Let's be commies together. The share and share alike kind. I have eight hundred and twenty-three dollars. A broken left big toe nail. This poem and a cat sitting on my lap as I write. Syphilis or a cold. A woman offered to hump William Carlos Williams full of syphilis so his brain would have spirochetes and his poems the genius of madness. She was a sexual commie but water's the biggest communist of all. It's in trees, leather shoes, ampersands, beach sands, and the poor rivers never get to sleep. I dreamt my legs were pogo sticks. Now that I've told you, you're richer by an immeasurable degree of hopping. One hopes to go higher. One bounces to the eye level of a rose. Then one notices the rose-of-Sharon towering above the rainfall and commands one's thighs to work harder. This is the School of Aspiration you've heard so much about. When I was nine, a boy climbed too high, fell into a silo and ceased to be a boy. At school, we turned our confused expressions toward each other, each of us a mirror of not knowing what becomes of the little hands we carry at our sides. At roughly the same time, with approximately the same tears, we began to be older. We still enjoyed the story that a big yellow ball rolled across the sky's blue playground every day, but none of us believed it anymore. This was the end of unity and the beginning of the desire for union. If you mail me an impression of your face in a cloud, I'll kiss it and send it back. Enough of this and we'll be an unstoppable political force. You over there feeling connected to me over here feeling tied to the woman who stops by my house six days a week, the mail just a front for the old habit of lighting fires in the distance for ships at sea to see the shore they're trying to reach without it killing them.
A new obsession. How to get out of cold, metallic waters alive. Every night for a week I dream of my car ending up in a body of water. If I’m not driving, someone else is. Bob, the neighbor. My new paranoia. I Google how to escape a car filling with water. I watch videos on YouTube. I memorize the steps of what to do if this happens. First, you take your seat belt off. Late at night, I read pages and pages on the internet. What if the car lands in the water flipped over? Remember to stay calm. If you panic, you will die. News story about a woman who drives her minivan into the ocean on purpose. Horrified beachgoers run toward the water. The two kids are strapped in the back seat. One of the kids is screaming “No, mommy” — What about the sunroof? What if you land in the water and your car has a sunroof? My new car has a sunroof. You have to let the car fill with water so that pressure is equalized on both sides. This is elementary physics. If you don’t do this, it’s impossible to open the doors. This is the scary part. You have to hold your breath. None of the YouTube videos say anything about what to do if you have kids strapped in car seats in the car. I look up what the dreams mean. Water in dreams signifies turbulent emotions. If you are in your car and there is a flash flood, you should get out immediately. Even six inches of water can sweep your car away. Sweep it to where? Maybe the forest?
I get nervous driving by the Gulf of Mexico. My friend Dyan got into an accident there and she said that if the car had flipped on the other side of the road, her whole family would have ended up in the water. I don’t like water. I don’t want to touch it. It scares me. I know all life was born of water. Today the government proposed to sell off all public lands. That before anything existed there were rocks and then water. I know that water is beautiful and mysterious. But why does it sweep people away? I want to push down the rising seas. I look at a map of cities that will be underwater by 2100, 2200 — Jacksonville, New Orleans, Amsterdam. I want to push them down with my bare hands.
All night my heart makes its way however it can over the rough ground of uncertainties, but only until night meets and then is overwhelmed by morning, the light deepening, the wind easing and just waiting, as I too wait (and when have I ever been disappointed?) for redbird to sing.
Ancora cadrà la pioggia sui tuoi dolci selciati, una pioggia leggera come un alito o un passo. Ancora la brezza e l'alba fioriranno leggere come sotto il tuo passo, quando tu rientrerai. Tra fiori e davanzali i gatti lo sapranno.
Ci saranno altri giorni, ci saranno altre voci. Sorriderai da sola. I gatti lo sapranno. Udrai parole antiche, parole stanche e vane come i costumi smessi delle feste di ieri.
Farai gesti anche tu. Risponderai parole- viso di primavera; farai gesti anche tu.
I gatti lo sapranno, viso di primavera; e la pioggia leggera, l'alba color giacinto, che dilaniano il cuore di chi più non ti spera, sono il triste sorriso che sorridi da sola.
Ci saranno altri giorni, altre voci e risvegli. Soffriremo nell'alba, viso di primavera.
