6.03 / March 2011

Three Poems

Lament for the Shape

listen 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 Fly

listen 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 Tears

listen to this poem

To the horse,
the foal, to the miner, the coal, to you,
your tears

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.

Jamison Crabtree invented the first ghost. He discovered the sky. That time you thought you heard a bird calling but you couldn't see any birds, that was him. His writing appears (or is forthcoming) in LIT, No Tell Motel, Poor Claudia, Anti-, and many other wonderousful places. He lives in Tucson where he edits poetry and makes things for Spork Press.
6.03 / March 2011