Friday, April 17, 2009

Fall Before You Know It

this one took forever, but it was worth it:

He was in the botanic garden, off
The walkway’s rutted iron-railed atlas
In early Spring, the grass spaced out in clumps,
The mud more dominant, the earth erumped
And watered recently, pools sit stagnant, brown
In the cool shade of a bush. He saw
Them here first. Tracks. Footprints? No, never that.
But three-toe pointed tracks, describing where
He should look, as if he had weathervanes
For eyes, out swaying tri-pointedly, caught
By wind in three directions, all at once,
The blowing making his dimensions, not
Him, not his two-paired catch-all eyes, matched
In iris to the brown of the mud pools.
The little pointed tracks make three of them,
The flecks in his eyes, too, the gold-burned breast
Of the once robin there, its own prints paired
(though in batches of three) dancing past
the time of his eyes now, still rooted now
as if, by seeing ponds made full again
by the emptying effort of pressing feet,
he could reincarnate marching, puffed breast.

He blinks. The sun enters the stage, to shine
In one window of the would-be night scene
Of a secret aspiring nature boy.
The new bright rays call him to the buds
Of a perched low magnolia, upturned
And spired, the heavy branch candelabra
Of waxy tapered petals, pale, the sheaths
(the candlesticks) furred green, just parting a crack
to show the lie—some candles have turned
to fireworks, to asterisks of bloom,
some halfway sprayed between the two.

He thinks, when did it happen, this stage-burst?
If I stayed up all night to stare, he asks,
If, standing, I were there, would it emerge?
(Would he believe in continuity?)
He feels the force then, now, the animate—
That endlessly flip card, the card flipper,
Who spins roulette wheels past our eyes in slides,
Whose series we cannot define, not quite
(Though we will load the film and snap it closed
and set the aperture to speed and push
open the shutter and, released, close it;
and we will dim the bulbs and pull the screen,
project onto acetate flips whose speed
is past separating, is past distinct
segments, or slides, the trick of whole we make
for the flip animator’s pleasure-view.)

He sees the buds pass into shadow-dark,
Thinks of dawn-light, invigorator, first
Wave-particle, that tricky spasm glow
Grows, evident, the primal paradox.
He walks, a made shadow appearing past
To stretch behind his legs—obscure, now, too,
The locomotion comes from parts unmet
As if he’s found a you unknown to you
(And now even ourselves are a frontier)
The meter on the house’s back wall spins
The power is always on, current, now
Always around, even the brain’s neurons
Electric firing, on and off, impulses
Of code and flipped orders to breathe,
To spit (to film) to walk, print projects
In massive rolling media of talk,
To bleed in vessels, mass circulation,
Sent messages returned to pump and think,
Renewed impulses before the eyes’ next blink
(It all enough to make his head spin round!)

The lengthened pass of fading light arrives
To knock on doors at nearly eye level
The reel’s last flickers rattle in the booth
As the projector gives away the room
With shelves of books in quaint rows lined up
A few with tapers, marked, midway or so,
Or bells inside, still, green ribbons tucked
In tight for later rescue, pendulate,
The time of reading passing without sands.

The robin puffs its breast and hops in earth
Impressionable, makes records in print.
The tracks are splayed out in three like deer’s.
The water draws out from under the pools
To roots below, the tracks, now shallow, fools.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Feelings

I love winter in New York, and Brooklyn especially. I do, I really do. Most people take a big dump on winter and just hunker down, tuck in, and wait for it to end. I know, I was once one of those people. When I came back to the East Coast after five years in Sunny-Like-A-Tanning-Bed California, I thought I'd hate snow and the like double, having become a thin-blooded leatherskin. No such outcome. In winter you have the magic wand spell of Christmas in New York, when the last deciduous trees planted in the ground have shed their leaves, and the first little truck beds have unloaded their spruceloads and firloads and scotch pineloads onto the sidewalks in rows of tied bundles, making walking down some streets an adventure in new sap-filled pedestrians. The smells is tremendous. Winter for the most part has little in the way of smells, but when they come they come in hard. Evergreens, the smokewisp of a halal cart or a kebab cart with its charcoal blazing, the rank steam from a manhole cover or subway vent, all old kitchen sponge smelling. Today was one of those April days that has a little winter left in it, a little dank damp chill in the soft rain that's been hovering in big wet gray clouds, and I passed by a falafel cart and instantly salivated at the shawerma and lamb goodies sizzling up into my nose, blasting right past the suggestion of wet concrete that had been lingering up to my nose.

Winter is full of contemplation, marination, hibernation. You can't beat it for introspection, and slowing down, and just reassessing everything in a good way. New Year's resolutions are aptly timed, as February, man: it's a short month but I'll be durned if there ain't a barrel of time in each day.

But mostly it's been textbook spring here, with bright fresh ultrablue skies after periodic rains or storms, temps. fluctuating between nearly 60 and almost sweaty in long sleeves to this past weekend's 40s with gale-force winds. Spring is an adventure. It makes you move. Spring is ants in your pants and I gotta dance. Spring is puberty love, unlike the lush overgrown sweatgland sexiness of summer. You can't beat Spring here, except maybe with Autumn, which is closeby as my favorite season here. And you know how I feel about Winter now--really only Summer kinda blows because it smells like garbage and nervous tourists' first time on the subway farts. Not so much fun.

You ever feel like things aren't happening around you so much as happening /to/ you? That's how my Spring has been so far, and I'd like to share some of those moments now, in that impatient gait and hop that is the feeling in the air roundabout April and May.

Spring is the wind and rain beating down the purple and blue and pink hyacinths so many times they just lie there on the mulch, limp and defeated on their fleshy stalks, the protective thick leaves failing as shields around them and all splatted out.

