Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Nightly Savage

(for Frank O’Hara)

These are your streets. I see you leaving buildings
entering bars, the remodeled Cedar where I drink
vodka then gin then vodka again (an addictive allusion)
and! carefully extract this and that while

I look for you on these streets. Walk the length of 2nd
listening for open windows, the late late show (playing
Alice Adams, Bebe Daniels, James Dean?) and promises
of scrambled eggs in the morning, waiting to ask

would you love me? (am I a person you would love after
a party?) waiting for snow, waiting for rain, waiting for
fingers like doves. Grace! Fortune! Be damned! These
words are for you, these streets I will travel, as always.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

morning observation #48

the queue goes past my front door
scarves hoods hands      shields
against the brisk wind    bitter
patience      as commuters abide

hope is a nasty business, you say

a kiss on the forehead     we turn
our separate ways

Yet another list poem

I will write you a poem about swimming
trunks [black, well fitted], something to wear
at the seaside while I relax beneath a parasol.

I will dedicate every book to Stone & Starky,
or we will name our dogs [2 dachshunds, long
hair] Stone & Starky, or our children.

You will send handwritten letters by mail [bona
fide] about nothing acute or even remarkable,
apart from the details you worry you’ll forget.

We will write lists [poems & otherwise] [best laid
plans] [nicknames] [magic tricks] [disappoint
ments] [hiding places] [titles for porn star
biographies] [places we’ve never been] [words
we’ve never used before] pass them to each other
on folded pieces of paper, corners smoothed down.

You will take me dancing, whisper always
with the blue shoes
[echo] like we were an old
married couple on our Friday night date.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

morning observation #45

Too many kisses
in the backs of cabs
with too many boys

not enough mornings
filled with regret.

For Mary Cecelia Olmstead on her birthday

You might not remember : you gave me a teapot (2 cup), a mug (CKLN), some candles, a roll of posters (including Einstein sticking his tongue out, Guernica), an extra blanket, tea (assorted), a tea ball, 2 spoons, 1 knife, 1 fork, an extra pillow, all of my textbooks (we went to the bookstore earlier in the summer & you showed me how to look up course lists & I loaded myself down with french activity books & novels & my first precious copy of the norton anthology) : you left quickly : left me : left me talking : left me to settle : left me to settle in : stretch : reach : & accelerate.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fun Fact

Dirigibles flew so low
that windows could open

one might smoke a cigarette
leaning out over the ocean

one might feel the sea spray
if the pilot flew low enough

if the pilot flew low enough
one might feel the comfort of earth

while never touching the ground

hanging perfectly
in the balance

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

morning observation #21

there is nothing brighter than the dawn
afterward nothing as crisp a flash
across shingles we are a well fueled glow
taking alleyways home

although it must be later people are leaving
for work garage doors open for idling cars
the pavement sparkles yes, sparkles
each grain reflecting the morning sun

heading west knowing
we won’t sleep for days

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Thursday 8 December 2005

[we spoke on the phone : a casual conversation
that turned : into hours : can we measure this
motion? : an impractical ascent : surprised by
descending joy]

[trying to look casual as I kissed you : we would
go back to being friends any time soon : first
the cheek : then the other : a little too close : once
more : testing waters to see who backed down first]

[question whether we had ever loved before : nothing
like this, you said : mornings disappear : days contract :
I made you bread : kneading flour on the kitchen table
& letting it rise over the afternoon : smoothed my fingers
over your hair : too short to run my fingers through : while
we waited]

[I liked that you called me baby : let it slip now &
then : calling for a drink from the kitchen : announcing
return : departure : over your shoulder before rising]

[you liked theories & discoveries : read science magazines
& desmond morris & speculative fiction when you thought
no one was looking : explained each new one in detail :
every twist revealed]

[or did I call you baby? : boy : mister : feller : tiger : poor lamb]

[the last phone call : a strangely polite exchange : do anniversaries
mark beginnings or endings? : do I remember this day for you? :
perhaps there was someone else : something else : the first day
I didn’t think of you]

[the first day I knew : I am not in love]

Saturday, December 10, 2005

To the boy I hoped would be the last (on his birthday)

As breakfast is the most important
meal of the day, I’ll deliver yours on a tray

toast & jam (homemade)

a bowl of fruit, yogurt, honey

the morning paper & crossword

I’ll serve coffee in the thermos
I got for my birthday

(in lieu of a dog

Canadian Tire makes me less weepy
than the pound)

& curl into the pillows, into you

with a kiss for each of your years.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

morning observation #42

I never thought
I'd love a man who
tucks in his shirts.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Stand up eight

A life long cribbage tournament : to date : 2 games
played (in 1998) : score 1 - 1.

Finishing the crossword, in ink, before my second
cup of coffee.

Easily distinguish between the Charlies; Mingus &
Parker. Also : Elias Koteas & Christopher Meloni, John
Heard & William Hurt, Pat Hingle & Art Hindle.

Smoke & Variety : the musical.

That moment : it has happened only once so far : surprised
by sunlight when leaving a movie theatre.

Learn to throw a punch & take one.

Hearing your giggle from across the room.

Look a man wearing sandals in the eye & not
cast judgment.

Knowing that F. will laugh when she reads : Smoke &
Variety : the musical : spinning of the chair will likely ensue.

Someone kissing me first.

I will forgive you : we will not be friends but will fondly
recall the time you shoplifted cough drops : I was so
miserable & we didn't have enough pocket change : or
when I dropped my house keys down a sewer grate : city
workers arrived with a rope & large round magnet
to search the sludge.

Endings that aren't really endings.

Semper alacer : aliquando sinistra.

A brioche from Claude's : garlic soup : road dogs &
champagne : a root beer sipped slowly outside a car wash :
looking at a full moon through glass : stories read aloud
while wrapped tightly in a sleeping bag : a window seat
with the perfect view of snow falling past street lights : repeat.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

To Michael Olmstead on his 45th birthday

Your birthday means that it’s almost winter : when the world
feels so much smaller : snow coming down hard? : maybe that’s
why I’m drawn to stories of polar exploration : a fascination with
endless white and an indefinite horizon : but it has more to do
with the unknown : if you don’t know the ending does that mean
the possibilities are limitless? : you were the first I knew to travel
far : searched the Rand McNally for Saudi Arabia then Thailand :
losing a shoe at a David Bowie concert in Singapore : a coin flattened
on a railway track : amazed that such things happen : unfathomable
prospects of adulthood : I’ve been reading Frank’s Vincent poems
lately : eating dinners in Toronto : movies and fantasy and distance :
my home feeling as exotic as away : stories sustain me : I take what
remains : a key : it says Falcon and I loved Star Wars : should I
admit that I still have it? : idée fixe : birthday poems : anticipation.