Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Swaps

On Sleepless Nights Between Demanding Days

I breathed all night, and the breathing found me
wake-world, senses akimbo;
the pattern of my chest clapped hey quick-slow, hey
quick-slow hey. Wide-over, tingled to the tips and
bang! sang the shadows of a mind
on the ceiling,
breathing,
breathing,
who’s this—

Breath of my bone, bone of my flesh, flesh
of the breath, of the breath of Old Man Anxiety
waiting at my window—Still! old man—
I’m with my Love.





On Breaking One’s Rainboot in a November Rain

The boot cracked and O! a puddle ’round my toes
startled the foot that forgot
to stop but regained its composure.
Sock-wool softened her heart and clung to the fronts,
to the tops and bottoms of three hapless toes,
throwing her wide-open fibers at all flesh.
The boot smiled and gurgled.
The other foot, though in the dark,
sensed something to be envious about,
and envied.
Oblivious, I wondered
why my one foot felt funny,
not knowing who’s better between the two.









On Wasting Over an Hour Planning a Subway Route

The potential and possibilities run
together with the ink of the motley map and the flat
black and white keys of the information machine
I use for efficiency’s sake, while two clocks
made up of three numbers leap in concurrence.
Do they dance for gladness, or go
unwillingly on in run ‘round the sun?
What are these plotted paths compared
with my collisions into you by day
and the sure adventure of my sleepless heart
through streets of gold lit bright
by the whites of your eyes—







On Being Caught in the Street by the Need to Relieve Oneself

O! mercy; it’s time
to be reminded by dust where I came from
and who claims me. Fair Nature,
my friends have called you their mother,
their lover, their maker, but I
hear, see, read you plainest when I
bark, faint, piss. Most unjust is this:
your mal-magnificence, or
miserly disclosure of self to me. No matter;
you’ve taken my hand and I will court you awhile,
though my mind steals reluctant a final kiss
behind heaven’s high gate.
Come, let us embrace,
join our wills to receive common grace
from the Maker of men who make toilets to make
good my strange duty to Nature.








On Joining a Long Airport Security Line Very Late

Breathless, I have achieved a great thing,
proudly stumbling in pride on a greater.
Believing thin streams of sparse cars a mark of mercy
on a mortally procrastinating soul, I waited well
in the check-in snake and walked firmly,
free from all but my carry-on. Hark!
The swelling of my heart has outrun mercy.
There is the sign of Be Careful,
security for me and of me,
a slow wait for swift sum checking
of every ligament and dress.
I am undressed in this tortured time-killing;
contentment stripped like a wig
from anxiety’s bald and flaky scalp.
Very well! I may or may not make it, but I make
of this crude molestation a magnifier
of subtler beauties in your hand-hold on me,
weak, weary, and flaw-full,
thoughtless and proud and self-crying.







On Being Dropped off by a Cab Next to a Calf-High Street Slush Puddle

Stepping from my ten-ton silver steed,
beneath a faux fur hat my face
faces the wind and the hail like a brow-firm man.
Come world, I’m ready! Come dragon of the skies
with your ice-breath and foggy eyes. Who knew
New York City had rivers
to cross and proud monsters I need
to feed justice unsheathed? I am a pioneer,
a stoic romance. I embrace frost bite
and the glory of Long Avenue Eighth,
the pride of the great Garden of Madison,
where the commoners eye me with deep veneration
and wonder wide from beneath their umbrellas.