We walked the old trail
Full of abandoned orchards
Until we reached the dock.
Smooth and new, sticking out
Into the river
Under an unfriendly sun.
Others, on the dock …fishing with
Umbrellas blocking the seeping heat,
Their poles lying at their feet.
Nothing is caught
That’s not the intent.
I, who have never fished…..are
Frightened by the sound
Of soft-skinned fruit….
Overripe, hitting the ground…..
Hard…..From sundried branches….
As if they are wild…creatures hiding
Among the blackberry thorns.
You, having fished, used to
Drag carp and mudsuckers
Home, abandoning them
With line and hook
Still lodged in their gaping mouth
We kiss together
Under a tree that sheds leaves
Before it should.
You think of autumn….and
When will the fall swoop in
And chill the ground?
I think of the red aphids
Crawling among the dried leaves
Scared one will get caught
Upon the blanket
I’ve brought for us to lay upon
You dip a chip in hummus
And sip the golden wine
Noticing a small dry spot
On the knuckle of your thumb.
I am worried about
The naturalness of my body
Bumps and lumps.
I pick up some the fruit,
That frightened me,
And take it home
You dab your tongue upon your dry skin
In a soothing gesture
There is a letter hiding
Inside this envelope.
Addressed in handwriting
As if etched….on
A print I recognize…..
Familiar marks I wished, at times, I never knew
Other times, I wished I had known better.
So are our lives…..represented
By this letter……
A relationship of a paper receptacle
With its four corners, glued folds
A flap that awaits closure
With many words waiting to be
You have added, perhaps
A final voice inside this letter.
An ending I search for
Mixed with the anxiety for the loss
Of the sound your words make.
And the question is
If I open this letter
Will reading it stir up all those summers
heated in our veins, or
Will its therapy send a cool breeze
To pacify all the seasons we have invested
In? ….Surely, the wind is unpredictable.
If the breeze picks up,
As it has done many times
I run the risk of the letter flying
Out of my hands, the reading left
So, I fear,….. while simultaneously
I am in calm realization, that
I do not believe in the myths of fall
The false solitude of winter
Your letter may mix up the seasons
But, it cannot end them.
I carry your voice deep within
All my writing…..(And yours)
We have written
We will write
I place your letter inside my pocket,
Funny, how many armpits there are
Most stay in their place.
Every now and then
One intrudes upon your space
Making it difficult to concentrate
Giving you the feeling that you need to escape
Running to where the air is fresher…..
Free from your boss, Old Spice.
Away from that gossipy wench Dove
Avoiding the smut talk of Gillette
Who is just interested in his Speed Stick
While his fat buddy Mitchum chuckles
At every cute deodorant that walks by.
You want to tell Glide
That her body wash isn’t working!
That’s for Sure.
Brut grunts at you for no reason
Must be football season.
Then there’s Ralph Lauren
Who thinks he knows the goddess Hygiene personally
You want to tell him Hygiene doesn’t exist
Just take a look around the office for proof!
Perspiring is not a Secret!
But, armpits aren’t always bad
Sometimes during a warm Irish Spring
When people get a little extra sweaty
You find just the Right Guard
And are more than willing to bury
Your nose into your lover’s armpit
And make that Gold Bond
On nights like these,
I’m a-sounding like the sublime
Notes that fly.
The inner voices to the outer ear
One with all energies around me
Including the audience’s reaction
To my flight, we are together
Inside our own jet stream
Then, silence. The smell
Of abandoned alcohol and
A stale lover’s quarrel swell
I get a free beer and no money
—Been doing these spells for decades
That’s a hell of a lot of beer
So now, I gotta steal my licks to eat
From magicians I love
But, as I scrape the pot for burnt offerings
I begin to hate my thievery
It digs a hole in my gut…as I utter
The bluest of tones comprised of lonely flatted fifths
Bent thirds that shiver through my angry spine
Shaping me into a junkie for….
The vibration of my instrument
Into a mellow love caress of all five elements
I find myself wishin’
Ohh, I wish I could hate long enough
To make me not care, but nah
I love like a bitch vampire
My teeth so delicate upon all necks.
I play just the right thing for you,
Yeah you, pretty, pretty babes
I know your kind of sweetness,
when you say from the outside
“From our perspective”
Certainly, I could carve the woodwork
Into beautiful statues
Take the ultimate money toke, inhale the spell
And play the set straight
With my talent of materialization
tucked under my arm———-
You don’t understand what biting does
‘Cause now, I gotta face that glows
Leaking out soul
Can’t you see it wearing my clothes?
Let me tell you, yes, yes yes
I’m darker than the universe
The visible invisible, which causes
All the lovers to come at me.
Then, when I touch ‘em
I’m the witch, the voodoo
The Brujeria, the divine conjuring
But, my sparks hit ground
By the sweat of the day
Dulled by deluded lovers
With Milky Ways in their thought patterns
Blocking their sight and empathy
And they see too, that I’m frail-like,
Weak, a crybaby, sob story,
With Kansas breath on my lips
A tornado alley, head beaten
Into soft putty. Dried then cracked
Into a dustbowl queen that
Clicks red sparkly shoes, together
Over and over and over
Until I have to sell them
To a resale vintage shop
Full of plastic record players
Cassette tapes, and boxes of unwanted sheet music
Containing images of the tunes I willfully mar
In this shop called “I’ll Get You My Little Pretty”
With tarnished plated flutes
The mandolin no one ever played
And the bent trombone
Resides the history of my history
Just like you,
You’re playin’—I play
Therein lies the difference
And off my lovers go
To the dumping ground
While you keep on pretending
Much better than I
Making me want to apologize for being real
‘Cause it’s better to fake magic
than to actually use it
You don’t have to worry
About what to do
with the return deposit
No, no don’t get me wrong
I’ve got lovers
The fallen never let me go
‘Cause I have one hand on the ledge
And it’s a big hand
And if I am planning on getting kissed
I better love the fallen, so….
I pick the big beauties
With baggage that will
Book another plane just to follow
Them to wherever they land.
They don’t seem to care
How I play, Why I play, How I recite recipes
Just as long as I can sleep
Through the day and prey upon the night
A thief of sound
Playing for those who walk
Proud-like, on all twos, daylight trippers….who
Heckle me until I’ve become
Just who they wish I was–mortal
Just who you couldn’t believe I was
Cause, I was never simply a belief
That depth of me you wonder about
I’m a lover’s theme stuck in the throat
Of a time when hands held lyre and flute
Finger bone upon string
Lips upon mouthpiece
Human tones hung upon air
With all its imperfections cast
The art that surrounds me are images of images already in place
I am the one who is expected to make a decision
through them, these paintings, figurines….for they are
Copied onto permanent canvas, drawn into form, molded into judgement
Named and named again, endless titles
Serving anger and compassion, attack and defense, pride and prejudice
Stirring the swirling palette of mash ups, in the land of dances
Making me dance, full of fervor, entwined in embedded memories
For my head is a twirling history of black and white atomic bombs
John’s bloody head full of conspiracy theories and Jacqueline’s pink hat
Reagan’s red blushed cheeks and a dusty New York.
This art is frozen into me, stars stuck in my stomach, aching
I vomit up all the dried acrylics produced by the painters.
And there is enough there to make me want to love it all like a pro
For I must believe I am a lover
Even as I dry heave belief in amounts no cloud could contain
Sitting with my head near the toilet
The sound of my empty throat echoes off porcelain
Hoping the sunrise will sober me up
Yet, I will vote for you, my love. Take me.
I drink you while you’re hot, when the paint is still wet in your hands
To soothe my stomach, then toss
The single use cup where your past memories