Shall We Be Merry?
You can call them boots on the ground
but I’ll still say leather houses filled
more with sand than bone, but big fat
deal—I’m sleeping in late having those puckered
dreams that catch in me like Wal-Mart bags
in the trees. I’ll point out that the fluttering
shape in the elm is the same as our DNA
on the hottest days of July, and you’ll nod.
You’ll kiss my hand and start to cry. Tell me
that you wish none of this would have happened.
My eyes, oh my pinhole pupiled eyes, I’ll wail.
So stare into them and tell me what you see
filled with shadows sitting around a table
yelling Yahtzee! and plucking at the light
that pools in the corner of my eyes
with busted up pool cues. If they catch you
peeking in tell them I’d like my tools back
in each memory I have of Keenan. In each
he touches a spoon to his nose at the breakfast table
and tells me that the oven nearly swallowed
me whole the night before. That it was one
of the funniest things he’s ever seen, but some-
how, at the same time, it makes him want
to weep. Jason stands behind him
strumming a guitar and it is on fire. It is
smoking. I guess that sums up what’s happening
on the flickering screen in there. Look again
and it’s the sequel. Man screws his own hand
into a phone pole, gets mad and then screws
everything around him until everything, everything
is dead. So we passed all of the time we had
shaking incontinent in the backyard
and reaching out for things that keep
moving right on by, leaving us to stand
in line getting more bovine and poorer
until the weight of our cataracts tug
on us like the pull the man who stood
in the locker room of my college felt. Tennis
shoes tied around, and dangling from his brain-
like scrotum until security chased him away.
I guess my position on this scorched and windless
day is more about sitting outside
staring at the rat in the orange
tree than saying howdy governor
to the asshole that lives across the way.
If it means I don’t get the extra chicken
skin, even if it means I go to hell, I have
found a way to be at peace with this. Welcome,
I say, put it in the hole chief, please place
all of your belongings in this here duffle bag
and get on the fucking floor. Check one,
check two. Hold the mirror below
you can’t get wrong. Four plus four
equals a white sheet large enough
to cover a football field packed shoulder
to shoulder with the dead. Next, try
multiplication and painkillers. Some
of us are having heart attacks right now.
You wake behind a wheel. You wake riding a horse. You wake on your back in a field while above you stars whir. The wheel is slick. The horse is soft. The stars are too many to count. You rest your head on the wheel. You rest your head on the horse’s neck. The stars seem to pull your head up and you rise. Whatever the wheel is controlling has not stopped moving. Each time the horse gallops your jaw snaps together. You name each star George—pointing and turning and pointing—until you are disoriented and you can’t tell one George from the next. There are too many Georges. It is a car you are driving. It is raining when you look up. Finally you are stopped, but it is a ditch you have stopped in. The horse, on the other hand, will not stop. Many ditches you have leapt over or down into and then back up. Here, too, in the ditch it is raining. There are spiders on your eyelids, you think, as your stomach rises into your throat. And there are so many brilliant Georges above you—the rain coming down, the stars fizzing in the sky, leaves pinwheeling off of the elms—it is no longer just your stomach rising. It is everything going red red red as you turn inside out.