November 10, 2006

may your shade be sweet


John Winslow, Six Characters in Search of An Auteur, 2003

I’m In Love With A German Film Star
-- by Todd Swift

Somewhere in Kansas or wherever Wichita is
I stop to dally with a waitress in a summer dress
under a diner’s neon kiss; I’m wearing a UPS
uniform, I drive for them. My name tag lies

when it says: W.W. Pabst. I make a highway
angel by slyly helicoptering my sleeved arms
on the line that divides the independent cinema
of this scene. I have the ball cap and the smirk,

when you stamped my lips with FIRST CLASS
you really went to work. I voted for Cheney
but not for Bush, only in the sense I’d vote for
four o’clock but not the evening news on its heels;

I’m filled with an unbearable urge to be 32 always
and to marry a chick named Miss Miss. I am
basically filled with the luminous possibilities
of American landscape as it unfolds in movies.

If I was a plane I’d never have to land -
I’d be the land, you see, I’d already be the land,
and the way wings spread over and below,
the way a shirt is also a stain is also a shadow.

A Dream of Suffocation
-- by Robert Bly

Accountants hover over the earth like helicopters,
Dropping bits of paper engraved with Hegel's name.
Badgers carry the papers on their fur
To their den, where the entire family dies in the night.

A chorus girl stands for hours behind her curtains
Looking out at the street.
In a window of a trucking service
There is a branch painted white.
A stuffed baby alligator grips that branch tightly
To keep away from the dry leaves on the floor.

The honeycomb at night has strange dreams:
Small black trains going round and round--
Old warships drowning in the raindrop.

The Suitor
-- by Jane Kenyon

We lie back to back. Curtains
lift and fall,
like the chest of someone sleeping.
Wind moves the leaves of the box elder;
they show their light undersides,
turning all at once
like a school of fish.
Suddenly I understand that I am happy.
For months this feeling
has been coming closer, stopping
for short visits, like a timid suitor.

Old Coat
-- by Liam Rector

Dressed in an old coat I lumber
Down a street in the East Village, time itself

Whistling up my ass and looking to punish me
For all the undone business I have walked away from,

And I think I might have stayed
In that last tower by the ocean,

The one I built with my hands and furnished
Using funds which came to me at nightfall,in a windfall....

Just ahead of me, under the telephone wires
On this long lane of troubles, I notice a gathering

Of viciously insane criminals I'll have to pass
Getting to the end of this long block in eternity.

There's nothing between us. Good
I look so dangerous in this coat.

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