The Early Years
Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind
Shakespeare, King Lear
Crapulent, cold a’lonely in the crepuscule,
gaggle after gaggle swooshing this
way that way, mud in yr eye,
which keep disappearing? None
for me, thanks, he thinks. A little
corny, flustered aberration, corpulent
and suspect. Gallery of holy aspirants,
sublunary flame, Tsigane, Chagall,
and a balloon in Japanese. Christ
to be nailed here, ass on a stool.
Cockles and mussels, insinuated
preclusions, all the time in the world.
Adore me. Pluck my lint. Compose
yrself. Flag down that apparent
instrument of declension. Which
is in store, in stock. A queer honking
outside, flurry and crude rush nowhere,
and you and I left alone tonight, cool
interlude, dark musics, chilled liquors,
no one left dancing in the cage. Let’s fall
back and disappear, as the crossdressed
palindrome said to the uptight palimpsest.
Half Moon Creatures
You’d say half full, not half empty. And can’t help
but celebrate the greater notoriety of fullness, what it means
to be replete in light, nothing but light. How out of the light,
the creatures of darkness come singing their low songs:
Wolfman, serial mutilators, phantoms of opera, the works.
Indeed the moon with its Gorbacheved reflection gets the glory,
and the famous blame, for everything. Whenever two children
in the same city get torn to pieces on the same night, everyone
glances up, and there it is, that loathly face, red
farmer, pale bloated boil of night, always at a head.
But tonight’s antennae are differently tuned. Nothing comes
and stands up crooked like a mummy or superglued heap
of recycled body parts to pray or bay towards this en pointe
semicircle, ready to topple off its toe and wobble still.
No lycanthrope cut back to only quarter-wolf
howls up for his translucent bowl of milk.
The worst woman-and-child-choppers of our nightmares
lie sleeping off their excesses, their dreams a cryptic calling
for more light, always more.
In this half-light the monsters
themselves seem half-full of themselves merely, gutted
semi-presences that pass the light like smoked glass. Here
the Snarling Man speaks harshly to his fragile mother, there
the Lousy Teacher smiles and pencil-whips a boy into despair.
The Traffic Cop commits the extra minutes needed
to intimidate. Here’s The Banker Who Says No. The Fucked-Up Boy
who torments the timid one. The Perfect Woman who laughs
her silver laugh at the pudgy depressed girl
in the checkout line. All the crossbreeds here are innocent—
the Earthwormduck, the Porcupinebaboon, the Muskoxfrog—
and it seems in fact that everyone is innocent. Still
the Wolfman is out there waiting until these half
measures are history. And we hunger for him, to be full.
Brisk march wind morning
chimney hiccups and blows in
six pissed-off hornets