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
Going to a party where I knew you’d be,
dudes bobbing for boyfriends, eyes shining
like candy apples. I want to be a lamppost,
or the history of plumbing. I am tired of being
mysterious. You are drinking rum next to
the laughing skullheads and I am unhappy
because I am dead and I miss you. Once
a year, day of the dead, you think you’d think
of me more often. These people shoulda
dressed up as their best selves to mix and
mingle in the courtyard garden. If everything
is green then why do I feel so blue? I would like
to be a plain-faced man, living with you quietly.
Leave the party but you can’t hear me you can
no longer hear me. The dead are boring.
Enlightenment is boring. We can read the minds
of dogs. We make the black cats scatter across
the grass. There is a better party where I am not
a ghost and you are not Aquaman. I am like
a pornstar, we are all of us pornstars aching
to get back into our terrycloth robes. Gives me
a headache, all this intellectual stimulation.
It’s cold out tonight. I am here by the back wall,
in the museum of the afterlife. I would like to
be a flickering cowboy. I like the live music—
we only get the recorded stuff here. I would like
to be alive again. I would like to say something
I cannot wait for fall parties.
The invitations have begun to roll in.
I used to think I loved summer parties
until they got this year so sweaty and sad,
the whole world away at the shore,
sunk in sweet and salt.
you were supposed to save us
from spring but everyone just slumped
into you, sad sacks
pulling the shade down on an afternoon
of a few too many rounds.
Well, I won’t have another.
I’ll have fall. The fall of parties
for no reason, of shivering rooftops,
scuffed boots, scarves with cigarette holes.
I’ll warm your house.
I’ll snort your mulling spices.
I’ll stay too late, I’ll go on a beer run,
I’ll do anything
to stay in your dimly lit rooms
scrubbed clean of all their pity.
We were stepping out of a reading
in October, the first cold night,
and we were following this couple,
were they at the reading? and because
we were lost, I called out to them,
“Are you going to the after party?”
The woman laughed and said no
and the man kept walking, and she
was holding his hand like I hold yours,
though not exactly, she did not
need him for balance. Then what
got into me? I said, “How long
have you been married?” and she said
“Almost 30 years” and because
we were walking in public, no secret,
tell everyone now it’s official,
I said, “How’s marriage?” The man
kept walking. The woman said,
“It gets better but then it gets different.”
The man kept walking.
In the old recording of the birthday party,
the voices of the living and the dead
instruct twelve absent friends
on the reliable luxury of gratitude.
The celebrated one hands out presents.
The dead dog barks once. We
take one another’s hands and follow their lead,
past the garden wall, out to the land
still stripped by winter. Those gone
do not usurp those here. We keep
the warning close, the timbre of their voices
mingling with the sounds of traffic
going much faster to its destinations.
Is it the size or the scale of the past
on the small reels of the cassette?
Someone gives her a new pot, which,
she exclaims, is too great a luxury for her.
Someone’s missing who can convert
the currencies. The old treasure
was dropped in the furrows
to await spring, with rings and pennies
and florins and other denominations
from those pockets and fingers.
Tonight all the leaves are paper spoons
in a broth of wind. Last week
they made a darker sky below the sky.
The houses have swallowed their colors,
and each car moves in the blind sack
of its sound like the slipping of water.
Flowing means falling very slowly—
the river passing under the tracks,
the tracks then buried beneath the road.
When a knocking came in the night,
I rose violently toward my reflection
hovering beneath this world. And then
the fluorescent kitchen in the window
like a page I was reading—a face
coming into focus behind it:
my neighbor locked out of his own party,
looking for a phone. I gave him
a beer and the lit pad of numbers
through which he disappeared; I found
I was alone with the voices that bloomed
as he opened the door. It’s time
to slip my body beneath the covers,
let it fall down the increments of shale,
let the wind consume every spoon.
My voice unhinging itself from light,
my voice landing in its cradle—.
How terrifying a payphone is
hanging at the end of its cord.
Which is not to be confused with sleep—
sleep gives the body back its mouth.