Poem Beginning with a Line from Jack Gilbert
I was carrying supplies back up the mountain
When I heard the white birch on the other side of the mountain
Give over and split right down the middle like paper,
If you can imagine,
And the birds unsettled
In other parts of the mountain forest,
And the mountain somehow took note
And shifted. Maybe this meant snow,
Or fog, lurching towards the valley
To be pushed up again by a doomed, unseen hand.
Maybe the valley would fill
And the echo would drown and reflect instead the trees.
And I carried my supplies the rest of the way.
Not the best key, but a room of keys,
Of fans, of cigarette papers and carved wood
Mothers of God, whose own mothers, it may be said,
Might have given their daughters a heads up.
If you believe the sort of man who collects
Like a man drowning in the echo,
This medieval ritual has its modern equivalents:
Rhombus, to the oven! Or, risotto with asparagus scum!
There isn’t a recipe I haven’t fallen into.
Is this how you insert yourself into the wagging mass,
One molecule after another? Damn effective.
Slow rolling magnet dance.
Over time came the sediment and the sea became a ghetto
And now we go windsurfing.
The city wears a honeycomb under its clothes.
I wasn’t talking about Picasso but
Picasso wore a skin of flowers
Under his skin. If you want a Christmas card,
You have to peel back his lower lip
And jot your address on his teeth.
This is not the time to announce your ancestral hatred
Breakfast With You
When I push in my muscle my muscle goes blank.
Scenes from the new building housing the art
That may be better than the art or my house.
I’ll call on you from the balcony and you’ll drop that Rembrandt
like it was an oil fire.
Later, hot chocolate thick as your arm.
When I blink I see a swimming creature they tell me
Will always be with me. I wink it hello
and go after it with a spoon.
They punched holes in me and collected the sap,
though when they left, brimful, I bled sweet snow.
I say: I am changed. I was wax and now I am vapor.
I was a lock of hair and now I am an engine.
You could be in town by now, or back in the woods,
I have no way of knowing. At this I find a downward tug
like a drain opening beneath me.
This will contain the list of stories
I’m out back brushing up on my pine curtsy.
I’ve just decided to orphan myself
and it feels like white blooming disease.
The rainforest globe is not far from here,
though you will have to look in a pit,
a giant’s clay heart negative, to find it.
Farthest west and still tied to land: this is the sadness.
There is a point out there that looks like a cross,
though it might be a faraway hug.
It’s not every day you castle on your own.
One day it’s chess on the lawn, the next
a turret streaming down to the garden and the ocean.
And the path will be underwater.