Tonight the mama's boys and
the compressed are screaming
and stumbling on the sidewalk.
The confetti flies across your
big windows and I see a
man across the street huddling
in a doorway covered in
blankets and papers and
beer bottles. Here I sit
on you couch in your
eleventh-floor loft and
everyone is sleeping
cuddled under warm wool
blankets but I lie here
sqooshed and awake and
cold. I look over at you
and the corners converge
into a fetus and I
am scared to touch you that
I may break the flimsy
bubble that envelopes you.
This couch was so soft
before when your head lay
on my feet and we
were laughing. But now
I am thrust between
your arm and the couch's
and I feel the springs digging into me and I
can only escape sinking
into the pillows by hovering between glass
How long it's been since we've gone on a long walk together. I'm always too busy and you always walk too slow and we never get much of anywhere. Remember the days in apartment 4M as in Mary? You would kill the rats and I would scream and laugh. We would jump into cardboard boxes and hide and daddy wouldn't see us and oh remember when we huddled on the floor beneath the couch? That couch was so big then--I wonder when it got so small. As a matter of fact, it wasn't just the couch that got smaller, but everything; the walls seemed to tighten around me, and you--well, you got put into the cage. That cage must be horrible. I want to free you sometimes but I don't.
Our paws grew so quickly, and it's been so long since we've bitten at the foam of the waves at the ocean. We used to run, remember? Please be a puppy again. I'll be a puppy too and the days will be long and we'll hide in boxes, not cages.
Love, your sister,
We snuck downstairs in our slippers.
Felt tired and clean and beautiful.
Were wearing big T-shirts and boxers. We had all put on
baby powder deoderant and looked at ourselves from the corners of
our eyes in the mirror before going downstairs. Our slippers were
thin, and we were cozy and
cold. The cracks in the clean
floor stopped us. We hesitated and
giggled--we were almost there. We
slithered on into the darkness
and walked single-file through the
Wrapped in the smell of cinnamon and
black pepper. The quiet awaiting
pantry, Styrofoam egg boxes, empty
and open on the counter. The
sweet and pungent smell surrounded
us hudding and nostalgic and
for a moment we were together
in a new home and we did
not miss the one we had left.
Reaching for the eyes
The clumsy walks of wind
In Memory of Allen Ginsberg
Yesterday I found out you were gone.
You left us trembling around your bed,
hoping you were joking, hoping to see
your chest rise again in laughter.
But you didn't.
Yesterday you left us.
My father is mourning in the living
room. He is thinking about death and
staring at his African masks. The
60s are really gone. Boy did that
not come true, he says as we listen to
the times they are a changin'.
I think of you ranting about the
government in some big factory room in
SoHo and it seems odd to know you are
Now, it is you to whom we will ask:
which way does your beard point
tonight; it is you who will lead us
through supermarkets in California.
Your mother, up there waiting for you,
is still insane. Your father is
still teaching English literature to Saint
Peter. I wonder if you are crying
behind those great goggles or if that
shimmer is merely a little ironic
smile telling me you fucked all the way
to Whitman, telling me you're gonna
keep rambling and dancing forever.
People feed me cliche lines of how
your soul will live on and I nod at
them and long for Auden under my
breath to tell me something I didn't
know, or for you, to tell me something
I did know, but tell me it well.
My thoughts wander back to my father
in the living room, my father who has
lost the best minds of his generation
to smoke and distance.
Walkin down the street of this industrial city feelin blue. Sun hiding behind the clouds of smoke. Men smoking cigarettes in front of burning buildings. Women givin birth on railroad tracks. Business people choking in their suits. Artists freezin on the sidewalk. Kickin cans down the sidewalk, cold but snowless. Take a left off the main road. Street lights turn on as I walk by. Babies pushin baby carriages. Lost dogs wander into the graveyard. Big trees shakin their bony fingers at me. Dead grass dying between splitting stones. Stare at the sad gray decaying city, skull at my feet. Skull's got leaves comin out of its eyes. Green green leaves among desolation, dirt on my elbows. And among the leaves is a strawberry red, red and shining like fresh blood. It hurts me to look but I do, green leaves and a strawberry, goddamn. Wheover thought there could be beautiful life in this city of photographs and shadows?