22 August 2009

On the Occasion of Thursday in Bronxville

A Filipino lady
in a green dress
hawks mucus
into an uneven star
onto the asphalt.
It sizzles.

The train to New York City
flies through the village
without stopping
and the hardware store here
is called Tru-Value.

Sweaty girls and sparrows
flitter across the bricks.
There are no boys in sight.
no skateboards or
cigarettes held in cupped hands.
Just girls in sticky dresses
and dust bathing sparrows
with their beaks open,
and one of the girls
keeps saying,

The theater’s doors open
ejecting the weekday matinee audience
into the heat,
seniors and children
because all the mommies and the daddies
in Bronxville are at work.
The kids and the oldsters,
they blink in the light
and they sigh
for the heat and the
moisture hung heavy
in the dirty air.

The only dwarf in Bronxville
hustles through a crosswalk
with a cell phone to her ear
and she is speaking something
that isn’t English.
It might be Russian
or Polish or Ukrainian,
but the sparrows don’t care.
They think her phone is
something good to eat
and cloud around her
hoping for crumbs..

21 August 2009

It Was "Hey!"

and every one's word was for me
to do me a favor, to warn, to better get ready

Remember that girl who could melt metal with her voice?
Remember that girl who jumped the tracks for another beer?

And there she is with bruises
Blue trophies of boredom and adventure
you force me to laughter," she says
She also:
"...appreciates the attention but...[she] has a lot on [her] mind...."

Chasing her name down dark hallways
and "slashed" is not too strong a word
to describe the angry black stokes with which it has been painted.
Another good word would be "hungry."

20 August 2009

Bus Poem #8

We love the diesal-sweet smoking blast
from the bus we’re riding west, riding east,
just riding to get to where we want to go,
just riding to take us home where we want to be.
Are those mountains in the distance?
Are we going toward them?

(written for the Albuquerque SunTran Poetry in Motion Project, 1999. This one wasn't taken, but they did accept an excerpt from "In the Era of Machines" which is posted elsewhere on this blog.)

19 August 2009

A New Kind of Kissing

has been created

has erupted

between us, she and I.

Breath is pulled away,

eyes open only to dilate again and again,

our tongues become together a fugue.

Our tongues become knots,

our knots become words,

our words become.

We come.

Our words rise above us

and bless themselves

by blessing us

by becoming.

18 August 2009

17 August 2009

Irony Can Be So...So...So Ironic

I remember sitting in a vinyl upholstered booth in a restaurant called Slappy's. It was a restaurant like a chain place, like a Denny's or a Big Boy or an IHOP or a Village Inn, with all the chain place type fixtures and those huge laminated menus with pictures of everything and a huge children's menu fix prix. It is a kind of restaurant in which I am rarely. Ordinarily, when I leave my home to eat I eat: ethnic, greasy spoon, or credit-card self-indulgent, in that order. For me, eating at a place like Slappy's on a winter Wednesday afternoon is like going to Red Lobster for their Super Shrimp Feast Weekend or maybe spending my birthday at the Olive Garden wearing a funny hat while the waiters all sing "Happy Birthday" in phonetic Italian, a candle sputters in my chocolate canoli, and somebody takes a lot of pictures. Or drinks after work, TGIF!, at Bennigan's in the mall. Or jamming on karaoke night at the Ramada Inn. It just doesn't happen that often. It just isn't on.

So, the point first of all is how odd it was for me to be in that Slappy's place in the first place. I had been doing odds and ends at the bank and the post office and I decided to see the dollar matinee of a Steven Segal movie, a kind of movie I rarely see unless it's at a dollar show or on video, and I decided to kill the half-hour with coffee and pie. I really don't know why I thought "coffee and pie" but I did and there was that place, Slappy's, only about four blocks down from the Hiland Theater. So, I parked and grabbed my book and went in. It was pretty empty in there since it was too late for lunch and too early for dinner, and there weren't that many people around, waitresses or customers, and they were all mixed couple septuagenarians and two girls about my age, respectively.

The sign said "Please Seat Yourself" and I moved down to the smoking section counter. A waitress was right there, bam, and I asked her what kind of pie they had and instead of telling me she opened a menu and pointed to the dessert section and the list had about fifteen kinds of pie. She stood there tapping her pencil on her pad and looking down with her head tilted and her mouth in a crooked half-yawn/half-sigh or over at the other waitress or basically anywhere except at me. I asked her what kind of pie was best and she just said something like, "Depends on what you like to eat."

I thought that was a kind of strange thing for her to say but decided on pecan pie and she was gone before I could say "coffee, too, please." She came back and, bam, she threw the plate down in front of me and stood there like she wanted me to say something about what a bitch she was being. I asked her for the coffee and she gave me a look that said "Oh, yeah, right. You would want coffee" but she brought a pot down and sort of slopped some in the cup at my place. And the saucer. And the paper place mat with the map of New Mexico's historical and scenic points-of-interest. So, that was pretty much too much and I said, "Do you have a problem?" and, bam, the other waitress was there with a cloth to wipe up and the first waitress went back down by the cash register.

I asked the new waitress what was going on and she just said something like "you know how it is" which didn't make much sense but seemed conciliatory. I tried to read my book and eat my pie and drink my coffee but the two waitresses seemed to spend a lot of time together looking at me and not talking when I looked at them. It was creepy so I just ate as fast as I could and didn't ask for a second cup and just dropped three bucks on the counter and walked out. They both stared at me the whole time.

Now what was really classic about the whole experience was that in the movie that I went to see later that afternoon, one of those action/adventure blow-'em-ups that I normally don't have much interest in except as a way to fill up an empty afternoon or evening, in this movie the main character was Steven Segal and he was a cook on a ship and he spent the entire first part of the movie doing this running joke about making his pies, cooking his pies, worrying about his pies getting burned, and then getting pissed-off that his pies got burned. A restaurant I never go to, I movie I never see, and pies all over the place. Strange shit like this happens to me all the time.

16 August 2009

On The Occasion Of The Unveiling Of A Statue Of A Representation Of The Feeling Of Estrangement

A man with his back to the window

wonders where that noise is coming from;

the one that sounds like a 45rpm kitten

being on played on 33,

not the noise like a throbbing hum.

That one's from the refrigerator

and he already knows that.

Inside a helicopter thousands of feet in the air,

the man on the radio tells us about the traffic.

When we look up we can see him

but he can't see us.

Inside his head, he's thinking of a woman

and the way she hooks her bra in the front

and then twists it around

and then kind of shrugs into the rest of it.

He loves that.

A woman moves her eyes away from the screen for an instant

and that instant is multiplied,

falls away faster and faster

until it becomes itself a blurring mosaic of fossilized moments,

and there is coming now a sound of applause

that becomes the sound of waves.

Her hand is poised above the keyboard;

it floats over all the letters and all the numbers.