First I shovel
like churned earth. Forage
deep for those riches
buried in my depths. Then,
sift out pronouns and adjectives
as if grit from oil—perpetually
clogging one’s ingenuity.
Now shall I pan for imagery?
This nugget is a simile, here
a chunk of metaphor. Observe
how dense they both are
rising as they do
to the very top of my mind
when everything else simply sinks—
the clinks of dying lines
striking the bottom.
Their splendor is nearly blinding—
glimmers that speak of wealth and greed
and a need, always such a need
for something other. I’ve struck
gold—poem jazzing up
my page like pyrite.
Even April still weeps
over you, fish-scented tears
sheen these rooftops, sidewalks, this
fresh sprung bluegrass I imprint
with my feet. Dandelions
alight my lawn like suns
fusing in a universe of green, useless
things, each stalled in their own particular moment
of time. I loathe them
as one hates the light rays
which wince eyes nearly shut.
Their yellows gleam, mocking me
with the suddenness of their life.
How can I progress? How
can I ever finally forge
forward through this world
with such astounding starlight
disguising my path with glare?
Now this yard slopes off into dirt,
grasses and wildflowers ending
like the edge of a universe, beyond—
our gravel drive an asteroid belt
that divides here from there
the way sin separates heaven from hell. Today
dandelions are effacing themselves, seeds
riding winds which whisper to them:
this all must end, this all must end. Galaxies
one by one retracting. Their lights
no longer glare at me as if I were divine
and must witness such sufferings. Certainly
this lawn will soon be freshly primered-
canvas for a new God to create
something more enduring with his paints.
Love and hate are blood and air—
every day they sustain me. Your screams
prick at me through the bars
of your crib; little hooks, attempting
to bait me. I scrutinize you
the way a single mother regards
her rape bastard with resentments. All morning
I’ll abandon you there in your cage
stewing in piss and shit
simply hoping you’ll eventually brine
into someone other than him, but
dusk always darkens as though ink-
blotted with my disappointments
The Fisher of Man
Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral
Ahead, the Atlantic foams at the mouth,
roars and snaps its jaws
like a rabid dog. Separated from us
by balding scalps with sea oats
jutting up for hair-
spiked strands the wind can’t comb.
The wind is an ancient stylist,
complains of his plight in my ears.
A billion years he’s combed beaches. Now
he cups a glass palm over my mouth,
rips my words silent with his force.
Sand embeds in my soles:
shell fragments, crushed bones
spit up by the ocean like owl pellets
the sea gulls pick clean of meat-
they skirt my path and shriek for more.
We crunch out to the jetty’s shadow
where the Atlantic separates from itself,
a water-paved driveway ships come to park on.
Departing cruise lines belch, then drift into specs-
the grey finger of lumped rocks
points their way. A fisherman
on the docks waves as they pass;
he’s pitched and pulled his line all night.
We gape as he yanks another catch.
It’s a damned soul that thrashes his line;
he drowns it on air.
As we approach its o-mouth huffs
for breath, then submits with a thump
to the morgue of his cooler.
Like the fish, I once tugged your pole;
the line you caught me with still
reels me in to you- and your hook, scooped
through the flesh of my upper lip,
bleeds me the color
dawn stains the water.