Shotgun ravens awaken the forest of your hair, blasts from air conditioners wing memory, our flight or fight or dance response of bees hummed and hemmed and hawed in this new glass hive, hexes your scent of ocean as curled and waved as the crow flies – anything but straight, anything but the fleeing from there to here with even bubble wrap from our boxes packing heat, night falls, collared in a noose of 100 degrees, hits the pavement, pops and wheezes, and we've yet to plug in the lamps, the apartment a shadow of wings, while across the river cop cars and firetrucks strobe – a dark angel, you shimmy in your underwear, the lights of the city our disco ball
At the ACME supermarket
a cyclone hit the tuna fish, water, pasta isles,
like Nantucket shoals that will not be spared.
I find a few bouquets of flowers left in a bin,
choose the least beat-up roses,
and bring them home.
On our wedding day, remember
the hurricane blowing down the arbor
while we said our vows?
It is our anniversary tonight.
We celebrate, as we must,
Baudelaire slowly chews another handful of coffee beans – Flâneur-in-chief of all Paris, dandied dregs of the Seine, he wrote: it wasn't the caffeine (of course it was always the caffeine) but the grit, the grounds the dirt in his mouth that brought his tongue to press into earth like the taproot of a dark flower. He lines his cockatoo's cage (all flâneurs keep cockatoos) with pages from his books he tore one by one saying to the young Rimbaud the bird sang a better song out its ass than its beak, that all poetry was merde
What does it mean to be spaghetti-hearted? Boiling at full, yet slippery and tangled – Oh my Siciliana, my dark-haired wife, who conspires at love like Mafioso plotting a heist
More dead stuff now it's those crabs with eighteen eyeballs – skyballs on stalks, periscope glass-eyed Mary's, body parts litter the beach like cracked faces looking back from the sand I shake my claw at the sky, defiant old man still skittering sideways through life and you let go my hand, slip into the tide a fish – school away – sunlight echoing off your laughter, your voice receding in sonar pings Because I said it was time to leave this place, return to the city, reverse migration of the gannets – streaming in flights back to their roosts in the tiny rock warrens of Manhattan Searching for you from above the water, my wingtips brush the tops of the waves hoping you feel my touch like cool sheets drawn back from your shoulders. I dive, transform, but you are not fooled by my clownfish act, my doll-fish face a lethal disguise – how I would pull you from the safety of the sea and leave us both fighting for breath. If I fail us, then return me here. When at dawn the dogs come to leap in the waves and devour the broken promises of crabs, do not deny their pleasure – leave them to roll in my ashes.
Your hips the road trip rock skip hip-hop refrain of the sea 40 years our wild ride, side by miles sliding by the passing time on wide open roads Until here the sand-path ends in beach plum kingdoms taste on your lips slipsliding needs Speeding curves my mind has the bends brain wave ocean staves octaves higher and higher Like rose hips winding trellises tethered to the crux of you, communion of the journey's Madness that heat rises, your wide-brimmed laughter at the speed of light When my whammy bar transmission went in gale-force winds we watch the crash the curl listen now to the metal seas how you drive me to distraction
You squinch your face as if I pulled your nose like a knob opening the drawer of cities – that sliding memory where you junked it all – toy cabs honking, rubber-band commuters, loose screws and nuts out on the avenues, our noodle soup of take-out menus – metropolis errata you'd whisked and slammed, then locked the door behind us. Now walking along the harbor, the sea lies flat and grey, shorebirds motionless, even the sand quiet, the dog's scented crossword of seaweed and crabs, we hear the rain moving towards us, the surface of the water starting to rattle like a box of cracker jacks whistling through the air at Yankee stadium – the bleachers, the barker, the crowds, the crack of a bat, lightning, memory, buildings falling like a game of Jenga from the back of the closet, apartments that slide out from under us, our plans tumbling down, the rain over the sea tumbling down, your forgiveness of me that we must go back now, comes tumbling down until again the bric-a-brac streets, again jumbled jars of hours and days, nickeled and dimed – can you hand me those pliers my love? The ones that pull teeth when the sirens wake us anon at 3AM?
Beatbox rain riffs on the hull Belowdecks, we lie together, listen – afloat on sleep-tight caulk and lapstrake dreams – you, my storm anchor
*A Nantucket Sleighride: 7 syllable “Harpoon”, followed by a 25 syllable “Rope”.
All along it was just a typo – Shakespeare wrote "put your nose to the whetstone," it was really wet stone – fluidity and hardness as one – water & earth keen (their pals air & fire high in the cheap seats) – which explains this morning cutting my foot on a razor clam, the waves stropping mother calcium until honed and shaving the beach of its seaweed beard Chorus of Stone: Schist, Breccia, Shale Chorus of Water: Sliptide, necessary words snake like rivers past your tongue How pushing my nose ever harder into the future never sharpened my focus but the world giving way like a parting flood – each day standing on the high-dive platform of the bathroom shower, looking down into an empty pool – shocked by cold spray breaking, a rain of hard water from spigots cranked to no surrender Chorus of Stone: False eyes are made from glass and agate Chorus of Water: Return to the sea as a walking fish Always awake to the grind, the drip that percolates and filters earth-coffee-tygers-eye brown through eons of dream limestone, washing away the strata until nothing left but fossils, residue, and silt – yet another to-go cup, to-go, to going-going-gone high-kick Rockette fuel – the world balanced on the edge of our noses Chorus of Stone: Hammer, pick, dynamite Chorus of Water: Bloodstream, velocity, knife
Even Charon on the grift –
pennies in the eyes to die
were fool's gold –
no more scrimping off deadbeats,
no hustling poor-mouth shades
in their scarecrow burial suits:
The Lethe now full Disney,
theme park’d thrills and chills –
the Daredevil, the Hellfire, the Screamer –
"Look ma! No hands!"
Folks can't get enough.
Grab a BeelzeBurgerTM with cheese.
One more time, pretty please?
Lucifer's Crash Cars, the Dirt Nap Fun House –
"Step right up!" – midway shooting galleries
with rapid-fire, drop clip nightclubs –
and over here: nine-layer Inferno Sundaes,
sno-cones cold and blue as lips.
When night falls, take the River Ride.
Premium death wishes
and first class cabins on the boat,
or just fly over private jet –
enjoy casket-strength bourbon
chilled with whisky bones.
Oh Miyata, Miyata my love,
you can't take it with you, no.
I've called for your car,
and filled your marble suite with roses.
Your chauffeur holds his cap out
for a tip.
I'm so sorry, your purse is empty –
the white one you never used
from the bottom dresser drawer.
The driver will take a kiss in lieu –
Your mouth, a burnt offering.
Your eyes, payment in ash.