Daytona Beach, 2004
For you reader,
I took a picture of my hand,
skin convulsing in wreaths of locomotion
under white-lighted halos,
my arm from the elbow
shaking—I could not keep the camera steady
long enough to find
the heart of the poem:
A movie stub,
a red stamp on my hand,
two couches floating in and out
of my imagination
as the three realms merged into one.
Enough nickels and dimes,
exact change for a
leaving photo foam.
I was in the middle of the compression,
stunned in multiplex cinema attached to the hotel.
a thousand ponds of thought
in the way.
I knew I’d lose this tiny angel of a poem if I ran.
The panic! thick
I did nothing but count the escalators of my descent.
but where is the third? I went up three
but the last is gone, risen—
What floor is this?
My mind, a damp fire, desperate for someone to listen.
O mighty ocean,
I called you
but you were busy, so I ditched you.
O Lord, I came to you second
as I was coming down from my cinematic high
when I saw a brown leather couch, dimly lit,
a stage prop
halfway down a dark hall. Hands
reaching into my pockets—a notebook!
The lights went out, the sweeper was run;
everyone was leaving, but I sat there like an injured man,
both ankles broken from mindful dancing.
Fragments of the conversation we had
the night before, the night when I was robbed
while sleeping, dreaming of you,
replaying our conversation
about how you still needed a veil,
how you were going to play your oboe in Church,
how you still wanted me to call you
around three. My Lord speaks tonight,
sending karmic love letters
along the jet stream
for all the things I have done to make her smile;
the Poseidon pulse washing in and out,
and I wonder when he will wash away this feeling
but it stays! it stays!
and I know she is thinking of me
and that the Atlantic Carrier
will make an exception and print
the complete poems of my heart.
After midnight now
as the great mother releases a filter to me, just tonight,
to capture the earth’s naked beauty,
to discover my own fortune,
unharmed by danger the night before
as my hands, now delirious, not mine,
are caught in verbalized nettings,
in the haze of earth as heaven:
I cannot contain my nervous joy.
I return to my bed, undress, then dress.
It is the time of lovers now,
and I know that you are kissing your pillow
thinking about where I am now.
My own angel muse,
milling around the veranda,
her wings covered in maple syrup;
I clean them with sea salts.
I let her talk about 60 watt bulbs as candles of the Menorah —
the meaning dims when I try to actualize
in this cave
in this city
where my pen moves with seismic certainty:
the tape runs,
the whole cosmos
knows it has to bow down now
so write boy write
because it’s fading when you think.
you are creating my heaven while I sleep,
am I in charge of the splendor of yours?
even now, re-imagining the shadowy figure
who moves in stealth
looking for cash in the sun-burnt brow of my wallet.
Aloe trails, the moisture
as my name floats somewhere on a cell phone with a low battery.
The panic of your name,
allowed loose on the beach
The wall against your back
is my back,
the split seconds you woke during the night
were my kisses.
This is me at my best, my holy time traveling done,
your chest heaving from the pollen in your heaven.
I am working on that.
I am working on that.
You, take the picture, take it, here, now, and now go
where I go when I go to sleep
to see what she has done with my garden—
I do this for the reader,
glass marbles, blue and green swirls,
blown up, passing around
rolling rolling rolling
in my mother’s bathtub,
the one with the claw feet that no one ever bathed in,
the one we had built for looks,
where I leave you for the night.