I thought I would take a day off.
I wandered outside. Sun in October. Too warm to be seasonable.
The unseasonable is more native to the place.
I found my body rearing up in gratitude.
All I needed was the scent of woman, the sound of horns and reeds,
Billie Holiday’s voice, piano by Thelonius Monk,
and the Prez on his sax of course. All of which
dated me badly. Who among the women I knew
would still know me if I sang instead of stuttered . . .
There are no days off where I live,
not inside here where the fire keeps being stoked and no one arrives
to warn me it’s too warm upstairs,
where am I taking you?
Another shovel in the boiler for old times in my father’s coal mines.
Where was I?
The curious contraption called America is being dismantled again.
Are the cryptos coming out of the fascist closet?
Why should I fear the vote of the addle-brained, the big toers
and fidgeters, anybody hanging their tea bags over to be fellated,
which means only men need apply for service,
and here we thought the military was growing
I don’t know where I was.
Am I still there? Why don’t I shut up and take the day off?
Listen to "God Bless the Child" and "Brilliant Corners,"
mourn the closing of Manhattan’s very own juke joints . . .
Take off your goddam duds and stroll out to take the sun instead.
Don’t fret about the cops. I’ve got them cornered.
With a poem, this one, locked and loaded.
In northern Minnesota the gangs come from the triangular rez
and they mean what they are.
If I had lived here in my childhood or even youth
do you truly know, as I do, how flamboyantly out of hand
you’d be? I mean now, for the early years
are like Willie the Shake said, the past that is prologue . . .
Or did Ophelia’s daddy say that? If you can remember his name
send in three boxtops and a Kennedy half dollar
and receive forever a monthly pension of Washington quarters,
which means in a year three hundred smackers
for doing nothing but filling the time now
you have bared it all and are running wild
having taken Sunday off from your penmanship lessons.
. . . She was standing atop the Sangre de Cristos,
her cap on goofus patrol, this beauty with only one home
for her daughter and herself, and when she took a trip
she brought home pictures of herself I know someone
fell in love with . . . He, or was it she? did a testimonial
to her beauty on You-Tube and posted it on the profile
of the Face Book page her fanatic had access to, or am I
the one I think I am and therefore crazy about your photo
but unable to imagine myself in your life otherwise . . .
No, I’m not the one up there, I’m out here, north and back
of you whose back is now facing me, lately of Alburquerque
the way the Spaniards originally spelled the city named
in honor of its first Duke. I am off to Taos in my mind,
where I’ve seen many beauties whose weather is reminiscent.
(10 October 2010)