Only The Young Have Such Moments
The girl is leaning close to the boys face,
Is telling him why objects lost from
The soft hands of strangers
Are really heirlooms disguised as garbage.
She holds a matchbox toward his face,
Delicately, the cardboard glowing
Of acrylic paint and super-glued lace.
Tells him it's a concubine for one lonely heart,
The slippery paper taped to the corner
Once held a doughnut which touched
The lips of a young boy's first kiss.
She says she likes to paste and rearrange
otherwise insignificant pieces of people's lives,
The smell of Japanese take-out
On the sixth Sabbath, fortunes unsnapped
From cookies and still smelling of sugar.
Says she is stealing memories,
Making those lost, semi-witnessed moments
Immortal in their own rights.
He listens, one eye trained against the sky,
Sinking beneath the dark holes
The stars form in their broken constellations.
He is dreaming of their first kiss
And how she might savor it,
All the while she's recalling the strange smile
Of John Lennon on the cover of a vintage record,
Wondering how she can illuminate
The vinyl in a decoupage-styled collage
without losing the infinite kiss of Yoko Ono.
Pizza Talk and English Beer
On the eve of a holiday
I cannot fully remember
I came to you
Like a drunkard on the mend,
Stiff in my winter boots,
The smell of front porch
on my hair.
I'm not sure what I expected
But you were two thumbs deep
In some foreign documentary
So we spread cold pizza
And Old English beer between us
And talked sleepy circles
Around mad prophets,
The historical poets of our time
And each syllable you spoke
Felt like the edge of another world
I could cross, except
The alcohol was stealing my thunder
So all I could manage
Was a 2am rant about
The binds this world born us into,
The unjust in our lack of choice,
The wondering eyeball of chance,
And the God in all our words;
How always Saturday night
Would find us waging wars
Against the invisible forces
Of our universe and how
Come Sunday morning
There's always more questions
Than there are answers.
How, exhausted, we fall asleep
Across the bent in arms of each other,
Aging as we sleep
Like old dogs waiting to die.
The Piano Player
Spring always reminded him
Of silk dresses,
rims of their sewn edges
Hugging the breeze
Like petals mending
Their strong, poetic skeletons
In the aftermath of winter.
The first flight of a butterfly
On a porch swing
In the country.
Tin trailer and a horizon
Of black-shingle roof
To shed us from the sun.
Two ice teas between us,
We'd talk of books,
The stiff voice of Yeats,
The sheets where Sexton slept,
And like a traveler mid-stop,
He'd bring his melodies to me.
I'd ride the baritone waves
Of his old love songs,
His tan skin and hand joints,
all open-throat and thrashing keys.
And when his fingers paused mid-play,
I'd pray he still had
Something left to say to me.
Love was a church hymn
she couldn't sing without choking.
Outgrowing the trees of her homelands' hills,
The rooms that bore her grandmothers babies,
Mountain air becoming the spit spew
Of a stifled star shower beneath the lunar moon.
Then the bare, brown clapboarded rooms,
Bright of tiny square windows
Where she'd gaze like a prisoner
Across uncalculated miles of rolling green,
Strength of the dogwood set afire by the sun,
Weeping tendrils of the willows bowing forward,
Waving their bony, green fingers as if inviting
Her to walk along dust hollows, barefoot,
To drop her threadbare white dress
Into the ocean of a puddle alongside
This make-shift highway leading south.
To throw her head back,
Shake the wild curls of her hair,
The feet of each pale strand
Itching to dance between the fingers
Of so many strange boys.