“Rotting frame” (take 1, for Nonny)

The line that gives way over time
to oxygen and new molecules, bumbling about

That softens delineation with a hand that jumps

That leaves smudgeframed, then unframed a thing you asked to live inside a rectangle
(“hey, won’t you please live inside this awesome rectangle?”)

Until that frame is zap-gone and that thing is just out there, unframed
fighting its own good fight against lots of seconds, occasional humidity, and a light breeze

that same light breeze

it’s always that same dang
light breeze.

Dreamful swimming, it’s the first

wriggle of morning thought.
Something to hold on to. To pull him out. Sharp. He bites–
Hold on! Hold on!
Tight jaw, reeling in,
line stretching, water shake. There’s a
bend and a swing.
with the whole scene
swirling past too fast then he’s
flopped over and
down onto the plankety
board bottom of the shiver boat.
Standing above himself now.
Wide awake.
Cold.

Subway times

Subway ride through a newspaper, flutter
express stop and cooked air at the sports section
with the concrete pressed straight cold against your feet
like there’s no shoe there at all. No shoe to separate
the ligatures that spell out
the times of the day, the subway times you’re zipping through. The
business, life, nation, op ed, crowded, closing metal metro doors
and gossip too. And there’s you, subracing through in
flip-flops made of newsprint and cold-pressed shoe.

He’s a truck

A red-cabbed rig
flying just above the spires of Golden Gate Bridge.
What the hell — right? A truck, aloft? Sort of lovely
though for the moment, looking around. There’s
a nice stereo and tapes and a bed tucked in
behind the driver’s seat.
The problem’s his trajectory.
He’d hoped he might line up
with the road below, touch down, head on over to
Sausalito for a movie. But there’s too much
sideways momentum and the truck flew west.
Flew past. Drifted.
Over. Out.

His hair

dirty gray, piled high like
handfuls of baby sheep
stacked and teetering.

the air
sharp with cotton candy
drift

that leaps toward
the understanding part.
you can’t hold it back.

a pillow
he’s reaching for it now
to prop up all
those teetering stacks,

to ease his way into
a dream of sharp fluff.

Forget not the mud

Forget not the mud caked juice box,
those traces of familiar sweetness locked in
hannukah gelt coin coverings dented
dirtward

next to
a plate or two of shaded eggplant parmigiana.

There was a party here. There were frightened
earthworms. Thunder. Gray light. And children being
irresponsible.

Great-grandfather’s beard

been thinking about
my great-grandfather’s beard.

I can’t compete with that.

Puffy-white sketched
lawyer-still.
Coffee, ironed tablecloths, small spoons.
Not one drop swings
loose.

Cigars for all. Corona de Luxe
smoke drifts
over old Europe squares.
Sons in perfect pose. Even the camera man
had his act together.

driving

driving home late telling my eyes
it’s just about time to open
wide, let in a few headlights
reveal the back
of my head.
clang noises clanging back there
still clanging away let
the headlights
shine on in.

A matter of asking

it’s a matter of asking
that tape recorder, are you gonna
spool this? Do you want to take a sec?
hold a sec? paste that moment
across some plastic?
Cuz I don’t wanna let you go, sec.
I want to throw you in a drawer next to
some passports and
a picture someone
drew of me
when I was 17.

His pals

His pals don’t need much, ya see.
They wear snappy hats. Elbow each other
at the sight of something, hey!
Hey look at that snappy hat!
All they want is a patch of dirt
to trash. To take off their hats.
To scrum.
They’ve got cleats, ya see. Underneath
them fancy pants. And
cleats
beget
traction.

sugar cube heartbreak

I had two foods from my childhood tonight and
the sugar cube was a complete let down.
All promise, stacked high
in that
crystalline stack and then
collapsed like a wet meringue.
Blech. A mouth full of undifferentiated
former-cube fragments, trying to
escape each other and
nowhere good
to go.

Dog parts

Trying to find a place that’s not shaded.
Damn trees everywhere.
I just need one spot where
my skin can make contact with the sun.
Light is part of the sun, did you know that?
It’s not an offshoot or something sparkly
the sun shakes loose like
water from a dog.
It’s more like actual dog parts.
Our share of cosmic dog parts, sprinkled down.
This planet is covered in dog.
That’s the truth.
Some of that dog gets tangled in the trees.
Some gets tripped up by clouds.
And what I need right now is
a clear spot to lie down.
Soak in
the living dog.

Not a snake

You say I’m a snake but snakes
move with purpose, right?
They lead with their head. Reach
with their mouth. Draw a
dry belly line with an impulse dotting
each turn.
Have you ever seen a snake tumble? Or trip? Or twist?
Not a snake.

Me and my dog

i dreamt i adopted
a dog without a body or a head
and we went fishing.
afterwards, while I was
untangling the line,
a nice lady came up to see how
my dog and i were doing.
“his tail isn’t wagging much,” she said.
“i don’t think he’s ok.”