October 20, 2006

we've got baskets, basket of love


Ian Cooper, Doctor Is Out, 2006

Vacation’s End
-- by Wendy Breuer

Already the shasta daisies look
like Catholic schoolgirls after recess,
the starch gone out of their skirts.
Blanket flowers and coreopsis hang,
heads heavy, hungover with seeds,
and Bermuda grass has crowded back
into every crevice. In June,
stalks of lilies and foxgloves
stretched and lengthened, buds
ready to let loose
but now they’re opened
and spent in the dry heat
of August, a part of summer,
but truly a separate season—
the season of panic,
of ornamental shrubbery
past pruning, past order,
overrun by returning chaparral,
depleted by drought,
your carefully constructed landscape
almost lost, like your parents
who’ve grown too old
and your children
who’ve scattered.

Man Walking to Work
-- by Denis Johnson

the dawn is a quality laid across
the freeway like the visable
memory of the ocean that kept all this
a secret for a hundred million years.
I am not moving and I am not standing still.
I am only something the wind strikes and clears,
and I feel myself fade like the sky,
the whole of Ohio a mirror gone blank.
my jacket keeps me. my zipper
bangs on my guitar. lord god help me
out by the lake after the shift at Frididaire
when i stop laughing and taste how wet the beer
is in my mouth, suddenly recognizing the true
wedding of passage and arrival I am invited to.

digital recording (after Eliot)
-- by Joanne Burns

one thinks of all the hands
that whip money out of ATMs
quick as condoms, headache pills;
that jiggle herbal tea bags in thick
mugs like puppeteers; that fill
out lotto forms on a stream of
thin white shelves; that are
dropping shaggy track pants on
the floor beside a bed, that
press touchfones more than flesh;
that vote in cardboard booths
with short lead pencils, tied
to string like small harpoons:
that tremble at the mirror too
close to the patinas of their skin;
one thinks of all the hands, burning
teaspoons in a thousand motel rooms

My Angels, Their Pink Wings
-- by Rachel Loden

Who, if I pitched a hissy fit, would even
blink a powdered eyelid

among the angelic orders? The night sky
is indifferent and glittery with facts.

A third millennium giddily
boots up and Lenin, firm and pliant

from his glycerine bath, waits for kisses
in the glass sarcophagus. But I too

wish to call a meeting of the Committee
for the Deathless Beauty

of the Tsar, the standing Congress for
the Recarnation of the President. I too

wish to lie in state inside the Hall
of Pillars, in the echoes of the Capitol

Rotunda, cooing to my tricky
one, crooning to my trembling Republic.

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