POEMS: 7 Microbursts & Geysers


The Box on My Dresser

My mom put pieces of my old man in an envelope, which I keep in a small box on my dresser. She wrote his name on the envelope and circled it before handing it to me, which struck me as odd, as if I’d confuse him with all the other people I keep in small boxes on my dresser.

Inside the box, I placed a small crucifix on top of the envelope that holds pieces of my old man. I’m not sure why, exactly. It just seemed like something I should do. Every now and then, I open the box which contains my old man. I reposition the cross, smooth out the envelope and still giggle that my mom wrote his name atop it. Who else would be inside there? The one thing I never do is talk to my old man, and I feel bad about that. I bet most people who keep their dad in a box on their dresser hold chats as if their old man is listening. But I ain’t ever been one for that talking-spirit thing.

The irony of it all is that my old man was claustrophobic. He would have hated being stuffed in an envelope and kept in a box. Yeah, my old man. That guy was alright.


Searching for Frank O’Hara

Frank O’Hara died after being run over by a dune buggy.

Lucky bastard. He was young but a dune buggy will wipe you out quickly — unlike a Mack truck, which you'll see coming from a mile away.

The ending is already written, no matter how hard you try to rewrite the tale.

I went searching for the Collected Works of Frank O’Hara, but it was nowhere to be found.

America has a short memory and is too easily distracted, just as I suspected.

Isn't is always that way ...


I Will See You Tomorrow

I will see you tomorrow

Though I don’t know why and

I'll wonder what’s the point

I will see you tomorrow

Confined in a place I don’t want to be and yet have been far too many times

I will see you tomorrow

knowing the day will hinge on dissimulation

I will see you tomorrow

In bitter silence, contempt and loss.

I will see you tomorrow, and then you will walk away.


A Handful of Rockaway Traffic

I remember the standstill traffic that one day in Rockaway

Of which the Ramones sang and where Patti Smith lives in a bungalow tucked away inside a poem

Bumper to bumper we passed the time and I told myself you would not have wanted anybody else behind the wheel.

We all lose our minds in traffic, I guess,

the gridlock obfuscates the lies we choose to believe, and we are compelled to find ways to fight the boredom.

I was a sucker for the cry, always buying everything you sold.


Another Horrible August

And so now I’ve been to Texas

where my body felt like soup and real cowboys still exist. I wondered and worried what was happening up the coast. Photos of Camelot against a backdrop of crashing waves. The week before I vomited in Nashville from excessive drink, unable to stand and unable to see. You can drink fear, but it’s impossible to swallow. I always learned the hard way like the old man so often said. Yeah, I was never fit for school; only shoe-horned in that fucking place. In Houston Heights I melted and drank from a chalice poured to wash away madness. Cows groaned at sunrise in Carmine as the boy prepared to step toward the future with such awesome promise. Time is all we have that is truly ours; even our health belongs to fate. I touched down in New York, realizing I no longer wished to remember. There are no cowboys here. Just lily white posers and spoiled mama’s boys. And I don’t ever want to fake it.


Respite

I think I was just happy to get away from the East —

Philadelphia and New York City and D.C. and Boston:

Sometimes it can all become a grind.

Maybe it was the vastness I needed;

The attitude that you be you and we’ll just leave one another the fuck alone.

I needed to sweat

and stare miles into nothing —

To be around the boy and just let it be all about him and the great big world that will soon be his.

I’ve been sleeping lately more than I should — a sign perhaps I’m giving up. Or a sign, perhaps, I’m dying.


Amoeba

I am incessantly reading Eileen Myles with whom it would seem I have nothing in common, except that I share the same bad attitude and I realize that is everything. You are a brick wall and a combine and executioner. I am the crops in waiting. I am the corpse whose head rolls away spitting blood. Donate $20. Put an end to Murder Mania. The lessons taught to us as children have no legs on which to stand. Even as kids, we knew our parents and teachers were liars. We die by the bite of vipers dressed as starfish.


Empty Bottles

Bobby doesn’t come around no more to pick up the empty bottles we leave him. And now she’s worried because Bobby would never not come by to pick up his bottles. You see, they had a system.

The light blue garbage can near the side door was his, exclusively.

She put the bottles in plastic grocery bags out on Monday nights in the light blue garbage can, and Bobby would come by on Tuesday mornings to pick them up. He would ride his bike up my driveway — even in the snow.


Greta, has a thing about bikes. She doesn’t understand the wheels and she wants to eat anyone she sees riding a bike. So, whenever Bobby would peddle up the driveway, Greta would go berserk.


“Shut the fuck up,” Bobby would say. Greta would keep barking and Bobby would keep cursing at her. He didn’t know I could hear him from inside my home. But, if Bobby saw me, he would always laugh, pretending that he was just kidding around.


I didn’t cut him slack though. I don’t like people yelling at my dog. If she was barking she was doing her job — especially if she was barking at someone in my driveway. Greta didn’t know there was a system.


Bobby was in some trouble. He kept getting jumped. A few weeks earlier he was beaten pretty badly. Took some boots to the ribs and head, and had his bike stolen. The streets are a nasty place.


Bobby trusted her. She would often go look for him when it got real cold outside to make sure he was OK. She would get his coat dry cleaned when it was looking shabby. And she would make him a plate on Thanksgiving and then drive it around until she found him. So, Bobby told her shit. And that’s how we knew there were people after him.


We ain’t seen Bobby now in while. Last time I saw him, he was crawling out of some dumpster in the plaza ‘round the corner from my house. That was about six weeks ago. And now we ain’t seen him in a month.


“I’m worried about Bobby.” That’s what she keeps saying. I told her to call the cops, maybe they’ll know something. But she just shook her head. “They aren’t gonna give a shit. They don’t give a shit about people like Bobby,” she said.


Someone came up the driveway the other day. It wasn’t Bobby. This guy was smaller. Less haggard than Bobby, but he looked a lot meaner. Greta went berserk like she always does. “Shut the fuck up,” the new guy said.


I went outside. “Hey man,” I said. “You know Bobby?” “Yeah, I know Bobby,” he replied, as he went through my garbage cans. (He didn’t know about the system.)


“Well, is he OK? We ain’t seen him in a while.” The guy put the lid back on my trashcan and walked away without answering like I wasn’t even there. But then he stopped, turned around and said, “I ain’t seen Bobby. Can’t help ya, Bud.”


I watched him walk away. He was full of shit. I could tell. And that’s when I knew: There’s no longer any need for a system because we won’t be seeing Bobby anymore.