This Day, Today

The sun shone, I got up, blind
to the blue sky, with cold eyes
I read numbers, moved my head and wrote
down a dream which had no people
and nothing happened all day. No phone rang,
only the sun shone and the birds' wings
rattled the air. The whole day I wrote
lies, thought about a naked woman and paradise
and the need to name: this tree, that bird
in flight, the dark granite, this fish
in white smoke. Signs and colors: it is a game.
I am cautious, this won't end justly.
And who can teach me what I forgot:
the mountains' sleep,
the birds' sleep in flight, the trees' sleep.
Darkness carries their words.
When the evening crumbles
into perfection, into death--
But I merely recite this sentence.
What do you mean, people ask, rightly so,
those with shallow faces. Always the same
stone, I say, always the same mountain.
And again, someone shoots
into the agitated crowd. Sometime later
everything is quiet again. Now the artists
call for canvas, now books fly open,
now smoke forms across rooftops.

These Days

I don't have to be beautiful,
just clean. (Erin R.)

I am not able to leave
my house anymore.
The keys have gotten too big
for the lock, the car

won't start, the iron
is always on.
It appears I can't fly
anymore either, can't rise,

can't fall. There are many
birds that never leave
earth, that merely hop and stalk
through waist high grass

up to my door
and knock. Beside me,
the man with the knife--
I won't let them enter.

My kitchen hums
with excited pots,
salt drips from my eyes
into the green onion,

pepper drowns in red
tomato blood. One bird
flies off. The man
with the knife

brings it back to me.
The water boils. A time
will come when I need
those feathers.

The Eviction of Birds From Paradise

The road was narrow and stony
through the vineyards in the summer
heat. Dustclouds enveloped both
of us. Fat green grapes, the leaves
dried and frizzy - but the grapes
needed the sun, the warmth.
Long strips of aluminum foil
rattled the unbreathable air:
the eviction of birds from paradise,
he said. But the sparrows
and the blackbirds swooped
from the cloudless sky, greedy
for the berries' flesh. I wore
my red dress, the one with
white stripes, and climbed with him
past the vines and looked down
on the Rhine pushing slowly
through the landscape. I pressed
my ear against the grass and we
awkwardly held hands in the sticky heat.
This was the promised land,
a girl and her first love,
and we lay there for a long time.

You Asked For A Happy Poem

Part I: The Happy Narrative

Well, here it is. A happy poem.
A poem with a dog, and a beach
and a sunset, two people walking,
the dishes are done, no hint
of rain, there's money in the bank.
Do you see them? The lovers
polish the stars with their breath,
rub sentences together, listen
to the man in the moon.
Did I tell you there is a moon?
There are no wrinkles, no noses
that get in the way, no sand
that irritates delicate areas. No.
The moon sprinkles away thoughts
about the strangeness of bodies,
about the brief delay in time
where one misses the other's
desire to be kissed, or the sudden
intrusion of winter in the middle
of a heat wave.

Part II. The Happy Interlude

Happy Things: sunshine yellow mustard & purple cellophane orange shellacked
chocolate candy shiny vinyl-coated dumbbells

Happy Thoughts: that lime green PVC slicker that kept you toasty warm this
morning will be around when you are gone the virginal blush of pink chenille footies
the weather channel is always there for you there are no eggs so I can't make tuna
salad david byrne comes fully assembled ready for your constructivist gratification
yep I'd miss WalMart if it were gone toast is just bread gone one step deader

Part III: The Happy Narrative Continues

They are still walking. The moon
still shines, the dog fetches sticks
and the cancer that will push her out
of her life is the flesh he cups
with his left hand, the flesh that makes him
hard. They need each other now,
they are wrapped in fuses and dynamite.