This is the one in which I miraculously pulled out of a freefall dive over Fergus Falls, Minnesota
This is the one like ten years ago I told you about where my wings iced up in the fall as it gets colder
I was concealing his kid under his crewneck stateschool sweatshirt while he grinned off in the distance behind prescription shades that were blocking out the clouded out sun while he as hoping against a daughter and no one saw my banners, my bruises, my flares, my flags.
I could have been an artist if I had the tools I could have been a preacher if I suffered fools When we move into the city I know I will have to pay my dues and my respects to his sister and his mother too.
THE YEAR OF THE GET YOU ALONE
In the year of the Get You Alone I got you alone I showed you that I’d been drinking in a handful of words The lecture landed all kinds of places- places with vistas of buckthorn and tamarack. Can you measure remorse in invasive species? Will they hang their heads and swear not to grow back?
All my love what have we become? Crippled by hope and pursuit thereof
In the year of the Get You Alone I got you on a boat I did all my drinking at home, before we left the shore Don’t look down now, but this water has a sinister motive Carving out my confidence and flooding my crumbling home
All my love what have we become? Crippled by joy and pursuit thereof
You’ve been sleeping with director’s daughters and taking drugs I’ve never tried I drink at home most days and sometimes sleep with my wife I took a job in a kitchen- I belong in this city’s withered arms cradled in her unset broken ulna, spangled by dishwater tears like silver bracelet charms
but I don’t love her like I love you I’ve been saving my money, gonna buy us a new car This city taught me a thing or two, like how to take a ride from anyone going far, far, far away from
I AM NOT WAITING ANYMORE
I am red in tooth and claw God’s favorite child, bloodied from the brawl This bitterness was killing me all along I am not waiting anymore I am not waiting anymore
Blowing through time like nickel slots in a windowless room, on a credit card: flash it like a semaphore- a vague, drafty metaphor- I am not waiting anymore
I’ve been a keen eyed observer of the movements of concentric parts of bodies of bones and breasts and unmapped chambers of hearts
Sand in hand has turned to glass a Jeroboam filled with a life that’s passed Toss it off the balcony and listen for the crash I am not waiting anymore
I spent eight long years working on my screenplay it’s a teen movie with young actresses that plays to the middle aged
I have read between the lines I have been wrong every time It burned up on the alter, but I am fine I am not waiting anymore I am not waiting anymore I am not waiting anymore
Richard Oakes gave me a call from San Francisco late in the fall; he said, “It’s going down. We’re going to take the island as a monument to the smallpox blankets and the bureaucrats;
you catch a bus tomorrow. And if we die here, at least we’ll make the choice and if we’re fine here, we can tell the boys that a line in the sand don’t matter if you don’t care; that a bird in the hand is worthless if you’re too scared.”
So I clear my name and clear my throat find my voice and here we go again I need a place to stand. I hear sirens down the street from the third shift bar I’m going to park my car in the painted-off place where the bikers park. We’ll see what happens then
And if I die here, well at least I made a choice. And if I’m fine here, you should tell the boys That a line in the sand don’t matter if you don’t care That a bird in the hand is worthless if you’re too scared.
My friends keep calling; I don’t pick up. I’ve got nothing to say that I won’t just make up anyway I’ve got all this shit to do. I turned you off on the radio; I turn around- it’s in a TV show.
I turned that off too. I remember when I knew you.
I’ve been incommunicado for going on three days
and the silence stings staccato around my ears and face
and my hands are cold and shaking
from my latest fall from grace
and I’m ashamed to have to tell you
what I’ve managed to misplace
I could have been in California for coming up now on nine years
but I wouldn’t be here pining for you- I never would have made my way out here
where Dahmer sings the blues with Liberace as they sip on fifty cent beers
and watch themselves on a tube Hitachi holding hands in a bathroom mirror
when you coming home when you coming home when you coming home?
leftside sidewalk hospital circle drive walked this way twice a day, back the other way two times they got you wrapped up in guilt like an aftermarket cancer quilt and I don’t know the names of the people on the patches and they ground you down to calcium and road salt and pressed you into piles of pills they cut with ashes
I am still your man some days we do the best we can.
Noah was a drunk; David chased women; Paul was always seen with younger men Stephen joined the Army and jumped on a grenade; I took a punch for Peter, never heard from him again So take both halves of 10 pills to appeal to better angels- quartered wings beating double time
I am singularly lonely living here without you; redfaced redlips redteeth, handle of wine we’re doing fine
I am still your man some days we do the best we can
CHICO THE AMERICAN
We were martyred in the homes of our friends on a hard drinking decade of weekends convinced that we were firing our lasers to the surface of the moon
retreat to all the noise, out to the places that we would go pound that pus-y, bloody cyst off with a weather-treated two by four
praying for the singularity coming for to carry you home one-time hero forgotten how to carry your given load
hey, hey, Doris Day send my love for me now please, please, Glen Shirley, say hello for me now to Chico the American. Chico the American taught me to drink clear which ushered in the Age of Gin and lead to the Gimlet Years. When he lobbed that crystal tumbler through the glass cooler door past the blues band in the strip mall with a barrel-chested roar it was just as funny- but less blood- that the ‘62 Dakota war praying for the singularity coming for to carry you home hey, hey, Jon Benet send my love for me now please, please, Dom de Louise say hello for me now to Chico the American.
We did a lot in the name of preservation holding hearts in hooks for hands after the accident metal on skin, cool to the touch in the absence phantom sinews flashing undetected dots and dashes
I wasn’t sure if you were ready to be bold
Let’s regrow your hair and I will cut mine closecropped to the skull we’ll keep the ones turned grey by the blindwhite blast of a bitter cold of a bad winter of a long year that really took hold had to cut away the parts the claws would not release, then we kept going
you and me are not evergreen you and me were not built to be
Captain Video and his Video Rangers were drowned on kineoscopes at the bottom of the river I hear a trumpet blowing Taps from the Veterans Affairs- I can’t tell from here if it’s real, or piped on speakers
I know know that I knew then this long run was bound to end
on the wrong side of town shouting down the new year under dying stars whose light is just getting here all the bars are closed but I got some rosemary-infused Everclear I’m looking for a place that’s quiet, empty, warm and isn’t here
I just want to speak the truth; I have not been able to.
Elizabeth said last night the lake roared like the ocean; I was landlocked under the orange-white solstice moon. Imagine: imagining a place meant to conjure up another. Three degrees of hometown disconnect in my unborn daughter’s room.
Take the 18 bus past the place my grandfather grew up before he got out, and met a pretty Swede from the Bible college choir and left his sister wearing saddle shoes in the care of the county, with her forehead covered in electrode glue, as to not disturb the wires.
Mistakes were made. Grind it out: I can see the edges- the parts where the ends start hemorrhaging time and leaking love. Playing wounded so well, we fell like warm breath cooled. A class ring on a chain the plastic jewel fell out of.
Got your ghost ghouling all over Milwaukee haunting the homes and factories of captains of dead industries. I’ve been no place with the capacity to hoard shame like us, in the warehouses possessed and left unsold by the city.
I was 20 in September in the Windexed dirty book store. the cathode-green skinscreens interrupted by the news. Those fuckers stole my story--my manifest narrative: my connection and my star-spangled nudes.
Jimmer drew a minty Kool and a nine volt battery and a pubic pile of grey steel wool from his jacket on the balcony He said we fucked up but won’t admit it, due to endless imperial vanity.