Poem Notes


Like a store for the too-well-off
and unashamed, it is uncontained
as the fists of tulips breaking through
the last crust of snow. Avast they say
in books from the bookshelf about pirates,
and there are windows yet to break,
phone lines left to splice into and travel
on down to the groves of Florida
that churn in the wind and spill fruit
for my concentrated drink.

Everything is left, the spars still up
on the barn, the roots of last year’s
garden plants. The pornography
we found in the trash down at the college
or on the dashboards of the backhoes
left unoccupied for winter.
These are small rewards.

Brother is in the bed upstairs
where he will sweat the last
of his sickness out and return to the family       
room and the greater world
(this slim rich world
as old as the spring
we found rusted in the yard
and as deep as the well my father dug
before giving up the task).

Brother is the suspenseful end
of Magnum or another television show
interrupted for a storm advisory
or news of the President’s
attempted assassination
or sometimes for a convict on the loose.

Most of our land is still in ruin
from the line of storms
that took out the K-Mart
and that we thought might
split the bridge in half and strand
us on this island with no mail
service or expiring magazine
subscription notices.

Though light sttill filters down through clouds
and reflects off the patches of snow,
burning our skin in spite
of wide-brimmed hats
worn as talismans against
the future: cancer, repose,
some minor pleasure, some
isolation; salvation I suppose
if you believe in it and can be
that good for that long.

I would like some kind of notification
that I am not alone.


Let's start with an older poem, sure, but one I am fond of. It feels a little wobbly in this space, meaning electric space, as if its attempts at stately lines do not square with the swarming associative logic of the web. I had a dream where my father said he liked this poem, and he rarely has anything to say about my poetry.

By father I mean could not be further away.

By father I mean the poet's father. This is the poet speaking right here, on the right here. Right?

I like putting pornography, if not pornography, in my poems. That feels right for this world of click lust and the fast facts of quick download and release.

I do, however, love the last stanza unreservedly. My friend Neil does not. Screw you Neil.