In the crib on the floor fists
on the rungs of ladders hung
by the big people truncating
communication to bare parcels
of lubricated fabrication willing
to settle for the odd hustle
and dramatize falling to following.
Childhood picking up facts
trouble steady and king-sized
sniffing out interests unauthorized
dreams frantic with exultation
creeping out of the night and into
hours when everything was supposed to
start in and result in prose.
Start in a fog and burn it off
eyes like a shark’s and nose too
sharp to be fooled by ballyhoo
oatmeal in the morning and turkey
sandwich in a baggie looking at
periods turning into question marks
memorized and spit up into notebooks.
He went to school where damn
she pulled ideas off the pages
pure white and black strategizing
taking her shoes off on the grass
tossing around names like her hair
unbelievable like trust
looking like nothing fair.
She looked sweet at him with that
curved prismatic look of dire
curiosity wedded with fire
that burning book of poetry
half done unrecalled and cool
and his plug was pulled out
of the autonomous male wall.
Filled out forms and got a job
no picnic for such a misfit
comments spilling out logarithmically
he was as respected as he was fully
misunderstood by the gremlins who
slipped him a slippery algorithm
and shipped him off to overdue.
Sit at this desk you have ten minutes
to sort the data and shape the shapes
from ordered clay into braided ropes
do a good job and you maybe might be
transferred to the ward for chronic
deniers of the benefits of bioluminescent
black coffee and gin and panic.
A calendar of pinups on the side
where nobody looks if they know better
a post card from the cape on the refrigerator
and a magnet saying ‘semper fi’
no tolerance for love and tears
no matter how you debate or try
there is no evidence of a cure here.
It is not supposed to happen but
somewhere along the way he happily
fell into the definition of apogee
becoming peradventure a slave
or rather a servant of the baby grand and
the lymph node of the tidal wave
drew a line into his hand.
She kept whispering old words from
songs from before he was even born
between now and better times torn
from lips painted with pink swerve of
the way the sun goes down in May.
Was she what he deserved after
having been led so astray?
Slap on the hand red now
for a while and then naturally
the cheek takes on the brown of tapestry
a grab significant along the leg
brings out in his stars the colors
found in the Mars and Venus lagoon
swum to bell-bottomed wonders.
Injection into the left temple
there she is meeting his gaze
traced upon her face the rays
of every morning he’d ever greeted
as he felt the medicine spreading
she made a vowel with her mouth
and he heard ‘now’.