I thought of you as a pigeon outside my bathroom window
Your beak was crafted from silver and hallucinatory deprivation
Spiraling upward into schizophrenic clouds of laughter.
It seems that I’ve been falling for some time now,
Not particularly realizing the impact of
The recent course of events.
I might try to run off into a woodland
Of ginseng and coca, flowers abound and
Pastel pastry kaleidoscopic revelations beneath
The twisted roots that rub against one another.
I found myself in a state of non-ordinary reality
When I saw you at the Laundromat,
You smile at me and I try my best to twist my wrist
In a friendly gesture. You approach me and ask
How I got here from so far away, after
Night after night of poisoned meandering
Through downtown avenues and country boulevards
of cracked pavement and acidic soil.
I saw a large mammal descending from the sky, it landed
Where you sit now, it has large yellow eyes, docile yet
Piercing. Remember, we named him Paul Verlaine?
Dmitri Bailey, however, was not joyful.
Verlaine sat with you, looked you in the eyes.
You were not there.
I lay in a shallow river, water washing over me, from shoulders
To hips and below. He bites her shoulders, her hips and below.
A certain variety of aggression finds its way into my eyes,
Like a Snake Well. However, in the grand scheme of what we
Happen to call reality, I feel rather happy.
1 All day under acrobat Swallows I have sat, beside ruins Of a plank house sunk to its windows In burdock and raspberry canes, The roof dropped, the foundation broken in, Nothing left perfect but the axe-marks on the beams.
A paper in a cupboard talks about “Mugwumps”, In a V-letter a farmboy in the Marines has “tasted battle…” The apples are pure acid on the tangle of boughs The pasture has gone to popple and bush. Here on this perch of ruins I listen for the crunch of the porcupines.
2 Overhead the skull-hill rises Crossed on top by the stunted apple. Infinitely beyond it, older than love or guilt, Lie the stars ready to jump and sprinkle out of space.
Every night under the millions of stars An owl dies or a snake sloughs its skin, But what if a man feels the dark Homesickness for the inconceivable realm?
3 Sometimes I see them, The south-going Canada geese, At evening, coming down In pink light, over the pond, in great, Loose, always dissolving V’s- I go out into the field, Amazed and moved, and listen To the cold, lonely yelping Of those tranced bodies in the sky, Until I feel on the point Of breaking to a sacred, bloodier speech.
4 This morning I watched Milton Norway’s sky blue Ford Dragging its ass down the dirt road On the other side of the valley.
Later, off in the woods, I heard A chainsaw agonizing across the top of some stump A while ago the tracks of a little, snowy, SAC bomber went crawling across heaven.
What of that little hairstreak That was flopping and batting about Deep in the goldenrod, Did she not know, either, where she was going?
5 Just now I had a funny sensation As if some angel, or winged star, Had been perched nearby watching, maybe speaking, I whirled, and in the chokecherry bush There was a twig just ceasing to tremble.
Now the bats come spelling the swallows, In the smoking heap of old antiques The porcupine-crackle starts up again, The bone-saw, the pure music of our sphere, And up there the old stars rustling and whispering.
Walk into any park some early evening,
and listen, he’s in the air,
darting or hunched and hungry,
with yellow-dot eyes and seasick all the way.
You’d have to search the archives
to find a creature so traumatizing,
his body, at the age of 48, no longer there,
skinned, dissected, and measured,
something between a quack and a bark
set against a storm-swollen sky
and without relinquishing his French accent.