Ann Arbor Review
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
TO A CATBIRD
Fat raindrops pour from the gutters of your thoughts
like propane changing from gas to liquid
or the way a large black moth
completed metamorphosis behind the white shed
by pumping wet shadows into her cinnamon-spotted wings.
A gunshot or backfire
muffled by a rainforest
of dripping maples on this chilly Saturday twilight.
Motorcycle's purplegreen abdomen,
the color seen on houseflies,
nibbles the edge of our neighborhood.
Fat raindrops pour from the gutters of your thoughts;
at the edge of the neighborhood an empty freight train
digs its rhinoceros horn
below your Platonic thoughts
that have secretly been replacing coal for many generations now.
(After Robert Johnson)
Red house over yonder casts its shadow across soybeans.
Trouble flickers behind farmhouse windows.
Through yellow oaks the wind, like a mockingbird,
screeches in and out of love before spat
from an ATM machine.
The woman who practices voodoo
stopped by for lunch.
Had tuna on every variety
of rye you can imagine.
Alas, dust feathered the uppermost ridges
of her Gucci sunglasses.
Movement, it seems, is required
from even the most sedate creatures,
such as shadows.
So, how come
you follow me
everywhere I go?
Black smoke rings.
A flatbed Ford splashes rainwater
against our stained, khaki nightmares.
(As if most of us could spell the word khaki
if our lives were bound and gagged
between the shivering hips of 50-caliber gun sights.)
The jaguar tilts her jade eyes,
adjusts her spotted hips,
licks her split saffron nose,
then curls her golden head
into a long catnap.
Some poetry manuscripts
are monster hurricanes
gripping the entire state
eerie eyes focused on West Palm,
Stuart and Ft. Pierce.
It just so happens
in high school
I dated a girl
from the Port St. Lucie corridor.
An Italian girl,
tiny yellow finches
asleep in her quart-blue eyes.
But I digress.
These manuscripts, like giant elephants
spraying one another,
eventually become mighty intimate
with the ashes of smaller manuscripts.
These giant ones
simply grow heavier and heavier
down in the basement,
night after night.
Sometimes they remind me of sperm whales
trolling 12 miles deep,
always on the look-out
for their favorite meal:
the giant squid,
that elusive, mythical creature
whose 50-foot tentacles
our shores of dementia.
(After Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen & Cesar Vallejo)
It wouldn't be fair
to quantify it.
it curls up like Highway 61
just above your left shoulder.
A Peruvian poet
offers his opinion,
as good as any,
threading white smoke
through the dirty clouds.
I sense uneasiness.
I'm so forgetful.
I'd easily forget
the past twelve years
of ridiculous politics,
raking our retirement dollars
like Autumn leaves
into this or that
private interest coup.
There's anger in every armchair
flinching at the national news.
Local news only aggravates
Local news is saddened
by perpetual misbehavior
of the local populace.
Your telephone rings
off the wall,
but you can't smell time
when your dogs are off on a good prowl
pawing for scraps of this or that illusion.
In any event, wandering one wounded evening, like Hansel
through the terrified woods
of your ancestors,
is it really worth it?
And will you ever find yourself, hopeless, and irreconcilably humbled,
stumbling through your sacred deity's curly beard of coals,
across his pale algae tongue of impossible truth,
depending upon your impetuous mood,
which is what I've been saying
Let complex angels
with tasseled chestnut tresses
warming their naked breasts
carry the final torches.
Let yellow lightning
undressing the shoulders of black grasshoppers
guide you through the caves
of your indifference.
What the hell
do I know, anyway?
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