Lament for the Shapelisten to this poem
Your house abandoned you for another family.
Your family replaced you
with a decorative statue of a dog-butler
that they keep in their foyer.
Your own dog smiles at the mailman,
he wakes you at night
holding your head between his jaws (his teeth appear
from out the dreams of saws). One day
soon he will be brave enough to close them.
Michael, there is so much to be comfortable with
now that everything has become a threat.
We whimper through our pleasures: the flowers color,
the ocean falls into itself and rests, you sit on a park bench
reading Proust. Be careful out there, Michael,
because our bodies, our bodies were
built to betray. They are not ours,
they subject us to their tortures, their needs (I wear
each indignity like a heart
or cigarettes on my sleeve) without the slightest hesitation.
The body is a blank and a blank
is something to be filled. Mask my face
beneath your fingers
so I can’t see what I’m doing (what is being done).
Cover it until, let me guess what’s underneath.
It’s time for us to have some fun; to burn down everyone
who left us alone. The list has the one name, me,
and so I am showering myself in gasoline. You should
probably do the same. And we can build new selves
out of latex or wood or paper mache (let’s fill ourselves
with children’s candy; let’s give
everyone bats and let them have-at).
We can talk to the masks we wear. We can
expect them to listen. Michael, everyone
is so serious. It’s such a relief
because I have only ridiculous things to say.
Lament for the Flylisten to this poem
Curse the inevitable coincidence; curse
the moment and Andre, curse those loyal to it! Curse it all.
Like when you find cheerwine
in a gas station right after you remember that you haven’t
had it since your son died or like
when you find an old letter in the wheel well of your trunk
when all you needed was a tire. Andre,
the past is useless, I need to know
what I’m doing now because I’m afraid to deal
with the things I’ve done (I am missing
the tip-top-bit of my right thumb; I am a garden of bruises). No.
I meant I’m afraid to recall all
that I couldn’t bring myself to do. Do you
have any clue what I mean? Let’s agree
on our memory, let’s share it, of how you lost your hand, your head.
They were crushed. That was all.
But this means we’re forced to share our pasts with others
or to place them in little boxes
(under the ground) or to wear them
around our necks, between our skin
and our sweaters (before all those outer layers).
Andre, do your fingers miss your hand;
does your head miss your neck? There are so many people
that miss what they didn’t appreciate. Andre, we share what
we share (what do we
share?). Frankly, we aren’t necessary. There is a girl
and she tells me she conceived my son
like an idea to lose, like a daydream. And poof.
It’s how it goes. We were born
out of trauma; so it makes sense that we live through it.
And Andre, I am thankful for all
that I can manage to forget.
Lament for the Mother of Tearslisten to this poem
To the horse,
the foal, to the miner, the coal, to you,
which are as much yours as they are
their own. Protect them; shed them anywhere
for anything. Leave your children on your cheeks,
on handkerchiefs, leave them in the endless streets
to raise themselves. Sink the cities with your sobs
and with your joys. Your children make a celebration
out of the this-is-too-too-much-to-handle.
We’ve sugared the skulls in preparation. We’ve slung our skeletons
across our backs; it is a fiesta. Hooray.
Tonight’s the night for those intimate
deaths (our secret reliefs) where we surprise ourselves
by saying, finally, they are finally dead.
Because watching is all there is
to do and it is too-too-much
for us to do. Logistics are the doldrums and waiting
is worse. Darling mother,
I have spent my tears too eagerly and now I am broke.
Each new day is its own unique tragedy, with the sun falling
or the birds rising or the graves leveling or whatever.
The last time I cried was because I spilled the salt (I was five)
and now I pay my sadness
in the sort of laughter that makes even me
uncomfortable. All I have left is the ridiculous
and thirty seven dollars and some odd cents
in pennies, nickels, and dimes.
But this doesn’t concern you; mother, you
were never a woman, you were a piece of red silk
caught in a fire. Mother, the house collapsed around you
while you accused everyone of everything
and I’ve been embarrassed for so long that I can no longer remember
why. Mother, darling mother, it has become more
and more difficult to differentiate sorrow
from that other thing I think there is.