Saturday, April 4, 2015


i feel like i’ve died
feel like i’ve died
& gone to regular life
ray sings
on the tape deck
of aida’s car
which is my car
aida was my grandmother
the tape plays over & over
it’s a 97 toyota camry
aida bought for driving
to acme & dollar tree
once a week to use coupons
she clipped from the papers
watching tv w/ her cat
squirrels at her window
looking in
the reader wanting more
but finished crosswords
cigarettes, tissues & phlegm
acme & dollar tree
ray sings in aida’s car
it’s still aida’s car
she was hard to get close to
the faint trace of her smoke
is now ray’s sober voice
it warms me up
the tape is called guts
the band is called window kits
the song is called “whut yrmadeof”
ray isn’t sure
he wonders aloud
he sings these days i don’t just let
any old wind blow in
goddamn it, edie, i sing
in philip’s voice
to ray’s music
philip was my grandfather
he called his wife edie
the tape plays over & over
i drive thru new jersey
on house visits
i get one adjunct to sign
an authorization card
we want better pay
we want healthcare
we want a voice
in regular life
hey, how are you
it’s regular life
good pay, job security
& healthcare
no reason to move
ever again
i will live in this house
for 60 years
& clip coupons
for my cat
it’s a 97 toyota camry
beige or something
faint trace of window kits
thru new jersey
my guardian angel
in the ashtray
cigarette burns
on the door
heaven is a place
where nothing ever happens
imagine if we threw out
the scumbags who run
our schools
imagine if WE ran the schools
what then
sounds good
power in numbers
see you later
and i’m still writing songs about ghosts
ray sings
ray’s still sad
i give a eulogy for aida again
because no one else will
they’re too afraid
their histories too fraught
too painful for everyone
but to me she was distant
enough i can make everyone
happy w/ a mild honesty
about her 97 years
of life
so listen
she helped me one time
w/ a paper on the great
depression in middle school
there was a detail
about rumble-seating
on broad street
a detail she repeated over & over
so let’s crystallize the image
aida laughing down broad street
thru hard times
that’s who she was, people
this fierce wild-at-heart woman
who loved to travel & explore
& play by her own rules
tough as anything
tied in a bow
that’s right
no words on the way
she treated her children
nothing about why they can’t
speak at her funeral
in regular life
goddamn it, edie
stop telling us how to live
the war is over
you won
the poem is in my back
like a knot
the pain is returning
as a ripple
the job’s no longer fulfilling
what is regular life
why do you believe in it
another week
a slab of meat
slapped on top
some cheese
sixty hours of regular life
that’s a freedom sandwich
a sandwich for freedom
imagine the pleasure of biting
into permanent holiday
which is why i’ve worked so
& my father
& my grandfather
& my mother
& my grandmother
& everyone’s grandmother
saving up what they can
for the boxes
they’ll never own
which hide the ripples
one life to another
a union
a sea
a city
of body as ripple
in another
& of another
& no eulogy
no coupon
for your grave
but the whole story as city openly
made together
over & over
i think of anna
how are you
right now
other side of the river
doing the same thing
cars pass
people don’t answer
i pretend you’re next to me
we talk about ripples
all kinds
we theorize it
til you laugh & say no
w/ your lips
which i trace w/ my finger
for weeks
it’s my dream
it’s watery
i stare at the ocean
on my wall
it’s night
& seagulls squawk by
in the sky outside
for what
just passing thru
it’s winter
a line of glue
streak of sense
spine in dream
on my way
to this job of loving
outside a box
i wanna say something
like we’ve been cultured out of the primordial
now sign this card, okay
but that won’t work
ask saul alinksy
ask anybody
this union
what is it
what is it
it’s desire
what i want
from you
is what i want
for you
my heart
which is nothing
but all my
for all that radiates
care &
pleasure &
hunger for knowing unfolding &
pulsing &
in spite of the shoulder-
stooping fear that radiates
from shards of dead intimacy
& violence along my spine
the dotted lines of the road
no after no after no
echo from those dim hallways
of those dull buildings
we spent all those years in
trying to speak
all the muted tv’s
of the world
anything can happen, you said
in the bar
in the glow
to my face
no one’s going anywhere
it’s true
even parallel parking can
be the sexiest
push your ass
against the bumper
hop the curb
grab my head
cut the wheel
say what you want
down my tight
straddled & pulsing
i just slide right in
so serious, you say,
so serious
as regular life begins
to disappear
we wake up
our union keeps
harder & harder
we joke
it’s the slogan
we like it
we want it
on a t-shirt
we want it
turned inside-out
tossed to the floor
over & over
a ball rolls
down the street
so kick it
to be alive
in other ways
how my body
for what we can’t yet be
how your name
when i see it
how your smell
how your ache
how your lips
how your hurt
when you hurt
        is mine
how your hurt
when i hurt
        is this
how the hurt
when it hurts
        is ours