We move quickly, much too quickly
to focus on the illusion of rushing lands
you survey with the keenness of an animal.
Do you study the horizon for an end?
Do geese flying overhead startle you
with their noisy freedom? Will how they stay
together in the immense sky scare you
as much as the seriousness in your eyes
(brown fallow fields, vast and empty)
frighten me with fallow recollection
of all the times I have traveled alone
as cloud-like voices point further and back?
Now comes the mystery of powerlines.
Now an airplane roars, soars and disappears.
Now a freight train through wheat fields,
thumping my heart, grinding through my belly.
In the mountains trees and more trees,
a blur called forest. Wave after wave,
no end or beginning, at the shining sea.
Now you ask why so many streets and houses,
ask, “What’s this place?” as if you’ve always felt,
without your innocence knowing it knows,
how easy it suddenly is to feel lost
and how you lose your question in a familiar place.
Somewhere ahead, foreign as ancient maps,
boundaries skewed, names gone, must be the home
you, like me, peering into the rear view
of fogged mirrors, may have to give up finding
or like everyone I know rent from the sea.
…swinging high with red flying trees
loud laughing, loud as ten seven eight jumping
thousand hundred rolling eighty wild
kids on a tiger or this many more kids at quiettime
riding the merry-go-round horses past
Mountain Kilamoonjaro in the snow summer animal jungle
until teachers who are holding
me tight while I’m running from dinosaurs wanting to-to-to
gobble me say I shouldn’t scream so loud,
I scare other kids.
it’s raining outside. Inside I talk to
a man every week. We play soldiers and puppets and
things like that in his small white room. He likes to
draw pictures of happy and sad faces and gives me a card with
things to do when I’m having one of my big feelings.
I like airplanes.
I fly airplanes to the top of the air
and have lots more planes than any kids I know.
I glue broken things with Daddy in the basement –
we do lots of many projects and work with tools, then walk
our dog to the forest. I always bring home
something for Momma – a leaf, a rock, a snap dragon – do you
know what? She is my love. It’s true.
Daddy says I’m not going to my school, they don’t have music
or free art or let me get wet or take my shoes off
in the sand, but to go to another school you need to be quiet
and sit still in a circle and not hit or kick.
Sometimes I chase burglars and sometimes I squeeze kids
too hard when I get a big feeling.
The man asks why. I don’t know. It’s ok
to have trouble telling all-all the
imaginations flying around everywhere
to the North Pole, and I land on icebergs –
my planes have special pontoons with icebreakers
to go to the other bottom side of the world
where it’s warm as the globe and the polar bears
know they are safe from icebergs that sunk the Titanic.
I go to the man to be better
telling my tongue it needs to make shapes in sounds
before they come out too-too fast.
Momma and Daddy understand.
The man listened to my ears –
I don’t like loud things – sirens, jackhammers, the power vac –
and if someone points a gun at Momma, Daddy,
me and my airplanes will fly down with our nets and
tie the mean burglar with all strong miles of rope.
Me and my airplanes – we take Concorde
through the mach one sound barrier til I go
beyond the universe and deliver groceries,
medicine, blankets, toys, glue, soap, scissors and nice words
to people and kids who need to be in the world
but have no place to go-go-go now.
Me and my airplanes build towers in my room
to the star ceiling – we watch the pepper tree out my window,
we watch cargo ships sailing under the bridge. Yeah, yeah,
that’s what I can do when I’m loud when I scream
when I get another feeling that’s too big –
I can shut the door and put myself in jail.
A wax carver from Russia, he rode a horse
(She likes to watch a candle burn, burn down)
All the way to Hamburg and married a circus rider
(But pities the one-track lives of trick horses)
Whose son left for England and ended there as
(Blinkered as greyhounds chasing a metal hare)
A bookie, card-sharp and dog-racer
(Her father inventing pills for America)
While she wonders why not travel elsewhere
(And spent his end tallying great, great sums)
While she most fears becoming somebody
(In his dirty bathrobe, every day the same)
While she changes her wardrobe as often as she can.
During and after a Pyke Kock painting
Loud-fast music, loud-fast words,
staccato guitars, surly la-la-la’s,
drumsticks splintering, sweaty tall boys,
spiked-up girls, crowded black hot room,
eyes of glee, glee like shouldn’t be
lobbing plastic glasses to ceiling,
water floating, suspended for a beat
of black-and-white joy, purple surrender
drenching the singer and the guitars
miraculously not electrocuted…
Three red-lipped jeune filles riding open cart,
spilled Jills-in-a-box-sprung from coffin
as bent-backed soldier trudges narrow street
and old man in black robes, face bone-white,
hooded eyes – The Grim Reaper on night watch? –
can’t stop drunk maidens laughing at
grey frowning buildings, numbered clouds
dangling rope, shards of broken 78s
tossed in wooden box at dawn…
Ears ringing on grimy Wardour Street,
so quiet Exit calls for shout-at-the-sky.
Dark green bottle rolls and rattles,
alive with the sting of ringing wind
funneling us back to 1A, 2B,
dried-up source of a tune exhausted.
The wait for the next call to rhapsody.