and he’s sliding away, showing his well-muscled back as he goes for the bottle of Black Bush he keeps under the nightstand. They meet in the apartment above his restaurant, two rooms expensively furnished in hypothermic chrome.
As Carl Crowley eased his pickup over the rock-studded dirt road, a white dog slid from wheel-well to wheel-well, too weak to lift her head, too weak to whimper, her one good eye rubbing in the sandy, cold steel track bed. The dog was nothing more than loose bones and filth, and when Carl pulled up at the end of the road, she came to rest at the front of his track like a half-filled sack of grain.
The middle of the Brooklyn Bridge is not quiet, peaceful, or romantic, but sometimes when we were there together it seemed that way. We would meet there on summer Fridays, late afternoon; he would bike in from Manhattan and I would ride in from Brooklyn. We would meet somewhere in the middle, whoever got there first parking the bike and staking our claim.
My size defines me. My circle of friends consists of the New Yorker, the Chemist, the Chesty One, the Red Head….and me, the Little One. For a long time I searched for a bigger, better way to describe myself. When I least expected it, I found the answer. Ironically, size had EVERYTHING to do with it.
It was Friday afternoon. We had been throwing around the Frisbee, but the collars of our Oxford-cloth shirts were already sweat-soaked, and we were tired of feeling out of shape. We lay on the back of Jon’s Toyota Corolla in our cheap aviators as the sun slowly started to go down on another day in Northern Virginia.It was September of my senior year and I tasted real freedom. I was seventeen and for the first time in my adult life I was almost content.