- Three Poems
I’m in this bright café, this yellow tropical air: a plaster green toucan and potted palm, motionless heads in thrall to laptop screens and bottomless data mines, when some bereavement, sourceless and angular, visits the heart. Lovers look away from one another, the service girl wipes the counter top, foodcase doilies, coffee-maker, and comes a sagging of life in things. I want to make it comic, mug the camera, do a daffy, feckless song and dance. How unbecoming to receive it here, where my poet writes of his soul tiedto a dying animal, and fountain water pours from a jaguar’s gristled teeth down to volcanic stone. I hope the water’s motion carries me through the hour’s heaviness and rain outside, to the bathroom mirror, the humid flesh, the face’s pouchings and matchtip scars. Let me be fool enough to read meaning into the twiggy lightning that splits the darkening distance, such meaning as animals like us need to see. The rain falls. The heart, helpless, beats. [End Page 99]
ON A CLEAR NIGHT AT THE END OF WINTER
The steady rain isn’t really steady. It ticks my roof, hushes, rouses, slows, then ticks harder. I depend on steady irregularity. Tonight, a storm moon, winter’s last full moon before expectation’s axis tips toward spring, when the rains are gone and the rabbit’s in the moon, no more windowpane veronicas to weep our opaque, weather-chased, eroded selves. On such a clear spring night, the kind of night that comes around when the rabbit is in the moon, a clear night when no rain fell to staunch our restlessness under these impassive stars, on this planet going around the boiled sun: on such a night the women of my people stood outside, opened their billfolds, and yelled to the know-nothing night, with an ain’t-it-useless laughter, Full moon, full moon, fill ’er up, fill ’er up! Today’s rain falls in Pisces, and ordinary want secretes our helpless petitions while the night, wanting nothing, turns and turns as its galaxies in time past and future burn, collapse, darken. And what of prayers and words if our universe is one of identical others that burn with us in time, and we live this moment in every other universe? And these rains fall tonight in all our worlds, falling in the mind? And our similars in every world wish for an end to rain, clarified windows through which we finally see the recurring moon’s promise that gives us reason to exist? [End Page 100]
OTHER WAYS TO HEAVEN
The unspeakable beauty of facts, their acts and scenes, the trapeze flier rolling toward the catcher across our gasp, trolley contact rods, bowing from catenaries, cresting a hill before the bulky ahnnn appears, systemic pleasures, a little off but actual, that make us feel at home in our elusive lives. A husband slices morning toast while the wife, still asleep, wanders among secrets scratched like starlines in the skull’s compact heavens. And hillside windows at dawn, watered gold, like consciousness waking, filling up with time. Rivers pokey in April snow, torrential now, rising under our feet. These aren’t illustrations, they happen, more hours pass. A sea-blown summer wind hums through the window harp across your face, a book drowsy in your hands, the breathy stir a passing shadow poetry, an ecstasy of presence, the sweet, the sour, motions in the wind being only what they are. Wait and watch. Wood smoke atomizes birches, coons tip garbage cans that slime backstairs, fog bumps casements years have rattled loose, hedgerow shadows rise like heads and hair of children rising from bed, their shadows thrown like storm clouds on bedroom walls, their voices coming awake like rain from those clouds, or the creaky arbor ladder your neighbor climbs to string Christmas lights in mock oranges that bloom so sweet in spring and hold this stormy turning still fresh set of last night’s stars. [End Page 101]
W. S. Di Piero is the author of many books of...