Five Poems


I looked in the mirror
and liked what I saw.

I thought, if I could bottle this,
I would be a rich man.

I did bottle it
and set up a stand

in front of my house.
A dwarf walked up.

“How much?”
he asked.

I turned my face away from him.
“You could never afford it.”

“Oh yeah?”
he raised his eyebrows.

“Three dollars,”
I said.

He shook his head
and walked away.



This morning my face, after I
tried to rearrange it by putting
the nose up here, one lip here,
the other there, etc., snapped back
into its original formation
as if fated to be that way forever,
and in the same way my schedule,
after I repeatedly tried to make time
for you by changing an appointment
here, not going to a show there,
kept returning to its original
ladderlike formation, and I wonder
if these curiously similar experiences
have something to do with the fact
that you’re only an imaginary friend,
Mr. Puddlewump, or if they have
to do with the fact that yesterday all
the boomerangs I’d thrown
during the various stages of my life
returned within minutes of each other,
hitting me on the back of the head
in sequence, like dancers
that can’t wait to get offstage
on a drizzly night when the audience
is tiny and the manager appears
to be drunk backstage, or not.



Hey, don’t say you love my work.
I know where these discussions
tend to go, and so do you:

back to my place where we
grill giraffe steaks, maybe
open a Zimbabwean merlot.

Then you, perched on a djembe
drum, watch me wax my double-
barreled elephant gun

until it gleams like a bad symbol.
Then some recorded swallow song,
and the next day you’re gone.



“I’m so dumb: why do I listen to Ray LaMontagne?
Who loves to weep like this? Whoever loves, I guess,”

I text. “There you go again, answering your own
question, like sunrise answering darkness,”

you reply, finding the rhetorical in the astronomical,
bridging the cosmological with the verbal, the poetic,

the comparative, which is what I’ve always loved
about you, as they say–or at least about your brain.

But back to the sappy music of Ray LaMontagne,
where were we, I remember our first meeting, at a diner.

That can’t be right. It’s impossible to know how green
your pea-coat was, how orange your earrings, and you

asked me about them, so I know you were thinking
about them, and about me, as was I, about me, them,

and also you. So much consciousness, like glow
between galaxies, effusing from one body to the other,

I only wish you hadn’t diminished, body, face, to texts,
to nothing. I mean, I try to be poetic. We all do,

and as much as I keep going around and around
about the past, it’s in the present that I still miss you.



It’s interesting to me
how cute some things are.

Like buttons. Buttons are
reputed to be cute, at least.

I think bees are cute.
And tiny, fake apples.

I once had a shirt made out
of tiny, fake apples. It

hung about my torso
loosely like lightweight

chain mail. I always wore
a t-shirt under it. Or,

as I would say, a teesh.
Usually I wore my I ♥

NY teesh. “Lotsa little
apples,” I’d cry, “one

big one!” People got that.
Or I’d ask, “Can you see

my apples?” They would
laugh. I hated it. Later

I got rid of that shirt.
Now I hate everything

I’ve ever said or done.
I guess that’s partly what

I mean by how
cute some things are.