Anxious

That feeling of my soul getting yanked

That feeling of my soul getting yanked

I wonder where my soul hides when I’m sick

My heart feels as if it’s getting beat up

Is it because the restless ocean is clumping up?

My heart beats regardless of the pain

It beats spewing out red thread like a red spider

A sinkful of red thread gets submerged in water

My heart beats like a girl marathon runner who only had ramen to eat

 

Maybe the soul of the bald girl in a hospital gown hanging by the

We Lived Happily during the War

And when they bombed other people’s houses, we

 

protested

but not enough, we opposed them but not

 

enough. I was

in my bed, around my bed America

 

was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house —

 

I took a chair outside and watched the sun.

 

In the sixth month

of a disastrous reign in the house of money

 

in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,

our great country of money, we (forgive us)

You knock on the door

You knock on the door but nobody answers. Cupping your hands around your face you peer through the side-panel of frosted glass. A kettle is whistling, a woman singing as she sets the table. This is a familiar house. You knock again. Inside, the sounds are festive. Glasses clink and a band starts up. Pressing your ear to the door, you hear the sound of your own laughter. This is the house you grew up in. You're sure of it now.

Wow! You've Changed

You’ve changed.

You used to be so

and now you’re all

like, you’ve transformed

I don’t know how to describe

it’s like

you don’t like canasta anymore

you text IN ALL CAPS

your selfies are so

animalistic

like, are you out to prove something

you’re a lion

you’re a bear

you’re a maggot

you’re a virus

I just don’t know

if we can be friends anymore.

Tulips Bloom from Youths’ Blood

I.

 

It’s the season of wine, meadows, and Rose

The court of spring is cleared of choughs and crows

Generous clouds now water Rey[1] more freely than Khotan[2]

The caged bird and I both long for our own land

 

How wayward are you, Heaven!

How vicious are you, Heaven!

You’re headed to vengeance, O Heaven!

You have no faith

You have no creed—no creed

O Heaven!

 

 

II.

 

Jesse's Farm

We’re driving and the radio says mass marine extinctions within a

generation. No silence, no sirens — an unflustered inflection, then

stock markets, cryptic as Latin mass. I force myself: the interval

between a mother and her child — not enough for refuge in numerics,

reckoning we’ll be old or gone. Her in my rear-view mirror when I skew

it. Undoing velcro:  velours crochet — the maker plucked burrs from

his sweater, studied them under a microscope. There’s a microscope

I inherited, embedded in a fake snakeskin case. Ravaged scales,

For You Shall Be Called to Account

The ancestors of everyone I’ve let into my body

are gathered in a small room with one window,

no lights. Yes, the room is crowded. Yes, there

are no chairs. Yes, they are talking. Why are we

here, says the Nazi resister. Where are the chairs,

says the Viking (no horns). Where is the light, say

the people with their new French name hung

around their necks heavy like a long black cross.

Here, says the grand wizard, and a long white

FLOOD

The hallway is an empty

riverbed, smooth and barren.

At three o’clock classroom

 

doors open like dams.

            Gullies of teens stream

out, to become one

           flowing body. A torrent

of fauxhawks and ponytails

           channels along the linoleum.

 

           The drowned boy floats along

 

just below the surface,

           caught in an undercurrent,

bobbing past the

 

           sightless stares of teachers.

 

A Thin Plea

(Falteringly)

 

Our national bird ­– for years – was – as A M Klein said –

the rocking chair

 

I don’t know what our national bird is now – but my totem bird is

the killdeer

 

Its names – odd mannerisms – & cry – explain bits about me – in

riddles

 

My daily writing self at 57 has accrued the usual odd habits &

noises – there are awful names I know myself by – lie-dances I

perform

 

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