- Five Poems
For seven dog years, Uncle Mark, I’ve meant to say my god that summer mix you sent is awesome. Every song’s a winner on it. Telephone Road should not exist. I mean how can a sound so cluttered sound so clean I could eat Brian Wilson’s dinner on it?
How can one note so clarify another, brother once-removed? I love my mother and father and some Simon & Garfunkel records but, off the record, who are they? Novelists say context, painters say perspective and the rest of us say uncle. [End Page 478]
I’m on the level part of the back lawn with Richard Wilbur, but your mix is on, and his collected magisteria are going to be closing for the day. It’s mostly homely here. The house is slab, cinder and cedar. Some of the grass is crab. The runner that’s about to grab the downspout is, I think, wisteria,
so that worked out. And Dylan is a faint buzz from the bedroom Sonja’s trying to paint. But she’ll be opening a window soon, and when she does, because this is an essay, it will become the mouth that sings his messy Dignity to the afternoon. [End Page 479]
In just a moment Gavin will explain why he keeps looking up: because no plane is coming. Then, because there’s no plan B to shift to, he’ll be shifting to one knee.
The words for which the sky is at a loss some guy will find this evening, draped across the roof of his disinterested Cape Cod, as though it were a message meant for God
alone. It wasn’t, though, and you know Gavin well enough to know what he would’ve given to see that sign arrive, to see you see it sailing into legibility.
That’s why, before you say a word, you’ve got to let him walk you through the whole foiled plot, and act as if you can’t believe he’d try to pull I LOVE YOU BETH across the sky. [End Page 480]
That stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, the awards[Philip Michael Thomas] has set out to win. . . . He wears a gold medallion emblazoned with the letters.— Trish Janeshutz and Rob MacGregor, The Making of Miami Vice
Philip Michael went to Cali Dropped the Dino with the valet Pulled the gold from his Armani Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony
Rico rolled into Miami Seeking justice sand and Sonny Found some clothes that fit the weather Eenie Meanie Miney Money
Rico rolled into Miami Found the dude who’d killed his brother Knocked him over with a feather Tucked the gold pulled out the jammy
Oscar Tony Emmy Grammy None of these according to my Source of course it also spells His name with one too many l’s
Philip Michael Thomas went to Cali riding in a Pinto Something something macaroni Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony
We know how this movie ends Sketchy neighbors psychic friends Disney’s Positively Minnie Little scraps of daytime dramas
We say Philip Michael Thomas Never did fulfill his promise History may say he carries Episodes if not the series
Hunger Anger Honor Ennui Philip when we said dream on we Meant it both ways that’s not funny Eenie Meanie Miney Money [End Page 481]
Guy walks into a bar, says what do you recommend. Bartender says I’ve got bitters, pearl onions and fizz. The jukebox plays only national anthems and the dartboard can experience pain. Guy says I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that. Bartender says make yourself comfortable. [End Page 482]
Turkeys and Strippers
whose breasts have swollen into such fantastic butterballs they’d pull you over if you weren’t immobile in your stalls,
beagles with nicotine addictions, sheep with human faces, you with your orthodontic headgear snagged on your leg braces,
who apprehend that only half the litter will survive, and they by eating, slowly, other living things alive,
you who subsistence-fished a river dammed for hydropower to keep a mayor ruddy in his hydra-headed...