for Ryan Eckes
We talked about 8th St. as a borderline
& agreed Hector Luna is a good name
for a home run hitter.
We’d been trying to organize
the season. You ate some tacos.
This is the longest I’ve ever lived
in one place. That summer went on.
I hung some walls after taking
some down. That summer a random
Ukranian kid did a pull up
in the subway. I kept hoping I’d grow
the eyes of a frog. We walked.
I told you how Lou Reed said
concrete is his nature. If we were
immortal, I wouldn’t write this
poem, I’d drink more coffee.
I decided against my mainline
& put on a lion’s mask instead.
To live in a city is to sleep in it.
We walked by Bok Tech
& wondered who goes there.
The building is huge. Babies can dance
to Brahms. My neighbor’s father
taught at Bok in the ‘50s. My neighbor
runs an eyeglass shop & might be mob.
He’s on the other side of this wall
right now, watching television. Life
& melancholy aren’t the same. Melancholy
is much slower. Six months happens
in a day. Does that guy in the post office
think privatization is the same as being
private? It isn’t. Being private is jacking
off with no one looking. Privatization
is jacking off at the expense of others,
mostly children whose schools get bought.
We’re in this all the time.
Today at PPA the customer service had been
schooled out of them. You just bought
your late grandma’s car from your father,
so I thought you should know. It took
ten minutes to get a permit, with only one
person in line. & no one ever said, “Hello.”
A student wrote in an essay, “altercation
in ourselves,” when she meant, “alteration
of ourselves.” Is it anti-intellectual to
paraphrase? I tore off a piece of envelope
this morning I keep tearing to use as a
bookmark for my reading on the subway.
Today: Valu-Plus. On some train somewhere
I heard someone say, “Unknown name. I don’t
answer unknown names.” On my table Lewis
Warsh’s A Free Man. I saw him read the other
night when you were in Seattle. We talked
about children, about wanting to write, & to be
with our children so that they feel secure. He said
Bernadette wrote the books on their lives as a family.
On my walk to work I listen to Joy Division’s
“Atrocity Exhibition” –
this is the way, step inside
this is the way, step inside
– I’m in my own skin ‘til my skin wears off.
I’ve been trying to be more open.
There’s that photo from ’72 with a bunch of poets,
Coolidge & Gallup full frontal.
They were all posing for a painting
at the Schneeman’s.
In the mirror I catch myself holding
my eye & mouth like my father. We share
a name & don’t. In Midwinter Day, Mayer
says her family is gay:
So just because we’re married
Don’t dismiss us, don’t forget to include us
In all the gay anthologies as a family
We are still crazy
And repentant and rushing the gorgeous past
As the ice creeps into the house
This is starting to turn into one of those
things where everything seems relevant,
like I could say the price of gas – $3.29
at the local Lukoil, which isn’t local, it’s
Russian – right here & it would fit.
Mayer & Coolidge dreamed of “The Everything
Work.” Should I mention the dream I had once
where I had sex with a transsexual? I woke up
surprised. Is there time for everything?
I want things to be the size they are. Phil
Rinaldi wants to turn South Philly
into a Henry Hub like outside Erath, Louisiana.
It’s been dubbed Mariner East. It will pump
70,000 barrels/day of natural gas
liquids. He likes ammonia, too.
Aren’t we dead the moment we’re born?
I can leave this sheet in the typewriter
for days & the machine won’t
overheat, like a computer.
How do the blind know they’re bleeding?
Caroline says Jeff Koons is Randall Flagg.
Al Pacino is Joe Paterno
in an upcoming Brian De Palma film.
Some days the breakdown lasts all afternoon.
I stand on a child’s chair & try not
to be confused by the change.
When I was nineteen in college I played
a recording of Kerouac reading “October
in the Railroad Earth” for my friend,
whose favorite band was Tragically Hip.
He said, stoned, “ He’s got a lot going on
in his head.” I wanted to turn my friend
into a poet. It was all we talked about.
That & dystopian interpretations
of ant colonies. It didn’t occur to us
we were the only thing dystopian
in the ant’s day. Kerouac’s death is in
three days. I always liked the part when
he says, “Hot shot freight trains.”
Riffing is all I seem to have time for.
Hector Luna has 15 career home runs.
After the Phillies he went to the Chunichi
Dragons in Japan. In the evenings I put
buttons on my eyes and look through the holes.
Nothing really changes. Things just get smaller
& more separate. Today is the day Kerouac died.
& baseball is simply a game.