Saturday, February 19, 2005

the nineteen-forties


With strong purpose one more
of the heroes talks before and after,
looks to build and make the broad
shoulders real, and smokes
against her hat and flattened flannel

on a steam locomotive headed
out west, towards some station
of glad soldiers getting hearty hugs
and more, Ernie Pyle writing
about how the boys walk now,

in spite of it. Darkness, then,
lies only between racing shafts
of light barely seen on the barrel-train
where kissing necks and promises
are whispered in decay’s full bloom

Friday, February 18, 2005

numerals



I.
American students usually do
not know the average
age of a soldier
which is 15, nor
how many
mines
tear
off
legs
in
so
many
countries
where these
very young and
ignorant and emotional
young men fire their machineguns


II.
The young women are willing all too often to believe

almost anything offering something


differerent than what all the other

young women are always talking about



III.
Old and sitting is good enough, when
all that is left of memory turns
and shows only the feverdream horror
world without end and everything else sacred
into jeering cruel eternity while some
stranger coos and wipes and walks off cold,
is to wait

Thursday, February 17, 2005

mice


physically pink and healthy
the young mice
are perfect:

fed sometimes
to snakes
and even frogs, or

taken and raised
luckily, in perfect
conditions subject

to sudden deliberate change
as they make their painful
way from pink to white

in what little cages
observed, tallied failure
would afford them

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

liquor



little is known of the very ancient
but it is certain early farmers everywhere
were quick to ferment their harvest:
first, a happy accident
and then, maybe, not so happy,

and with religion the accident
became a gift given
to the strong because those
with most to lose might
inevitably lose themselves.

In the west, at last, someone
through happy accident extracted the thing itself
and loosed mere chaos
upon an eager world. Seamen, mostly
rolled kegs as payment or gifts

and would always surprise . For some
it was a storm, a known thing that nonetheless might send
a man staggering, though now with perhaps an axe
in hand, and so forgave it, knowing something
while the others slept outside the fort
in dried blood

begging for another.
late in the air


it might have been a rough flight,
the baby twisting in scream while I held
my arm over her steady,
not spilling any gin for the life of me

the night window fogged,
but down there were lights
turned on and off by people
going about their business as usual

they didn’t care I was watching,
and as the buffeting rocked my small
sweaty girl into sleep,
we coasted down as the captain tinnily reassured us

and now I am come thousands of miles and know
nobody but the girl in my arms,
the the two sitting behind me
and unusually immense hope
Now I live in Iowa. At this hotel, earlier, I got a very weak linksys wireless reception on my li'l mac, doubtless some college student with an unprotected dsl and a cheap wireless router (I am up on the 9th floor, so it stands to reason). There was also a much stronger wireless signal that I assume is the school... wanted a WEP password, and neither guest nor user nor admin worked, stopped at midnight, so it's something professional.

So, I pay 6 bucks a day for crappy wired lan from some california startup with a marketing plan. Amazing how snotty one gets to be about having access to current innovation. I mean, wireless lan is this fucking year, really, and now I feel DEPRIVED?

I do love it here. Portland is full of know-it-alls who have some story all ready for you before you can ask a single question. This place is frank. It has an energy that is unlike anywhere I have ever been, an energy that eschews nonsense.

I am ready for this. The new uberhaus is an Iowan barn. Let the magic begin. I am ready.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Tongight had all the magic. At erstwhile Uberhaus I saw both Andrew and Amby (second time today), the past few years blurring together as sidewalk chalk in the drizzle.

And, at Cassidy's before that I had a deep philosphical exchange with a jewelery designer who knew Elvin Jones, but that came up but briefly and we did not return to it, though we almost embraced at our parting. He wore a stylish Bulova and I showed him my Pojot. He has two childern, 11 and 16. We talked of St Paul, Dresden, Miyazaki and Brad Bird. My kind of hour, son.

I am amazed and appreciative of my late evening. I leave this city wholly and utterly, and with profound gratitude. Thanks, Portland, and don't let the door bruise your ass.

Tide

Whatever is next
lies on floating weed
but some far-flung wave
might yet
change all of it

Sunday, February 13, 2005

sleeping downtown

the hotel has a bar downstairs,
and awake at this hour I think
of it, how it must look
through the windows I, young
might walk past, might see
smiling mouths and cocktails,
confident people so obviously
at home despite the hour,

but I will not shuffle down
the elevator in my mussed pajamas,
slippers, wallet in my hand
to sit waiting on the stool
for whatever it was
I thought I might
have once imagined
if I were young