i. New Years Day, 1981 - BE HAPPY
In beauty it begins,
you startle from sickness,
guess at the month,
say, where did all my loved ones go?
and they call out from the dark
which orients you
until you begin to respond to the light,
notice the blinking machine,
1,2,3, and the voices again
from their tape, 1, 2,
the recording of your parents
you made to get through
those last years where every breath
held a landscape most thought incapable
of life, when every phonecall after dark
gave you the shakes
and now always will--
a death on christmas, a second on new years
eve, and everything went up in flame
so the world could be made new again.
ii. When The Town You Came From Finally Dies
I wind through you across the threaded yard,
through nighttime, unfinished
letters in the grass grown
ankle-high, the storm flickers in the distance
that quivers with the wind,
low under the heat it whispers
drive or fly or just make it north,
to you, to her, depending
on who's there and who hears,
and through the grass towards the porch light
incandescent through white rain
you find me soaked in paper strips
and begging endlessly, footprints
feathered deep in mud,
grounded by thunderstorms
we'll leave so far behind
rattling the weakened roof
until the light trickles dead in the lightning,
the body too shamed to walk upright,
so bare as the bulb and it's threads in the night.
iii. Plagiarism, part 2
If I took off all my clothes
and went to the desert
I could walk into the dreaming.
These words belong to everybody
and the world becomes your body
and side by side the sky would spin us
like sparks on the fourth of july
where the sounds of celebration
float over the far hills.
It's July and the Earth cools in the darkness
beneath us. Stay awake now
and forever belong here, speak
these words with me and deny
that every night needs a day
that we are even awake
that death has ever entered the world-
how could it? Speak these words
to forget the life you wanted
for the one you have now.
Here, take this crown; I'll find a sword.
When I wake up just don't leave me alone.
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