Eventide

Riding passenger side, I snap shots
Winding up, down in front
Stability taking on long exposures.
From the back seat youth mocks
Our separated falconer’s aging grace.
Two instant polaroids, twins
Destroyed by pictures of memory.
Precious and precarious, sliding
There once, here once,
Then at once gone again.
Right heel dug into the floorboard,
My driver breaks so hard and we
Rise higher for another mile. Memory,
The silent thief, steals selectively —
As if nature meant nothing of value.
Yet we never stop to salute the flowers —
All the wild green needles.
Sewing up uniform badges of yellow and purple.
The foothills’ shoulders grow anew with peonies
And gold sunshine glowing with military atonement.

How jagged time? Uneven hours
We spend ours climbing that hill again.
Eventide approaches.
Revealing the light our hands shield
Our vision with a tight salute.
Soldiering on escape the fight
And yielding to our darkness.
Thrown at our windshield
Sticky bug bags take the first punch.
Tonight we cheer for an unknown winner:
The Surreal versus The Unbelievable.
Then we drop down tearing around the ring.
The Summit dragging us down for the count.
Face flat then right over onto the side.
Automatic machines gun with
Buckshot spray. Hitting whitetail from
Underneath the wheels,

Unifor and bones fast and cold underneath
Blankets just a quarter mile thin –
Count the microclimates in a 14 mile exposure.
My imagined assignment so real to me anyway,
Inertia now drove dissension in the
Ranks, attracting attention, dousing my focus.
Yet I am pacified by coastal royal blue velvet,
And by the courtly cape of dense silver fog.

Branching in and out to take my focus
Away, lost in the sky and yet at home.
Running beside the little brick foxes
Already started by the drooling hounds,
Follow each by each in broken golden lines.
Shrinking to a pointed index fingers,
Words written between the knotted trees
Escaping our eyes writing letters
To one another, to anyone.
I imagine the trees and they alone love themselves.
Writing in dead languages like towers of Babylon
Yet without oral tradition
No monks or followers to take dictation.
The mighty force upwards, tying rings around
Hands remembering papyrus of their own making.
They, like me, can write their own stories.

Distant deamons dance to the music of the eventide,
Whose eardrums thump and pop from slight descents.
Mercies clear the stares and the macabre glances.
And up ahead the night hides just around
The voluptuous Earth’s curves.
Yet she shakes off the road upon her hip
Langushing and lounging
Laughing at all the forsaken highways.
You snap me awake. My hypnotic state undone
By our quick duel to the death –
I roll one window down with enough sense to show
Our passage party the orange evening parades
And presents a silent moment for exposure.
When nighttime undies the simple flash
Lighting up the cul-du-sac we find a space
Quieting the car and stalling the motor.
The king and queen announced lit up by drums
Of snake oils and Butter-cupped angel’s trumpets.

Washing off any
Sickness, our plague
Knows when we’re gone
It’s done.
Waves roll in goodbye.
Goodbye,
Blue sky of eventide.
Eventide, goodbye.

Follow the Queen

My room unlatched
Releasing shirts, slacks
To hungry closets for
New black suits.
Drawers devoid, empty,
Open for guides and
Maps. A single dirty window
Opens to a brick wall.
My memory of the word
“Defenestration” fell out.
My mouth shares the doubt
Of an incomplete education.
Underneath paper thin sheets
Uncover my form asleep dreaming,
Murmuring bird breeds.
I fly into the diaspora.
Street artisans took to the
Deep sea once, yet to which land?

I hold the receiver and
Wish for a revolver.
Legal language defense
Foreign escapes
Hold up in court.
Unknown room numbers
In a delicious series of
Chambers marked 12, 31
Maybe 2004.
Remembering a stone cold six story
Buddha in a wide open gin palace.
Cigars and molten cherries
Jubilee. Bananas foster
Charles Foster Kane,
His full name from nothing.
Mother’s greasy brunch pumpkin
Markets and street tchotchkes.
Snow globes from America where
Going down South the snow
Attracts curious tourists.
Temporary neighbors
Angry without rose beds,
Lawnmowers without preteens.
I learned the names of
Chateaux. Bordeaux, Chablis
Pure sunshine Chardonnay.
Tastevin and Caskets
Down in the catacombs
The same town underground.

