Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Laura H.

When she called, I told her how it finally ended.
The only one to know the whole story, to have lived in it
For a while. I imagined her smoking out on her porch,
The twins sleeping inside, in a pseudo hippie skirt
Same hanger boots as me, last of the big-trouble girls,
Up on her nighttime hillside in Charlottesville.
She is a good friend, wife to a good friend,
Brave foot soldiers in the war of the disease.
They are two of those who have come out the other side
Of long darkness wild and new and innocent.

I told her my dream of the war, how everyone we know
Will die, and that's all. But the disease is only the beginning,
There's money and sex in it and of course the children
And the only thing we can do is wake up each morning breathing
And fight as hard as we can in an endless struggle to live well.

I told her how when you lose someone you care about that much,
You have to focus all your rage against their memory in an attempt
To kill whatever you carry of them in your heart. She understood me.
I told her everything. I paced around the backyard in my own boots,
the streetlight in the alley shining against the cedar.

At the end she said, "I'm sorry Clay, that sounds terrible."
Which surprised me, because I never thought about
Any of it as being terrible, just events lined together
In the fabric of a story, but I heard for the first time,
Pure sympathy in that and I thought of her eyes and god bless
Or damn her one for somehow she remembers the exact date
Of every event, every conversation, the names
Of all the players, my therapist, the guys I work with.
She knows the Grove job and the shop in the basement
Where I break down every day. She holds, perfectly,
The whole of the story, and she said that to me.
Which is all anyone ever wants, really, which is
For someone to hear them, to understand, to say
"I'm sorry that happened. Everything is going to be okay."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Poem From a Friend

If you cannot find
a worthy companion,
better to travel alone,
like a king who has renounced
his kingdom or an elephant
that has left the elephant grove.


Travel alone
rather than in the company of fools.
A solitary life is better
than a life kept in bad company.

Buddha, translated by Karma Yonten Senge

thanks to Heather

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Second Stage of Cruelty

the After the Thought

This is a not need to be a car accident to hospitable
bed, your lie like Quakers to reach the gem case,
a-slip tire’s tears unseen weeps the wet road, grease
relax the pagoda balanced tree elevate the hooves

just this side of the disaster. After works come crumple
besides me, the despised trumpets hotly turmoil oh
requiem of come vial, distastes to tea, the bowl of crackers
cantankerous mightily of Protestant admission refused.

One long hallway of smelling salts, the mop bucket
order plates of fries, quite unsettled, lonely outlet
spark plugs the grass, cut halo of weed eater wire,
back device, not spine but strategy of unswerving,

polished stone, wood, barnacle in the back beneath skin
feel the argument slowing, hunch down breathe
vice-grip, verily, your hysterical diaphragm, swollen
tract, familiar recess, return to stoop, fall to laying down

hospital gown to prove the sweet play, I stood before
you gentlemen, a graze, edge of pasture and moon,
unaccountable dispatch of wire, the wet log earth
untoothes the roots, the tree flats a stand of road.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Face Without Features

I am painting a picture of a woman’s face
but she has no features except some sienna
in white around the mouth and eyes, moulds
of brush stroke and evaporation.

There is the face of a sainted devil, teeth and
goat beard crowning out into flame. He is spray
paint and stencil. Hard lines and plastic sheen.
He looks so leering I did him twice and then
a third time in the upper left corner just
the teeth, the clicking gates come out.

A man and woman, correction, a zombie man
and woman, 21st century American gothic wed
to the upper torso of the canvas above a line
of lurching zombies, 21st century cherubim
learned of the end of consumption, our graves,
the sole feast of our returning, cutting off
arrival with chewing, chewing out of heaven.

As I paint in the car port, my daughter comes out
and asks to help. Cover the zombie head
with oozy yellow water color, I tell her. Go
ahead. See, the plastic spray paint repels
the water. Beads of goo, en-yellowing.

She says it’s kind of scary and points
to the faceless woman. Way up at the top
is the same woman with eyes and a halo
looking down on the zombie parade. I think
it’s god, or god’s approval over all this
decline. Don’t worry, I tell her. That
woman is my mother, not yours.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Passage clouté

I’ve got a book in my bread named squalor.
You can read it through the crosswalks or perched
on a tree stump like the nexus of a compass
drawn on the corner of a map.

Read the passage where the paper wept corrugated
lead into sweeps of ink, read your name in a tumble
on the sweet current of carpet across the word
for knees the trees whisper as they draw their legs in.

Learn the name for limpid from that crass and vibrating
crosswalk, her stumbling image strobed the standing
man to falling down over his own urgent foot.

The heads of these buildings and telephone poles
peek in to my backpack. In the 7-11, the loaves
of streetwise bread convert to beards like Tolstoy.
That is, just another long concession to giving in.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Submit

High On Fire has taken something Motorhead started over thirty years ago and perfected it.