Rain will fall again on your smooth pavement, a light rain like a breath or a step. The breeze and the dawn will flourish again when you return, as if beneath your step. Between flowers and sills the cats will know.
There will be other days, there will be other voices. You will smile alone. The cats will know. You will hear words old and spent and useless like costumes left over from yesterday’s parties.
You too will make gestures. You’ll answer with words— face of springtime, you too will make gestures.
The cats will know, face of springtime; and the light rain and the hyacinth dawn that wrench the heart of him who hopes no more for you— they are the sad smile you smile by yourself.
There will be other days, other voices and renewals. Face of springtime, We will suffer at daybreak.
I was being ushered somewhere to be beaten when I ran into my old friend Harry. He looked slicked down like he’d had help licking his wounds and when I told him where I was going he said, Ha, they don’t even know how to beat a fly there. That’s Harry for you. Don’t let him see you dragging your trash to the curb because he’ll have to produce a bigger heap, carry it on his back even if his chin almost scrapes the ground like a dung beetle. Tell him about your heart transplant and he’ll say, Didn’t know you had a heart. Lately he’s been concentrating on contemporary poetry of all things, kinda a relief like if Hitler had stayed interested in painting more than politics. Besides, it was a beautiful day to be beaten, one of those spry spring afternoons you feel you could talk to a daffodil and the daffodil, full of its own problems, would nonetheless accompany you into the dark cave of your own skull like a torch held by a villager intent upon burning down the castle.
Mom, I have a few requests for you, now that I’ve moved away: 1. My room. Do not change a thing. Do not move the bed. Do not tear down my posters. G-Unit is an inspirational group of gentlemen. My way worn, well-worn clothes, woven fabrics warming weak, weathered bones – keep them too, right where they are, pants, jackets, shirts, in a neglected pile, my silent accomplices in the making of the careless moments of youth. Do not repaint the walls. Do not buy a new desk. Do not rid my shelf of unread Spanish textbooks Let me rid my self of the Steinbecks and the Gatsbys, Do not read my self- Directed instructions on how to get some being to think I am worth loving, like there’s some secret sauce, a logic to the alchemy, Do not lead yourself to trash naïve, handwritten lists hidden in desks that start with 1. And end with: Figure out what music she likes and buy all of it. 2. Your food. Do not change a thing. If the gods cooked Schnitzel, you’d see them huddled together over your recipe, deciphering your chicken scratch, maybe adding mashed potatoes. Chicken Soup, peppered with parsley and your devotion. I know you say this is not how time works but it’s precisely your soup that was prescribed to injured Roman soldiers. For what heart or bones or spirit broken can its warmth not mend? Yes, you are alone now, but as petit as your appetite, don’t you dare say it’s too much effort or ask who’s there to cook for? I refuse to believe a Saturday will pass without knives slicing tomatoes, burnt, cut but somehow still delicate hands twisting open jars that others would ask their man to open, spices and warmth spreading themselves unto the air surrounding your tedium, your hard work, your love for the food, for me. Call me when the food is ready, as if I am still sat in my room, waiting. Because mom, listen, if you stop cooking, what smells will I use to find my way back home? 3.You. Do not change a thing. If the years begin to dig their trenches alongside your eyes or in the depth of your brow, as if making preparations for the ultimate battle, nationalize their shovels, imprison them with no trial. Be ruthless, mom, can you even do that? Do not let the powerful brown of your hair gentrify like Bed-Stuy, or let the corners of your mouth resign into the grimace of retirement homes. When I come back to visit, please, be just the way I had left you. Mom, do not change a thing. Love, Your son I couldn’t send that letter. Because I realized that if selfishness was one letter, and not 11, it would be the letter written by a kid demanding his mom not to change. To freeze time in anticipation of his sporadic visits, to stop living until the phone rings and I am on my way, and your vocal chords strain under the pressure of their rebirth, and your mind already on its mental path through grocery aisles and parking lots, just so I can feel like everything is the same as it always was, so I can pretend I never left you in the past as I went about in search of my future. Thank you for being a willing accomplice in this crime, mom, but I think its time to turn myself in. So go ahead, throw out my notebooks, rid yourself of your pots and your pans; let your veins emerge from their shyness, let your eyelids surrender to gravity, let age ravage the fibers of your body as long as your heart – your heart it doesn’t touch. So mom, even if you stop making Schnitzel, I’ll always find my way back home.