Rise up and run off
Spilling me like syrup
On pancake embankments.
A cooing stewed pigeon
On an expired warranty the
Black dial telephones,
Hissing tube televisions.
Anonymous but you only
Would send such indifferent
Cheap bouquets of sprayed
Carnations and baby’s breath.
Such sorry little pimples
Those flowers, like calling
Cards for bill collectors.
Or foreign exchanges between
Currencies for emergencies.
Ladies wearing smart suits
Tahitian pearl chokers
Rhinestone bangle bracelets
Bengal tiger-print hot pants.
A real mistress
Ends in a whisper
Her knowledge sits stuck
In the back of a cab.
Like all irrelevant souvenirs.
Bees swarm from the 300 year oak
Guarding the fire department.
Emptying from the hive
Growling as one great
Carpet to cover the daylight yellow
Moist and musky bungalow.
Shotgun shacks, powder kegs open
Their queen, a patron saint
Leaves her scent, thinning the
Hive of the dullards,
The abused and the confused.
One last time, dressed
For success the top opening
For California mornings air.
I sneak out the back and press on,
Press on emerging into traffic.

Playing the Cat

Scene 1: Enter Stage Right, Cat

This year Cat knocked Mary down.
Mother of Jesus, Carpets, Jews.
Last year, Cat ran off with the Husband—
Taking Joseph’s coat, too.
Not seen since the incident,
Neither man, nor carpet, nor cape.
Cat, exit stage.
Three years now since,
Cat, spuriously,
Dragged down a turkey.
Bigger than his head, feasts Cat,
Dinner of greasy fowl, used and
Orphaned. All shiny fat prickly sinews
Cold kitchen floor decor.
We retired in living color,
Cat waits on sock rugs,
Chasing bugs and saints.

Eyes devour the Lollipop Guild,
Feasting on colorful Witches brews
Enter Wizard. Sleep in straw
The tin cans sending queues
Heads with curlers, spitting nails—
Shake and roar, black as night.
White pictures of spoiled babies.
“My,” gasping grandmother
Hungry, yet we search the air.
Relief, at long last,
A manger all in tact,
Still missing:
Carpentry’s first common
Union worker.
Cat stole him three years past.
In stretches morning, you gripe
“Such an imprint for a wife.”
(I am the knife.)
Cat, please take leave —
Please leave, leave the coffee.
Four years back, for I
Then me. We sighed, “no cat.”
Dreams of dances on tippy toes,
A vision of homes built round,
All trees and ornaments and we’s.
Petting slowly, backhanded
Head to tail.

Cat purrs waltzing,
Jesus asleep now, Joseph
Warmly herd sheep sows, Mary
Wailed and cried still.
Windows shuttered,
Elbows under chins, on sills.
We keep all the straw for a manger.
We each pull out one for luck:
I forgot to count the flock tonight —
Up to number 10 to silence
My weeping, I shivered.
The Egyptian visions,
The escaping slaves —
The sundown desert —
They eyed green knaves.
The riddle the answer the
Four Footed beastly things.
The long tail sweeping
Dust up on wings.

Nestled pyramids, soldiers of sand,
No servants hand, no strangers.
No one died today, no saints
Made. Cat wore the Ankh,
Carried the dog headed staff,
Drawing along the sea crooked to
And fro on the sand, wand dragging
Wagging a tail — Happy in now,
Yet name him Memento.
Cat, built it all alone, he meant
To say, “I made that,” in peace
Aligning November’s
Surrendering sun.
Cat dreams of Cat things:
Play, sleep, sun, warm, eat.

Return to your lines, to track back
Over three years, to four.
In scene two: sorrow and worry,
Cat pictures Mary, Joe, and the baby boy.
Rejoice, back in the trunk
Running for the fifth term monks.
Cat: teeth glitter with hope
Of centurions and scarabs run.
Cat, to you surrendered or given
From your own meaty dinner,
pulled. Drowned asunder
All in a Dead Sea, deep
Asleep, dreaming wonder.

Swaying, overhead wire flying
Cat awake and wicked green
Snipped, he nips at grass.
His game — Cricket.
Slow, moribund, drying spice scent.
Boring holes, hearing voices.
Charming. Then crack —
A bat. Eyes followed us
On western war bliss.
Then rob the sun, beaming
Warm like a kiss.
The Queens pearls go dark.
Yet to remember:
Do not face
Anything larger than you
May forget
To enter: open this moment.
Exit the Cat.