The Future is Here
Man burns at a certain degree
but I always burned a little slower.
When I went into school
I left a trail of blackened footprints.
There was knuckle down the side of the hallway
to my classroom of spelling words, never starred.
At the end of the earth
we’ll be locked in our own spelling mistakes.
Our arms around the legs of our mother
so she won’t leave. Our heads filled with beer, the light
receding. What kind of death is reserved for me?
The green plastic soldier has his gun up against everything.
And what does one do with a gun really?
I’ve only held three in my entire life.
The third I held was the first I used.
I was with Liana and her father, deep in the woods of Vermont
when she was staying with me in the heap.
I shot at a beer can until my hands went numb.
And I loved her the whole time.
With car accidents and barbiturates. The way
she got wasted and knocked her teeth
into her lap and told me
I loved her too much—what was all that?
What man does is build whole universes out of miniscule
disasters and educational degrees. I have mine in an enormous envelope
two feet behind me.
My name looks good in a gangster font.
It makes me want to alight on the thigh of my beloved
like a moth
because I know all careful grief
comes out from behind the thigh
and makes a fist at the grey sky above Brooklyn.
The destroyed continue
into the snow-filled future, shoveling.
And love is either perpetually filthy
or intermittently lewd.
I’m sweeping the entire apartment because it’s mine forever.
And that’s valid, too. Domestic eroticisms. The way
he gets up out of bed before you
and puts on clothes and can’t find his keys.
All of it, without parents, without children, without roommates.
It feels good to get something
back. And the whole feels
detrimental and complicated and forever stimulating.
Which is why we live—and why we send out
balloons into the atmosphere
with notes tied to them that say:
Nothing bad can touch this life
that I haven’t already imagined.
Driving Our New Car
Orchard, a beautiful word I keep in myself.
Like the word Jellyfish. And the word Chimney.
I looked in the mirror this morning and felt my age
like a tremor from a distant fundraiser. My face
dropped in a glass. My cheeks, distant burning ships.
And it is the month you and I have joined together
to not drink. But today I am hung over.
I imagine a small stage in my mind
where I perform precise homeopathic acts,
the brain systems like wild apple trees,
the moon erasing itself with a wet thumb—
Our car is so clean, I marvel that it is ours.
Your father had the wipers and break pads replaced
before he set us into it,
two shy giants locking into their ship.
We drove it to the city, filled with vanity and fear, your hand
on my leg. When I was a child there were always
McDonalds wrappers on the floor. The dog slept on the back window.
When we rolled down the hill
my brother or I would pull the brake
and wait for mom to come back—lady of delicious sweets,
smoking out the window—
the car was always
an extension of her: parent, vessel, the
sticky seatbelts forever released—
And all night I shouted at friends from college. I stood
in the old cafeteria. I could see in the distance, also,
that the world was ending
in dark explosions of feathers.
When I woke up
I drove our car slowly around the blocks
looking for a new spot. I watched the street cleaner go by
like a fast, dumb dinosaur
that eats only carrion.
Relaxing Sounds of the Ocean
the body a soft grape
punctured with television
the foray of pleasure
the handsomest man at your loins
sensing that Relaxing Sounds of the Ocean
is not as good as Jungle Birds of Nature and Small Creatures of Tranquility
your mind suffering into a colorful powder swept carefully into a dustpan by Batman and Robin
the champion of a high school football team running his finger along the edge of his lover
Gods consulting clouds
evaporating into the mouths of airplanes
Ben telling you about the known universe
his maps of star systems
his passages about the future
his own psychic teenage heart still agonizing
your twin brother a billion miles away ordering a micro-brew
the women in the locker room
with areas of bright red skin
their hair blowing back like their standing on the edge of a cliff
about to save the world
or end it