Great game, the way Scott kept the ball on the
ground and never gave up a turnover
even with all odds against him
and the happenstance of his sainted ass
so obviously Player of the Year.
Backing in, the truck beeps.
These arenas share their prestige,
acquire stolen goods the way felons do,
aspiring to a convenient relapse
when all that could be said has been
and the vast, impossible ship went down.
All you stole went missing.
Waiting for a bus or a ride
to stop at your house is like posing
for a still life, all eyes upon you
and you frozen in space,
typing on that cute little thing
you have. Pick your instrument:
violin, viola, cello, or maybe banjo,
whatever makes the strings vibrate
to the peculiar tremolo you call your own.
I'm taking a collection at the end of the show
because I can't believe it's really over,
the wheelchairs and hospital beds,
swings and songs and costumes,
the blonde in a bathtub, the mannequins
flaring like phosphorous in a cavern,
the bed spotlit and the maids in wigs.
This way to fun and excitement!
Hat held aloft to signal respect,
he turned at the door and was never
seen again, but that gesture,
romantic and a bit dated,
lived on as if to show us
we never take the proper measure of things,
simply wander through fields from sassafras
to sagebrush, knowing soon
the levelers are coming and then concrete.
Would you help me reach the highest shelf
or would you rather stir the sauce?
Be assured, we'll all get our hands dirty
before mother returns, bringing
some ancient relation
who will insist the sun
is mild, the children delightful.
Little suspecting how little you recall,
I spoke of moments
I thought we shared, only to find
you reading the program or off
on a quest for a spool of thread.
Whenever I remind my cousin
it was her dagger that did it,
opened the vein and made the blood
flow down the chair arm and drip,
she always feigns surprise
in the same manner, hands on cheeks,
eyes wide, mouth agape.
It becomes her, really.
Isinglass is both a mineral and a gelatin.
It can be used to see through,
and anything that helps with vision
is good. Even eyepatches
serve their purpose.
I like the way the streets grow flowers,
seeming to signal a time of less reproach,
allowing me to sum up my vagrancy
as though a true calling
and not some worrisome métier.
Across the Housatonic the houses
send back the light, and I might agree
to any terms given, if only
I could live on this bridge
and face either side at will.Then I might invite reporters
to my table, or perhaps
that wandering troupe I joined for a time,
back when the terms of employment
were less a concern, the freedom
to leave all that mattered.
In the time before her second operation
we occupied ourselves
with enormous holes in the yard
and often felt a tremor
as of underground pools receding.
How grand to stay in place
like an Irish wolfhound wading
in a stream, too timid to go further.
Jewels just get in the way,
judging by all the people bejeweled
and yet still thirsty for a straight path
to the cloakroom.
When Le Rossignol begins
he'll suddenly remember the phone number
he'd forgotten and see, as if via genie,
the exact person he imagined
picking up, taking the call,
and rearranging their lives forever.
Seeing Jen walk away, I nearly
called to her, but somehow
such intrusions set my hair on end,
always making me wish I was not me
when I'm finally spotted. You know
how most people extend a courtesy
only when they know you can't accept it,
or when agreement involves
a vast migration or patient undercover work?
So large and empty these lots,
perfect for children eating pretzels
to cross from sun to shadow, though later
prodded by police and psychiatrists,
while on the counter the right ingredient—
was it condensed or evaporated milk—
awaits. Your teachers will be so proud.
©Donald Brown 2010/2013
©Donald Brown 2010/2013