FIVE LINES ABOUT THE SEA
an infinite number of degrees;
between one of these millions,
that turn into seaweed --
cast overboard will make a charm
towards another's home or our own.
NYC to West Texas -- It's all the same team!
we are a tremendous
and foggy people;
your black jacket,
my black eye,
like ferns: older
and into the asphalt
and mud went the things
we would've lost anyway:
a painting that claimed
to solve the mystery,
my keys, and we were
what makes an evening:
the smudge of a streetlight
in my eyes, the hypnosis
of "please listen to me"
everyone needs a lift;
sometimes a great lift
finds us free and easy
and it's a great lift to know
you're around; sometimes
we find we are miles away,
and a lift is all we have
big America lifted me up,
and you are big America too;
sometimes a lift is all
we can do; sometimes a lift
is all we needed; sometimes
lifting is magically achieved
miles and months away
IF THE COLONEL EVER CALLS
If late at night there is a ringing
and it's the Colonel, don't be frightened.
Remember that the funny twists
of the heron's neck are posture too.
Perhaps the hair on your cheeks
is bristling? But the Colonel was clean-shaven.
The Colonel's prayers were more communication
than supplication; the old phone
is more of an appliance than a relic.
If the Colonel asks for a report, tell him
everyone's fine; the rocky island in the bay
is white with birds.
From the angle of the sun
through my bedroom window
this morning, I can tell:
it is 1986. The community college
parking lot is bursting with Firebirds;
stereo lights are constellations.
At night, the clouds thicken
into an empty map. They reflect
the light from down town. This morning
is one minute between rains,
and the drops on the leaves
are blinking messages from the future,
and while decoding them, I've forgotten
what year it is.
Now that I've scraped the house,
it is time to decide what color to paint,
but I feel like the work is done.
The house, streaked and ugly, is
what happens now; the house
painted grey-blue with white trim
is in the shady fortune-cookie future.
When I was learning to drive,
my first words were "floor it."
But now, in the future, I know
so many more. My foot eases
the pedal down; I repeat
the grocery list in my head.
Away in New York, we sip
while we wait for hot Friday
night to fall. Follow Kevin's
curses from the back room:
we will lock a cherry beneath
the knuckle of a lemon
and twist up a straw for you.
a spiked iron plate worn
down with wear
a device for grasping and lifting
heavy loads, usually consisting
of a pair of hooks; opposable thumbs
and fingers menacing as claws
boots or shoes aid in climbing
or to prevent sores all over our feet
suspended from a chain or cable,
upward pull of our funny little jobs and needs:
tension for the hooks to grip the load
the act of shunting; shift
bridged across a circuit or a portion of a circuit,
establishing a current path auxiliary to the main circuit,
as a resistor placed across the terminals of (I am)
or increasing the range of the device
(a railroad switch.)
blood or other bodily fluid is diverted
from its normal path; my mind is buzzing
with my own medical misunderstanding
a hardware device is attached without which particulars
will not run: used to prevent us from staring for hours
at a single word; three words annihilate an entire morning