Spring is a girl or two I have no business even glancing at catching my eyes and smiling and looking away coy, all like a flash in a camera it's so fast.

Spring is me walking down fourteenth st. toward third avenue, to the Trader Joe's wineshop, and this incredibly ugly square orange and red faced woman, fat as a blimp and sort of shifting her heft in a seated position uncomfortable (I think she was sitting on one of those enormous FDNY standpipes, couldn't tell because she consumed it with her ass), catching my eye and waving me over and saying through half a burnt down cigarette hanging from her lips and her fried out hairspray mullet stiffly waving, "Hey, sir! Sir! Can you come over and help me?" And me, dopey, walking over and seeing she needs help getting a bag full of stuff into an empty bag. She's got too much going on, and needs about three more arms or thirty fewer pounds. So I bend down and kneel a little and hold on to the opposite end of the bag her stunted dinosaur arms flail around without reaching, and we get it done, and it all seems so mundane that after the thank you and me walking away I get the panic, I get the fear, and reach around to my back pocket to feel for my wallet, make sure it was still there. I was positive this was some sort of con-job, like Olivia was telling me about on Eastern Parkway where the woman asks you for money and when you reach for your wallet out your purse the dude sitting on the park bench whose just gotten up as if to start walking dashes at you and snatches the wallet and/or purse and runs away. And I'm patting furiously on my right no-ass cheek and sighing in relief cause, guess what? Still there. She just needed help. I couldn't believe no one had stopped before then.

Spring is the starlings with their irridescent green oily chestruffs all pointed out, the men being men and beaking out squawky pick up lines to the dainty smaller plainer girlbirds, who hop and peck at the grass and nibble on castoff popcorn kernels, pretending not to hear.

Spring is the other side of daffodil hill, the north I think it's east corner of where grand army plaza starts at eastern if you're coming from the east, the corner with the statue of the guy on the horse that's greenish copper or brass or something, and this blinding yellow bushmass of forsythia ringed by countless stands of daffodils, white daffys, yellow daffys, fried egg orange in the middle white on the fringe daffys, white daffys with a pale pink or orange around the trumpet ruff, tiny yellow daffys, drifting seductive wafts of soft floral scents, reminding you that flowers have sex, too.

Spring is the magnolia court at brooklyn botanic garden. Enormous offwhite yulan buds busting out of their fuzzy pods and billowing down feathery creamy petals, or starburst white almost daisy looking buds, or gigantor pink and purplish red almost rose looking almost tulip looking buds on small sapling looking trees, or the tea-stained edges of about to rot droopy petals, giving off that weird overripe smell of damp decaying sweetness, that cloying molasses wrapped in soil smell that's weirdly appealing and skunky.

Spring is the rabbit bounding away into the unbloomed peonies to savor its munching unwatched. Spring is the dead rabbit splayed and deposited at the foot of one of the magnolia tree, rotting openly in the bright fresh wind and open aired sun.

Spring is the wrenching tug of opening the windows for the first time in months, and watching the cat go crazy, and sniffing tentatively and listening to the birds with prickly gone to sleep but are waking up pins and needles feet feelings in the ear, then breathing deeply and filling the lungs, letting the new air nourish you.

Spring is getting up eager to look at the cherry branches, and giggling and letting out glee sounds when a new nibble of green pokes out from the bud, one step closer to the papery super soft pink kleenex of the cherry blossoms, and their brief fleeting stay in our world.

Spring is the robin hopping, and screeching, and hopping some more.

Spring is the funnelled dew and rainwater in the tulip cone, and drinking it fresh and cold and alive.

Spring is God's water breaking all over you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I prolly should keep it first person throughout, but the other edits are improvements, I think.

Sitting the Fence

I'm drunk and it is raining, more, still more--
I'm drunk! And it is raining! Dark and loud.
My head sits swimming, reeling, dizzywet.
I reel and shout, my truth bad noise let out,
The outside biting, radiant, a tongue
Swollen and rough and talking temples' shout
Into backbitten prayer, an attempt
To tell me something, invasively
Elongating the world, to stretch past known,
To clutter loud, the bird's beak’s bleating sound
But in your ear, too close, oh too damn close--
A clarion rubble, a disorder.

He stood at the window, the day asquat
Beside his watch, undrunk, his breath held, taut:
It's a wet squirrel! Hunched and balled up stiff,
The mange of clumped fur limp and in brushpoints,
The gray over its shoulder a relief
For lumpen gray, expanse and hunch astride,
Unmoving, patiently passing by, two,
Exclusive, not mine, then or now, out there:
My head a gong, a ringing for sobriety,
For measure, for reform—to sit the fence.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sitting the Fence

Not done but immediate (I'd like to make it a sonnet maybe):

I'm drunk and it is raining, more, still more--
I'm drunk! And it is raining! Fast and loud.
My head sits swimming, reeling, dizzy wet.
I reel and shout, my truth too loud let out,
The outside biting, radiant, a tongue
swollen and rough and licking temples'shout
into backbitten prayer, an attempt
to tell me something, invasively
elongating the world, to stretch past known,
to clutter loud, the bird's beak bleating sound
but in your ear, too close, oh too damn close--
a clarion rubble, a disorder.

I stand at the window, I squat and heft
and gasp aloud, not drunk, my breath held, taut,
it's a wet squirrel, hunched and balled up stiff,
the mange of clumped fur ragged, pointed, limp,
the gray over his shoulder a relief
for lumpen gray, expanse and hunch astride,
unmoving, patiently passing by, two,
exclusive, not mine, then or now, out there:
my head a gong, a ringing for sobriety,
for measure, for reform--to sit the fence.