June 11, 2008

Dreams walking in broad daylight
Three hun-dred six-ty five de-grees



Sarah Pickering, Fire Scene, 2007

Retirement
-- by Denis Johnson

i would like to be just an old man with my gin,
retireing even from these leaves into
my big, gradual silence beyond the wood
and it will be good,
wife, because i have pointed to you,
and you have become real. within

this darker stillness my eyes grow too wide.
it must be that seeing you in the trees
becoming softer than i ever dreamed
has made it all seem
a multitude of nonsense, all the seas,
the planets, all i wrote. i lied,

i swear to you i lied, becoming old and so
very drunk, when i did not lie to you.


Your Ass
-- by Lewis MacAdams Jr.

I study a deep, green painting
and dream of 'your ass'
I am sitting in this sidewalk cafe
trying to master
the lost music of Hank Johnson

Anything arbitrary is tough to choke down
a brown tin ashtray, black coffee
empty Greek cigarette pack

someone is here
he must have come down alone
wanting a drink of water

it is dangerous, he hoped
to write the new language
it is like a stringy westerner
from down the line
singing alone

the music of the country
doesn't 'flare'
it sidles up like need
bow-legged
and coughing

it's as if there were a cow pony
behind me
he cries and is saying
the only word
he knows in my language
'your ass'
and it was taught
by Hank Johnson

Even that
saving grace
is now gone
wandering through the crowded room
bowing, awarding
the correct change
so being swallowed
like the old west itself
and the obscenities and cold water
of Hank Johnson


used book store
-- by charles simic

lovers hold hands in never-opened novels.
the page with a recipe for cucumber soup is missing.
a dead man writes of his happy childhood on a farm,
of riding in a balloon over lake erie.

a sudden draft shuts his book in my hand.
while a philosopher asks how is it possible
to maintain the theologically orthodox doctrine
of eternal punishment of the damned?

let's see. there may be sand among the pages
of a travel guide to Egypt of even a dead flea
that once bit the ass of the mysterious Abigail
who scribbled her name teasingly with an eye pencil.

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