A penny for my narrative, my sweet callus
yo? I’ve never seen Mean Girls, but I hate
your heathen beard. Tin rill. So much of what
we do is captured in the landscape. I think
and the leaves fall. My love is a longshore-
man’s love, awkward as an aardvark. Oh,
lose the attitude, Jon Bon Jovi. The people
in this poem are no mere characters, we
are pieces of my heart, river-crossing tokens.
We shovel pain like misshapen mouthfuls
of penne alla vodka, wondering Where did
Dave Chappelle go? Where did “Rock the
Casbah” go? Where did all that asbestos go?
Look, there’s a notornis in that violet and
there’s dough in that postage stamp, baby.
Perturbed snack. I mean, you don’t yell fire
in a violet, and you don’t be mean. Be dizzy,
be new, be tongue, be cross if you have to,
but don’t be a sore narrator. I sweep the leaves
thinking Do more. Such praetorian snippets
are so much of what we do. Stop, and then
begin. But you say “Stop or I’ll tweet,” and then
you do: “It is over, four leaf clover.” You love
to roast me, but I refuse to ask for guidance.
You think my earlock’s a joke? Who do you
think you are? Texas? You forgot your teeth.
You, who thought Twins was a decent movie.
There’s too much oregano in my marinara
and too much Ted Williams in your love.
If you’re a piece of me, count your blessings.
My moat is real. Forget what happens, happens.
I hate your beard and I hate your token pain.
I am a violet, you are a fire, and we are a tradition.
I refuse to joke around in your dizzy landscape.
I mean it. I refuse to cross into your Action Park.
So much of what we do is change, but I’ve never
seen a notornis rock a four-leaf clover, so
goodnight, Texas. I am going to open a spa
in Roanoke, Virginia, where The Food Network
promises to massage the bad stew from my back.
THE DAY BEFORE NEW YEAR’S EVE
The ground is not for me with its borrowed fleece
and clouds hovering like taunting children,
with its lumps and depressions and outright holes.
There’s no situation here. I’m alive and the light
jangles. Electric light. iMac light. I’m a monkey
at the computer, but a clumsy person at the tree.
I’m New Year’s Eve tomorrow and Auld Lang Syne
today. I’m Bobby Burns to my family and
John Brandi to friends and strangers. I’m a scholar
with any knife and a chef with any song.
I’ve thought a lot about the morning, the way
it comes on like descending smoke, a purple skull,
but my thoughts occur inside a plastic bell,
click-clack, until? I know the way a pigeon knows