The Greens

Green—your enamel face jars the moping daylight
and the dried brown grass with a shrill
but cheerful alarm, saying: wake up
and for goodness’ sake, get dressed.

Green—the billboard announces
as if the color were a destination
or a product we might buy on impulse
and then carry home in a monogrammed bag.

Green—the verdant pause, a break
room where one can find respite
from all the angry reds, the bright
persistent yellows or those
ever pleading lavenders who always
seem to want something.

Green—like ice cream for the eyes
on a hot afternoon, after we had exhausted
ourselves with mischief and horseplay.

Green—my favorite Crayola as a child
until I dumped you for blue and then
later on, my eyes would become
lascivious, multicolor, a dirty old man
with a harem of every hue.

Green—the color that leaf sprouts
and grasslands always get exactly right
but paint pigment usually screws all up.

Green—the show of restraint
against the gaudy splash of dandy
your unrepentant husband, his
Peter Max coat of Technicolor primaries
your mate, the male Painted Bunting.

Green—the very blessing of St. Patrick
himself, on that one day when proud Irish
Catholic men can get away with wearing
Kelly dinner jackets, and the beer
and sometimes the rivers too.

Green—you are the very essence of golf
unbeknownst to the powerful men who
crave the silence of those eighteen bladed mounds
and menacing sculpted hazards, who simply cannot
wander around in meadows without a goal
or a tabulated, gaining reason.

Green—the background felt of every
gambler’s dream win, the card counting
blackjack hopefuls and the pool sharks
the dicers and rounders, your
deep forest aura shining through
the smoke and the bourbon spills.

Green—the color of envy and
the envy of colors, no doubt
and clean, clear shallow seas.

Green—I hear you speak
in your adorable chromatic accent
of the multiplicity of colors that
hide silently within the spectrum
like wildlife unseen on a forested hillside
when we see only the blanched white
of fence boards in sunlight
or a galactic spread of trees.

(Photo: Yes, this is an actual billboard on the East end of Galveston island. I noticed it the other day when I was out there looking for exotic birds. I photographed it knowing that someone would soon ruin its astonishing simplicity with some message or another, and thinking to use it as a prompt for a poem. As you can see, if you made it this far, I got a little carried away.)


Naranjilla: one fiesty beast
with thorns protruding South and East

up and down and North and West
its fruit is tart, it may be best

to leave it there, let it abide
and keep your blood secure, inside

The Thingularity

my barber asked if I believed in evolution
“I didn’t come from no ape,” he said

I told him he came from his mother
that we all come from our mothers
although it is the paternal line
that everyone seems to focus on

my own mother, Christian, a Catholic
settled the matter when she said
that God used evolution to create us

she was a peace-maker, not a theologian

I do not have the body of my ten-year-old self
any more, but it does look a lot like
the one I had yesterday

the world of appearances percolates up
from somewhere, one supposes, in
a kind of maternal line with things
pregnant with the possibility

of thing-cum-thing, of change itself
whatever on earth that means

I get suspicious of things
when they start to seem too important
and I remember, one day a stranger

saw me all worked up and rushing around
in an aggravated bustle
and said, “relax”