badwater

we were so drunk on illusion,
driving days through wasted lands
on wasted hours, telling fables
about how we’d clean all of this up
the day we came to power
to the people we infected with
our laughter ringing out across
state lines and party lines
and white lines in one story hotels
where we brought the extra stories
underneath sheets smelling of
other people’s sweat
equity in living lives and dying deaths and
almost making a sum, or a difference —

carrying our own chalk outlines,
living the vip life on the ssdi
incoming sorties, the war of all against
some knew, and some only pretended to know
measures were not taken, precautions
more like suspicions we had that
all the salt we used for margaritas
had to come from somewhere

no place dramatic

… two people fell in love …

along no place dramatic, two
young people fell in love —
to you or me, a mundane thing;
to them, the world had changed

out past the yards of neighbors, they;
excited – hand-in-hand —
and you or I might nod our heads
but still not understand

for though there is a me and you
we can speak freely of:
that doesn’t change, well, everything,
the world’s not rearranged

for how we view things is our world,
it’s all we really see —
to them, there’s only them, and our
part in their history

for it’s no place dramatic, but
there’s drama, all the same;
for love, such as it is, just is —
and will its prizes
claim

the stains remain

mattresses and cracks of light under doorways –

i was grateful to dora that she
gave me that old mattress out of
storage that they used before in
some of those houses they rented out

mattresses have a certain smell, you
know: you spend more time right up
next to them than anywhere else you
ever are, and this one smells funny

but hey, i washed it, and it’s pretty
comfortable and all, and like i was
saying, i’m really grateful to get
anything, given where i’ve been sleeping

the mattresses at the hospital are
‘special’, you know – they don’t want
anything that can be made into something
people can possibly hurt themselves with

have you ever laid down somewhere, and,
when you woke up, weren’t sure where you
were or even how old you were? that happened
to me every night for, like, six months

mattresses and cracks of light under doorways –
pretty much a constant throughout much of
life – only those mattresses smelled like
giving up and surrendering

this one here smells like hope – this is a
whole new life here, and i’m not looking back
on those old days anymore – so thanks to you and
dora and the whole gang for helping me

the smell will go away

but the stains remain

[…the space between infinities…]

the masters of the universe
the mistresses of pain
the fortunes of the other folks
their houses down the lane

a passion for veracity
a cavalcade of fun
a phone call in the dead of night
to be the only one

an afternoon of pleasure spent
an instant on the way
an overarching sadness that
engulfs the everyday

a word or two that hides its face
the comfort we don't give
the space between infinities
where we choose not-to-live

the music of the hidden heart
that keeps in how it feels
the whitewash on the sepulcher
the tomb of our ideals

the aftershock the ambulance
the cold and bloody dawn
the moment after of all of it
the tv goes
back on

fourteen times

the story and the metastory

always, it’s about her
  and about her knowing it’s about her

so much kindness in her voice, arrogance
  only specious in intentional
  vacating of previously occupied
  territory ceded to the opposition

transactional analysis, used
  to good effect upon mountains of
  regret and underneath umbrellas of
  translucent rainbows

young life scrounged
  fourteen times by hotel maids
  who once served hot dogs to
  shy cabinetmakers and window-washers

 

lies, luscious lies –
  with the occasional truth
  thrown in for flavor

intersection of parabolic interests where
  cold indifference serves as a
  reliable guide

plain plastic platitudes sent
  seventy-six ways into
  walls of wanton

sensuality

in waves of sand

i sing love love to no who hiking
strings and straws and loss of breath

to (and not much to) my liking
speak the word, the shibboleth

lost and found in waves of sand i
sing bath songs of who knows why

do two gandalfs make a gand-i?
can i get that ham on rye?

can i once, before our suppers
skate on fallacies like ice?

no no questions only uppers
worth the cost
at twice
the price