On Sundays we composed our own music.
Tapped a nickel against a mailbox,
pounded the wall with the heel of our
palms, and sought a demo-type sound.
Strange word for so simple
a thing as a flat felt hat.
Don’t forget your bear-ay,
my mother’d say, and I thought it
You nicked me
now give me back,
Summering in Pennsylvania
and wintering in Florida
would give me two addresses.
Making a pilgrimage to Albuquerque
to give thanks I cheated heart surgery
of a bad outcome only last month,
On a road leading to where I used to live,
thoughts go back to friends who would visit,
most now are in places quite exquisite,
I remember there was a big bridge
with a toll, and for once I had change.
The river was a shadow of itself below
A cartoon rider on a horse so real
it shits and stalls and rears against the rider
it’s been saddled with in this narrative.
I came out of that country
with one suitcase
crammed with newspaper,
seeds in every fold.
There is one pointtwo point and pointless
(I am referring to some of
the excesses of Canaletto).
Sorrow, keep calm.
Evening—you asked for it—has come.
Darkening streets (depending who you are)
bring peace, or fear.
The dawn of the age is an old tune just barely in d minor.
You can go there, listen, hear what Arnold Schoenberg heard
Boats are sad folks
as they rock
and they rock tied
Murmurous muezzin, hedge-
hiding, no reason to
silence for never I’d harm
you, not Rueheart, not
Slovenly blondes, mussed
in feathering snow,
in ice-burst of spring,
How could I calm the ache
that drifted through my sleep?
A plain ceramic jar,
rounded at the lip,
Like a monk hunched over gilded letters,
my brother studied flies hatching on the Pootatuck,
picked a red and gold Parmachene Belle
from a metal box, tied it to a tippet
“Well I drank it,” says the scientist
When they ask him what he has
Done with the contaminated
Water. “There is less in the lab’s
A test. In a morning
Blue suit the Census taker
Drops his credentials
And picks them up
The museum was closed, so no one saw
the statue of Adam
tumble to the floor, and break. No one saw
the plywood pedestal
We’re always other people, whoever they are.
I’m grateful to poets’ biographies—a genre nearly as
Obsolete as its subjects—for helping me make myself up,
The closest we can come
to the unseen
plumes of scent
spun by a spindle
It chafes you, I know, this
Remorseless penchant for drama
I have. Life is too short
was alive: small creatures aglow and crawling
one after the other down each tall green blade—
thousands of them bending at all angles—
You hunker underneath a shaggy fir,
shifting when sunlight shifts its bit of shade,
and eat a single almond every hour.
The bank of cloud that night was like a smoother
lamb’s wool, a fistful you’d pull to stuff
a pointe shoe for ballet class. Or maybe the cloud
bank was more like the tiny cotton coverlet
A white jar dissolves into the whitish background
that gently presses its narrow form upright. Morandi’s
ceramics must be manna for the eye, I think. Here,
their proximity makes several forms seem melded—
After a while the bird starts to twist
to turn this way and that
as if to show me every side
Now that my mother, as others say, has passed,
I like to visit churches that display
the miraculously intact bodies of saints
in glass cases. Sometimes the hem of their carved garment