Monday, March 23, 2015

White plastic  

Pianos and dancing and hands all over me
I started the morning, before the meeting
in the AME church, floating on inclusion 
and soul, and as I went out the front door
a BIG man with lively old eyes, yellow and open -  
like two harvest moons 
looked into my eyes, gave me a BIG handshake;
he was dressed like a wild and friendly unmade bed
with black & gold suspenders and a brick-red bow tie;
he had complete and unhesitant warmth. 

I drove away filled up, the car floating now too, 
towards coffee at Hole Foods, the other side of town. 

When I arrived, I saw a man at a table in the window 
the man I was to talk to,
he was arranging for me to do a poetry reading
(who me? I asked God, in church, are the rest of the poets busy?)
but now I was doing a reading on him;  
I noticed he was very carefully dressed, very 
carefully cub scout-buttoned up, 
the millennial matinee idol of Wes Anderson movies - 
with a mathematically trimmed beard. 

When I got out of my car 
his eyes went up and down on me 
like an elevator, not wanting 
to get off at any floor, 
then he went back to the white plastic on the table. 
I almost got back in the car. But no, though
I left it running. 

I got inside Hole Foods and heard the NPR jingle.  
My ears must have jumped like crickets
and the man must've viscerally divined it,
because he said (still looking down, typing), 
“You don’t care for NPR?”
“Well, let me put it this way. 
Do you know any black people? Ask them 
if they listen to it, and when you get your answer, 
you’ll know mine." 

He looked back up at me, but only about to the mezzanine. 

“Not that I’m black," I said, "but I’m trying." 

Friday, March 20, 2015


Mother offered me food, in her way. 
"Pizza, tacos, stake ... dessert?" 
No, I think I’ll pass on that, I say; 
in hand: my car keys to the airport to 
the next galaxy over. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The after party 

Worried in the world below
looking for something good from somewhere 
I look up and, up there, the sky - 

- is beautiful and cold and white 
a translucent white sky lighted brightly
like a marble top bar in a  posh cafe 
lighted bright white, and then, 

there’s a great glassy clink way up there 

and a quick swooping shadow, there
and then gone; not weather, not rain,
not snow, though it's all white as snow 
up there, 

then the hovering shadow above the white again, 
and the clink. 

(Anyway, whatever all this is, I’m not worrying anymore!)

It is so intensely brightly lit-up white
up there, I look down, for a break.
The wind, cold too, picks up and blows me
and now this is all out of the blue funny, 
and when I look up again,

the sky reminds me of a white marble top bar
in Wiesbaden, Germany; 
I was blizzarded and trapped in a cafe, the airport 
and all its jets blizzarded and trapping the town, 
and when the sun went down the marble top bar
lit up, from underneath. 

Brilliant, elegant, bright white. 
Like the sky over me, now. 

That night, with the bartop glowing
and me clinking down my 
who knows how manyth? drink, 
I brought out the money to pay and leave
and the bartender said, Relax!
There’s nowhere to go, look out there 
at all that white stuff! Then she said, 
Everyone, drinks on the house!

So, now. Who is up there, above? 
God, the bartender, or something else
relaxing with a slow glass of wine, 
this afternoon? 
Nowhere to go. 

Well, I will too, then. Down here
I'll switch over to coffee in a white cup.

But, either way; coffee, wine
up there, down here 
there's nowhere to go
and everywhere.
Relax, said
God the Bartender.


Thursday, March 5, 2015


In the middle of the night 
the moon and stars milk and creaming 
the Meandering Meadows buildings, 
down one hall, in Room 77, there’s a pair in bed 
a man and a woman; she starts to turn over 
then he starts 
and as they turn over 
in a simultaneous sleepy rhythm 
they aren’t ( yet ) awake for, 
a sound issues out of their bodies: 
the universal sound heard incontinence 
across many seas

b - r - r - r - r - a - a - a - a - a - a - a - a - a - p ! 

There’s a silence in the room, in the hall,
all over the building; silence except 
for the dripping of moonlight and starlight,
but there’s also the sound of two people 
trying not to laugh 
in the clean serene sheen of sleeping and dreaming; 
that sound is a wheezing, a snorting, then 
an out-loud, late-night hooting. 

“What are we, the Tijuana Ass?” 

“Well, I do love the way you toot, my darling,” says the woman. 

Eventually, they'll fold into each other, spooning, 
lining up the wind instruments in one direction;
then they'll follow the starlight on their pillows 
back toward sleep. But first, tonight - they might 
have some more laughing to do. 

“I had told you that we could laugh at anything,” he said to her. 

He had, and they did; all night long. 
And for the rest of their lives.