Sunday, December 30, 2007

Jack Kerouac

Don’t be the man
counting cars
at the edge of the strip mall.

Don’t collect all
the free bars of soap
from every hotel

on the continent.
Avoid lavender bath sets
from bargain outlets. Don’t

rise to the occasion
when your country needs you
least. Don’t dismiss

the invisible
hand of the market, especially
when it scours

the square at dusk;
and gleaners comb
the clutter of crates

for thyme and asparagus.
Don’t be
the man

coming home
at the verge
of the new estate. Don’t forget

the supplementary
guides to all the wilderness trails
winding through

those long ago
only a dog follows. Open

the window,
put your ass
to the wind.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Déjeuner sur l’herbe

Between me and God lies a
picnic blanket.

Between now and my death lies
an Olympic pool

of drinking water.

Take these two premises
with their gated film-set

and the road to Damascus
becomes mined
with water-melon stalls.

Like this morning,

I’m boiling
in my flak-jacket, sitting
in John’s Range Rover.

Up ahead
the Syrian guard
will surely

bum me
for a frozen Snickers
(plural noun, single candy)

from the cooler
I put
on the back seat.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Square

I’ve been living here for six months now;
in this room with its little stack of coasters
beside the skirting board near the door.

I don’t know who left them. I used them once
when Cindy and Tom stopped by. When was that?
Last week, the apple trees lining the vacant lot

were transplanted to the traffic island. I think
it was Tom who dealt them when he popped
the bottle of green wine he brought with him.

Cindy didn’t notice. There are still green rings

on the floor where she sat. I can’t yet make out
what they are building on the vacant lot.

Souvenir reproductions of Mexico City.
I always keep Garibaldi Place on top. In it
you can see a mariachi band

with fairy lights and people strolling.
Lovers go there to kiss and dream about

starting a family. About the wedding cake

in the shape of a famous match.
The small marzipan heroes frozen
in icing. The chocolate goal posts. The marshmallow

couple waving frantically from a border
of M&Ms. The evening is humid, a couple
of skateboarders are smacking down apples

in the eye of the traffic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Summing Up Our Marriage

A silkworm skin spreading its fissured indecision through
rain. The streets were loud with its relentless lacquer;
tensing its shy crossbow towards the breaking of Summer: a shot
caught in the curtains. The bed where a green music beat up its
solidly etched warnings waved in light. She slept as I washed up.

Monday, December 03, 2007

St Vinnie's

now to set the table and bring the family together
to help each other and prepare the food and to share
how each one of us feels about the moon and the rain
and where the children once went that was so long ago
so ancient and clear tonight that it sits at the centre
like a burning log or a bright cold embrace that we
feel wet on our skin so intimate that we dare not look up
but still are working together still labouring towards that moment
when the mystery is solved and we can go back to bed
disturbed enough to mean that we are still alive after
such a long time when it switched over at that moment we played
and cried in the snow but it could still be all of it to come
all of this still ahead waving us on to where we might remember ...

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