It’s so late I could cut my lights
and drive the next fifty miles
of empty interstate
flying along in a dream,
countryside alive with shapes and shadows,
but exit ramps lined
with eighteen wheelers
and truckers sleeping in their cabs
make me consider pulling into a rest stop
and closing my eyes. I’ve done it before,
parking next to a family sleeping in a Chevy,
mom and dad up front, three kids in the back,
the windows slightly misted by the sleepers’ breath.
But instead of resting, I’d smoke a cigarette,
play the radio low, and keep watch over
the wayfarers in the car next to me,
a strange paternal concern
and compassion for their well being
rising up inside me.
This was before
I had children of my own,
and had felt the sharp edge of love
and anxiety whenever I tiptoed
into darkened rooms of sleep
to study the small, peaceful faces
of my beloved darlings. Now,
the fatherly feelings are so strong
the snoring truckers are lucky
I’m not standing on the running board,
tapping on the window,
asking, Is everything okay?
But it is. Everything’s fine.
The trucks are all together, sleeping
on the gravel shoulders of exit ramps,
and the crowded rest stop I’m driving by
is a perfect oasis in the moonlight.
The way I see it, I’ve got a second wind
and on the radio an all-night country station.
Nothing for me to do on this road
but drive and give thanks:
I’ll be home by dawn.
I skim sadness like fat off the surface
of cooling soup. Don’t care about
metaphor but wish it would arrive
me. There’s a cool current of air
this hot day I want to ride.
I have no lover, not even my love.
I have no other, not even I.
I just saw two boys.
One of them gets paid for distributing circulars
and he throws it down the sewer.
I said, Are you a Boy Scout?
He said, no.
The other one was.
I have implicit faith in
the Boy Scouts
If you talk about it
you'll finally write it—
If you get by the stage
can make you write—
If you don't die first
I keep those bests that love
has given me
Nothing of them escapes—
I have proved it
proven once more in your eyes
Go marry! your son will have
blue eyes and still
there'll be no answer
you have not found a cure
No more have I for that enormous
wedged flower, my mind
the dead stick of night
Unfolded out of the folds of the woman, man comes unfolded,
and is always to come unfolded;
Unfolded only out of the superbest woman of the earth, is to come the
superbest man of the earth;
Unfolded out of the friendliest woman, is to come the friendliest man;
Unfolded only out of the perfect body of a woman, can a man be form'd
of perfect body;
Unfolded only out of the inimitable poem of the woman, can come the
poems of man—(only thence have my poems come;)
Unfolded out of the strong and arrogant woman I love, only thence can
appear the strong and arrogant man I love;
Unfolded by brawny embraces from the well-muscled woman I love, only
thence come the brawny embraces of the man;
Unfolded out of the folds of the woman's brain, come all the folds of the
man's brain, duly obedient;
Unfolded out of the justice of the woman, all justice is unfolded;
Unfolded out of the sympathy of the woman is all sympathy:
A man is a great thing upon the earth, and through eternity—but
every jot of the greatness of man is unfolded out of woman,
First the man is shaped in the woman, he can then be shaped in himself.
I’m traveling back home to you but it’s an omen:
my road map’s creased and torn along dead straight lines.
The hill and gully ride is over now and I’m flat out
on the dead straight highway with a toll.
Not a glimmer of the coastline as I try to make it home
to you through a forest of hotels as thick as thieves.
For the sea, the coves and beaches once seen through
seaside shacks and palm trees have been sold.
And the rest of us are herded to the verge by this new
highway while over there our beauty is extolled,
bottled and sold. And gated. In this new paradise the only
palms are greased. And somebody’s beach umbrella
has replaced the shade tree we once sat under and the
towns and settlements molder as they are bypassed.
I can no longer witness on this highway with a toll that
makes us seem as modern as elsewhere. For elsewhere
is not where I’m meant to be. And a dead straight
highway leaves no scent, no monument to the past,
no scenic beauty for the curvature of my eye to take in.
And endless empty space is not inviting. But perhaps
there’s no social meaning to this tirade after all. I’m just
feeling lost without a map as I make it home to you
and pay the toll. You could see it simply as a love song.
To the curving of your cheekbones, to the mountains
of your thighs, the hill and gully passion of your eyes, and
your hair that is not dead straight but very much otherwise.
around 530 is
a beautiful peaceful
you can just
hear the dog
David lifts his smoke
in the middle
bout the top shelf
or so. The party
I sd that’s my col-
works and every
stared my home
was so small
I’m not particularly
into the task
at the moment
it’s like that
on a tiny
I think of as
with the larger
one on a
floating in air
love made it
me love made
I love a house
I fear a house
a house never
I live in a
room a personal
one. A young
much like me
please it was
for a party
going fast. How
of a drug
want to go
slow. To drink
thing for a
to lick my
I met a dog
dog named Alan
now & then
her chest &
thing. You didn’t
I don’t want
the mother of
when she squeezes
cozy I know
to say. I can open
what I mean
While jogging on the treadmill at the gym,
that exercise in getting nowhere fast,
I realized we need a health pandemic.
Obesity writ large no more, Alzheimer’s
forgotten, we could live carefree again.
We’d chant the painted shaman’s sweaty oaths,
We’d kiss the awful relics of the saints,
we’d sip the bitter tea from twisted roots,
we’d listen to our grandmothers’ advice.
We’d understand the moonlight’s whispering.
We’d exercise by making love outside,
and afterwards, while thinking only of
how much we’d lived in just one moment’s time,
forgive ourselves for wanting something more:
to praise the memory of long-lost need,
or not to live forever in a world
made painless by our incurable joy.