Epistle from the Guild of Lost Angels
No death here. Poetry a scarecrow
of rags hung above squash & pumpkins.
I live the naked fictions inside my head
until I clothe them with my words.
My lover, in the tree, sings of the moon
& the fuse. Her absence is a pink fiction
of lemonade, ice-cubes, honeybee choirs
& summer’s fevered heat on the teeth
of her Cheshire grin. I am the point
where progress meets decay. Big ocean.
I’m gone. The saint asked of the beloved.
Because they understand Lee Marvin
setting fires on Formosa. Beauty bought
by scandal. Forever singing & dancing.
A 21st Letter Turn
Night, the animal that keeps you alive.
Night, the u-turn of the self. Hear
sad cows moo their way into the fire. Write
the great American novel, and it scatters
into the poor American madman’s thoughts
in the small tornado of your life.
Pull flower petals like prudes.
Put on woolen tube socks, boots,
and march through your animal rage
on Pluto: one big ball of ice too
far away. Shoo away
friends like flies. You’re no more you
than he or she was you.
Blue sadness was a happiness
that turned its back on you. Poor you.
Fuck you. Love, you
followed the same path until
it finished. You died. You turned
the other way and walked it all again.
William Carlos Williams
By himself, electrocuted;
by modernity, his mind snapped
taut, that tightrope above the falls,
beyond the baseball stadium
loaded with a crowd, screaming like
wildfire. Ballroom dancing with
Marianne Moore beneath the petrified
pelican in a taxidermist’s shop.
He glanced into the mirror’s modernity
and wanted street cars to slalom
through the hair on his scalp, wanted
Paterson’s newspaper headlines
printed on his teeth. A vaudevillian
dance macabre when they released
Ezra from Pisa. Most of all,
Aaron Burr, his outlaw prototype
that trumped any cowboy, assassin
or confederacy. Modernity
was the path, but less linear, less
circular, less step stones and more mud.
A pointillist’s rain-wet wheelbarrow
and white chickens in his old age.
They always just happened to be there.