This is from my new manuscript; it was first published in the Columbia Magazine.
The Way-Out Way Out
Mad walker, career apologist, apple eater,
I am humbled in your midst.
Surgeon, with your varied scalpels,
myth, with your scalping savage,
savage, with your pollen grief.
A vision of leather tents,
of tiled hallways. Nabokov calls Lolita’s
mom a great pill-taker. Yul Brynner
says don’t smoke, but did.
My sentences get longer.
It’s not simple like:
Some glory in nature,
some it makes itch.
It’s always more
complicated. Each actor has an easy
arc to comprehend, this father, these
scrolls, this episode
with toad, this with Turkish taffy.
It’s the composite of simple arcs
as, to our surprise, the mess of lines
forms an image at a distance.
Truth is not the same as honesty.
It is not the same as accuracy.
It is the purview of poetry.
Poetry tests by the clatter
of recognition and knows
how to get to where the platters
are being dropped. Follow
the crashes like breadcrumbs.
Where were you last Thursday?
I dined with rhyme. (We drank
wine, we liked it fine, us. We ate
fish. It was delicious.)