From THE TALL CALM

 

OF COURSE I STILL LOVE YOU
—————————————
You were an abacus and I was a saxophone.
I was the city and you were the sea.
It was foretold, in time, that your hips would conquer mine
and after a middle death that I’d finally leave.

And of course I still love you.
Of course I still love you.
Of course I still love you
but please don’t come anywhere near me.

I was a patent clerk and you were in covert ops
You held back my hair as we peered in the void
I laughed like a baby when it sees its first raindrop
You cried like a baby with too many toys

And the telegraph at headquarters
Began to shudder and spit
And the Morse Code, transcribed,
Read : … / …. / .. / –

You were an amoeba and I was an amethyst
You were a Doberman and I was the moon.
You were a lonely child and I was a paper doll.
You were I was you were I was I was you.

And of course I still love you.
Of course I still love you.
Of course I still love you.
But please don’t come anywhere near me.

ASSIMILATION BLUES
—————————–
You should put this in your zine:
Moms dressing their kids up as salads for Halloween.
The robots at the coffee shop have thirteen programmed grins.
The churches look like airports and the airports look like prisons.

And I’m afraid of how easily it ceases to be weird
and I want to find a way to stay awake that isn’t fear.

Once upon a time there was a sorceress/dean
who could see the constellations through the orange and purple sheen.
She’d type up the week’s horoscopes and mail them to New York
and we’d read them in the papers but we couldn’t check her work.

I go out to the lake on evenings when I feel alone
and I pick a distant point and pretend I can see the smoke.

Tell me what’s happening tonight in Constantine.
Who bought rum? Who got one? Who ran out of gasoline?
When questions turn to iron and the iron turns to rust
It doesn’t take long for the bottom to fall out of trust.

And I know that it’s not possible to go back to who we’ve been
But I’m afraid of who we’ll be when we get where we are going.
I’m afraid of who I’ll be when I get where I am going.

ILLINOIS MOON
———————-
You said, “I don’t want to kiss you for the first time in a bar.”
I said, “I don’t mind but we can go to the parking lot.”
Illinois moon, Illinois stars.
Come out, come out, wherever you’re not.

The first guitar was made from a dead tortoise.
The sweet tectonic sigh when something shifts.
I was so scared that I counted each stair.
Mount Saint Helens gains another cliff.

You said, “I’ll just come inside so I can tuck you into bed.”
I said, “Ok,” ‘cause I’ve always been a fan of fiction.
Illinois noise, Illinois wind.
Ready or not, here it begins.

A new frontier rose up in the west.
The lawyers began to climb down from their buildings.
They dropped their business cards in the grass
and the hedgehogs stared after, still prickling.

BLACK ROCK
—————–
A ship in a jar, a jar in a box, a box buried low.
The bodies of trees are queued in a lake with nowhere to go.
A bee flies up to his queen and says, “Hey, I’ve been thinking.”
Peter, you are my rock. Peter, I’m sinking.

A limb in the square, no lines going in, no liberty cap.
The trunks of women are slowly exposed, harvested for sap.
A rowdy south sider feels overwhelmed by a gentle Canuck.
Peter, you are my anchor. Peter, I’m stuck.

A bird on an arm, an arm on a chair, a chair in the road.
The birch longs to see Northeast Sicily. The girl longs to grow.
The designated hitter takes the plate and prepares to bunt.
Peter, you are my harness. Peter, I want to run.

Black rock Black rock Black rock Black rock
Black rock Black rock Black rock Black rock
Black rock Black rock Black rock Black rock
Black rock Black rock Black rock Black rock
Black rock Black rock Black rock Black rock …

ICE CORE
————-
This morning when I looked in the mirror, I thought:
Where did this mirror come from.
I walked out the door and the day flowed behind me
like a broken tube of neon.

Kids on the street playing two games at once.
Cats on the sidewalk hunting juncos and sun.

I went to the store on my horseless horse
and bought too much beer for my panniers.
I walked home, paused on the overpass
my bags slung over my handlebars.

The confluence of car rivers lies in the southwest.
Strings of open days tend to get compressed.

When I hear your voice, you’re my ice core.
When I hear your voice, you’re my ice core.
When I hear your voice, you’re my ice core.
When I hear your voice, you’re my ice core.

PETOSKEY
—————-

TWO BAD ANNIES
—————————
Annie A. at the end of the day
walks into the diner and sighs.
Pulls out a bill and stares past the sill
and looks for saucers in the skies.

It’s not that she believes it’ll happen;
just likes to imagine she’d leave.
And when her pie is gone, she feels for her gun
spares a minute for a day’s worth of grief.

Annie B. carries two iced teas
to the corner booth and turns around.
Asks Annie A. if she’s done with her plate
and the words feel too big for her mouth.

It’s not that she didn’t think this could happen;
just that it’d never happened to her.
She observes Annie A.’s jaw and feels herself thaw.
You know, she’s always loved sad characters.

Too bad, Annies:
two bad Annies.
Too bad, Annies:
two bad Annies.

BATMAN
—————————————-
You called me and you told me
that you were fucking Batman
I said, “How do you feel about that?”
You said, “Well, he’s serious
but he makes me feel delirious.”
I said, “As long as you feel safe
around bats.”

The cat is in heat.
It’s a long sticky walk between
two kinds of houses;
not many mouses.

When I come home, I remember
things I’d forgotten I’d forgotten
like how to tell a horse you think he’s handsome.
I recall where a body may hide
and what time the bees die.
But I’ve never lost the last word in lonesome.

Gordie at the grocery store
looks the same as he did before
the last couple wars;
maybe more cold sores.

I told you I missed the city
but I really missed you.
I said I missed the barbers and the boring children.
You made a noise of reminiscing
but you weren’t really listening.
‘Cause right now I don’t matter as much as Batman.

NEW MEXICO
—————
A slow river; an orange song.
The canyon’s been there all along.
A wrong that ceases to be wrong.
I don’t know where the dynamite came from.
I don’t know where the dynamite came from.

The same teeth; a new hello.
The tall calm and a memory of snow.
We were never good at being wolves.
I’m sick of every story that I know.
I’m sick of every story that I know.

We climbed up to a cliff and we stepped into the air
and we walked on it as if it were the ground.
I looked at you and felt a silent, violent rush of love
It’s not your fault that you looked down.
It’s not your fault that you looked down.

OH PAUL
————
Oh, Paul.
Paul, I cannot promise you that everything will be okay.
Paul, I cannot promise you that everything will be okay.
But just as two king penguins will adopt a bowling pin,
we’ll adapt to these new finches and we’ll invent better sins.