October 13, 2006

all the green green bottles
but it won't last forever

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Green Butterfly), 2002

The Drinker
-- by Robert Lowell

The man is killing time - there's nothing else.
No help now from the fifth of Bourbon
chucked helter-skelter into the river,
even its cork sucked under.

Stubbed before-breakfast cigarettes
burn bull's-eyes on the bedside table;
a plastic tumbler of alka seltzer
champagnes in the bathroom.

No help from his body, the whale's
warm-hearted blubber, foundering down
leagues of ocean, gasping whiteness.
The barbed hooks fester. The lines snap tight.

When he looks for neighbors, their names blur in the window,
his distracted eye sees only glass sky.
His despair has the galvanized colour
of the mop and water in the galvanized bucket.

Once she was close to him
as water to the dead metal.

He looks at her engagements inked on her calendar.
A list of indictments.
At the numbers in her thumbed black telephone book.
A quiver full of arrows.

Her absence hisses like steam,
the pipes sing...
even corroded metal somehow functions.
He snores in his iron lung,
and hears the voice of Eve,
beseeching freedom from the Garden's
perfect and ponderous bubble. No voice
outsings the serpent's flawed, euphoric hiss.

The cheese wilts in the rat-trap,
the milk turns to junket in the cornflakes bowl,
car keys and razor blades
shine in an ashtray.

Is he killing time? Out on the street,
two cops on horseback clop through the April rain
to check the parking meter violations -
their oilskins yellow as forsythia.

Village With Dark Sun
-- by Frank Stanford

From where I live I can see it
The dark sun over the village
It's like living in a ship
Where I do
The wind rattles my book
Like a handful of tickets
I find out I have change in my cuffs
I feel like a mate
Standing guard over a deck of cards
The red ladies look for land
And the black ones have found it
The breeze always has something
It hasn't played
Some paper with no writing
I think of the stowaway in the lifeboat
No one has made fast
Like a blindfolded prisoner tied to a chair
The wind is taking
He goes around the perfect sphere of wood
In the whirl
Pool of the whistle
And he takes his flogging
Without blinking an eye
I live on the island the lake has made
I don't get around too much
Living here
A kind of buccaneer
On the other end of a bell rope
In an abandoned churchhouse

This Song is for You
-- by Hirsh Silverman

I'm feelin' high and happy
High enough to sing a reefer song
You are my lotus blossom
My sunken treasure
My stratosphere where flamingos fly
I don't know why
But it's only 3 o'clock in the morning and I'm feelin' high and happy
Must be the stuff is here and it's mellow
And it's voodoo hoodoo
That's the way it is
Where there's a jumpin' in a julip joint
A-doin' the head-rag hop
Hey let's boogie
The moon is full
This song is for you
And I don't care what time it is.


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