To Settle the Night

Sky streaks lavender and orange to lowering blue.
Night chill rises, flicking at pants legs, leaf piles,
dampens sidewalk to footstep skate.
Beyond the greasy click of a security gate,
last birds circle to settle on a sleeping roost,
scavengers slink the hedge lines,
eroded wastes of tree root, fence rot.
Phone-nervous, the late-working husband,
lover late with wine and Chinese
hustles towards an unsettled greeting.

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Half Capacity

lacking logic
who is essential
who isn’t
claiming following science
churches closed
strip clubs open
gyms closed
liquor stores open
corporate box stores open
mom-and-pops closed
restaurants and critical thinking
both at half capacity

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Portrait of Progress Lake by the First Fish from Bragi’s Calf Muscle

The eagle’s knees, they speak to me in legalese
Today. The sun is crying; its cedilla couldn’t be
A mere façade! A rotting moon and decomposing

Stars invented yesterday, its bats and troubles.
Dolly Varden swam through history’s jittery
Arteries to get here. Swans without ressentiment

Sing Dolly Parton songs. The sky is like a queen
Without a nose to every lesser long-nosed bat.
The S&P 500 tries to steal this mental real estate,

Pretending it’s a moral act. I eat their R&D, and
Do it trenchantly, astonishing my food with
Time’s mayoral tact. Now every day’s a crisis,

Sexually attracted to cat urine. Emily Post says
Ours is not a time for overrating first impressions.
I, too, founded the New York Post on images

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Famished

On the menu is barbed wire
sautéed in heartless tyrannies.
The bloodied linens of the Visigoth.
Tongues of the vanquished, broiled,
with a side order of children sobbing.
And salads of inexpressible horrors.

Today’s menu includes bandage soup,
served drawn and quartered.
Knife pie, with a shotgun topping.
Visceral stew and smashed-mouth bread.
And the special, baked heads and hands,
which are, we think, to die for.

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First Memory

The picnic table. My sister’s
vaporous hair. Neighbors
in their unknown clothes.

I’m wild in blue shorts,
striped top. My mom’s
in my sister’s body.

The tenants of the lawn
rumble their tongues
like little engines and tickle

my untouched ankles.
I run the path of planets
around the wild grass

between the grass
between our houses. My
arms make airplanes.

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Ode to John Ashbery

One day you finally knew
what you’d been put there to do,
and did it
while the loud voices rang louder
and tugged at your sleeve,
each cry a death cry, a flashing red sign.
But you knew.
You knew what you had to do,
though the thread unwound round you
leaving you nakeder and nakeder,
its melancholy terrible.
Then the queerest thing happened.
Being almost already too late, and too dark,
the moon threw down
a bird, a
shining wild raven and in its mouth,
a flower of life.
The stars burned in its brilliance,
at first saw themselves shyly
then danced and shone round to
find themselves extraordinary.

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