Before he could even finish his cigarette.
These weren’t men yet, just boys
Who could see the van roll
Up next to them and the man
Look over, smile at them, gesture
With his hand in a kind of grotesque
None of this was supposed to work
Out this way. The morning was so
Lovely as if God were laughing and
Enjoying the random flights of the birds.
We fell to our knees begging forgiveness.
Not one of us could tell what had
Happened. Hold your tongues.
Her eyes were so beautiful and she
Began to sing to us such a
Simple and lovely tune.
Whatever went wrong went
Terribly wrong. The road just
Ended. No signs at all, no rails,
Just stopped as if there was something
Much more important to do than
Be a road any longer. It was only
About a third of a mile long and
Had begun to attempt a passage
Through a small wooded area.
It looked as if it hadn’t mattered
Much, that no one had come that way.
There was no garbage, no dumping. Just
A stopping, a way of saying that this
Could happen anywhere just as unexpectedly.
(a suite for Bill Yates and Larry Golden)
1. ALL THINGS OF NIGHT
The road opening
Up like a flower
And the lights of
Every car leaning
In the window and talking.
We have seen strange signs
In the heavens. There is
A movement of land
Against her creatures.
We shall drive you to
Your own death and
We shall love you.
In sad eyes
We have found our way
To this hill and let
The words come. It was
Tires hissing on dark asphalt.
2. WINDOW FRAME
Star, one dead fly
Dangling from an old
One man walking
One man walking.
He thought there was some reason
To keep fire. So he did;
In a small jar next to his
Bed. At night he would remove
It and play with it,
Running his fingers along
Its back and making
Soft noises to it.
The fire would lick his hands
And roll itself through his hair
Crackling and snapping.
“Sweet fire," he would say,
And the words were cinders
Covering his bed.
A light is beginning to fail,
I can feel my arms unfold
And begin to go around you.
Our moment is holy.
Let us be together in this sound.
Oh they’ll make you jump for tinned mackerel
My hearty and Mrs. Dolentbenl bid me,
Will rush to center stage still deciding
What of her lines might be fishy
Or not, oar knot, who will find
A way out of here not even stopping
For the prescribed minute it might take
To reach an understanding with Donnie Deleon
Who dealt in song and strong thoughts.
He would sit for hours on
The end of a balanced log and make
Up one cutting remark after another
And just a minute too late to be
Considered for any real purpose.
Mr. Church Mistime later filled most
Of the holes in with that stuff.
It lasted for years too.
Sometimes just the quiet unwinds
Around me. I bump into the wall
Threading my way from my office back
To the bedroom. The entire sky
Is dark for a longer while this night.
The moon is waning, looking damaged
By the clouds and in no particular
Hurry to be anywhere. The sky
Will hold it. It will still make
Me think of my lover, even in its
Absence, maybe because of its absence.
I prop myself up on one arm,
Write these words down as carefully
As I am able, the moment flooding
Through me like it is right now.
THE GUARDIAN MOON
That same darn moon with its two full letters
smack in the middle of its name. It saw us
Here, but the moon, it don’t say nothing to us
Anymore. Just pours that dead grass light
All over the place while we take a short walk
Between the house and the far shed. We forgot
That three-horse harness and remembered we
Were going to use it in the morning, and there
Was the moon, waiting for us, partially behind a
Stand of oaks, waiting for the change in the weather,
“Just like us,” you said pulling the tack down from
The hooks. “Just look at that light out there tonight.
Can’t keep it outside at all, crawling all over us.
Pale light golden as dream over the whole place.”