The Sheeted Bed Did Squeak and Gibber

I

A face print on a
pillow, still-warm sheets

the craft-of-us, it blossoms
in our every scampering

thought, we will pester the
day’s frame maker for more

pinches and squeals, yet
draw from depths a love

that ever comes, even
as we sleep.

II

a dimpled morning light crawls
up the arm of another day, advancing
like a rash, and the bathroom mirror
scans my face, while my mind’s eye
scans yours

forgiveness, like a parade with floats
sure, but the slope of this patch
will drain and pool somewhere
a tepid steep of contrition
that’s what it reminds me of

when we pretend to agree
I zip my face closed and cough up a
smile, perfected in its shambles
and relaxed, like a prickly thing
warding off the bothers
with preemptive skin

III

the thread of these laundered sheets
that can’t retain the lay of her land

I pull the lint filter from the dryer
and mount it, framed, to the wall

bedposts still lean to the slant of her
repose, window-light leering, wants

are cooing and teasing in the heat
of breathing, I awaken to the elbows

of memory and cool wet spots
the small talk of exquisite missteps

a specter haunting the big tent
with its randy elephants and clowns

(g)love

Stacks of plastic containers
and lids that don’t fit
I don’t quite fit her
containers agape, lidless.

Containers sitting open
she doesn’t love me
and what was contained is
open to the air and spoiling.

(w)hole

The world is the hole
we did into, the whole that
likes out, drenched in starlight
the whole, the world about

Star-stuffed parentheses
sponges soaked in light

The world is of us, hill
over bone, a coinage of the rain
a pose, a lick, a dash

Acres Are a Toss Away

we are never quite
where we are, never long
for the ungrabbed hat
acres are a toss away

from somebody’s grazing lot
from every pressing affair

the hallway leads
the bell rings

If a thing didn’t last
what was it, back when
it was everlasting?

we keep a second
set of books, an eye
out for the prospects

but the dusty warehouse
where the heart undresses
is an unbreathable atmosphere

we hold our breath
make quick little visits

Wonder, Full of

more and more I am less and less
loss and increase, rushing the doors
each by the other’s entrance

a deluded equilibrium sprayed
through the stencil of things known to be

cash or credit, movement or dead still
path with mantra, a mass with a host
mastery of the enclosing nesting doll

in preverbal childhood, before a self
got on to it, on a blanket in the yard
you pointed and said “da” in wonder
it could have been anything

now I wonder why we can’t leave
wonder alone, and when we point and
open our mouths, out comes

a meaning, a stillborn concoction
landing with a thud

-:-


Myself, 1955, aged eight months.

The Phone Intransitive

a sly comfort phoned
in the afternoon
how’s it goin’

a vague sense of loss phones
in the morning | mouthful of toothpaste
where’ya been?

the air calls at lunchtime | the air
is in the middle of things
did you get my message?

a dream phones in the night
a dreamer answers | a sleeper
you won’t remember this

in the dream | a phone
I answer | hello
I had this dream last night