Walking around the room

I
in a field up Allegany way,
we come up from deep down
coal mine valleys
to this plateau
to this prairie tucked ‘tween
two sandy bottomed spruce forests
with a bonfire across blue sky
a solitary oak gone
October orange
a controlled burn,
rooted in veiny leaves

II
mattei botanical gardens
a good day for kites
clear icy sky
late October breeze

we bought a Russian sage
an octopi tangle
lavender and steppe
how could we have known
what a Michigan winter
would do
we picked out that plant outside
and before that
I kneeled beside a thistle bush
and peered up through the reeds
and seeds
at a blur of sky

III
marshmallows on sticks
twenty feet tall
dwarfing a pine bough
shade house
a tent top
but not the big top
the backdrop of a
traveling circus
where music played all night
and stilt walkers
juggled torches
in the shadow of
the Ferris wheel
and the nickelodeon
that sang,
“that day I’ll burn this
whole place down,
when the circus comes to town”
clear skies
and july sky
grew marshmallows on stalks
twenty feet tall
the summer
i went out
and saw it all

IV
we sat on
an old couch
in an old house
we used to rent
dan on one side
of Sand
me on the other
we passed a pipe
traded our day’s stories

I’d gotten a letter from
sunny santa barbara
a gypsy of a girl,
she’d followed the scent
of her asian medicine dream
to the big blue sea
a week in her new home,
on her way to class
she crosses paths with a
sidewalk man
a sign leaning on
boxes and books
that he leaned on,
offering a trade to
someone else
chasing a dream…
“will trade all earthly possessions for
intergalactic sailboat”

monica first told me
then I told dan,
then he told sand,
he went and got a pen
some paper
and wrote
“will bark for intergalactic sailboat”
and laid it on the side
of the Sand man’s belly.

V
frank zappa in profile
looking like castro
salt and pepper in his beard
nose and mouth drawn up
in a reluctant
dying man’s smile
cancer killed him before
censorship could

shortly after the flashbulb popped
in 1994
fz trotted into the dust of a fallow dental floss field
riding a pigmy pony or zircon encrusted instrument of
some sort

I was fourteen when he died
dreaming my first Montana dreams
refusing the censor’s scissors
that hungered for my too long for prep school
locks

on my wall
fz resembles castro

in the dean’s office
I told them I was hoping to someday be
jesus
with long locks and a crown of nettles
I was misinterpreted
“you can be kurt cobain when you graduate,
but while you’re here you’ll adhere to
the grooming practices outlined in your
student handbook”

I wonder who was the first
to tell frank what he
could and could not say?

VI
a mirror I found in the basement
of a rented house

a spidery spiral crack
a sun amidst reflections of
dust covered things
left behind

I painted stars in orbit
around that sun
and a black hole
from a dull spot on the glass
that would not give back reflection

this mirror universe
was forged in the basement
under naked bulb light
raw

outside in full sun
I leaned my painted mirror
universe
against the back porch
and playing with lenses and more mirrors
snapped a photograph
of the sun reflected by
a spiral of spidery cracked glass

the day was breezy
and fresh

the basement was damp,
the air, difficult to swallow

I slept fitfully that night
beneath damp sheets
the blinds over my open window
swelled with the wind
but brought no relief to the heat

in the morning
taking iced mug of coffee to
back porch
I found my mirrored universe
shattered amidst the crushed stone driveway
beneath.

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2 thoughts on “Walking around the room

  1. …of course, being catholic school boys, had we said anything like that we would have been beaten half to death by the black clad, blessed servants of the lord, in the name of the father, son, and the holy uncola.

  2. About Hair! I think Frank would have said:

    Lemme take a minute & tell you my plan
    Lemme take a minute & tell who I am
    If it doesn’t show
    Think you better know
    I’m another person
    Better look around before you say you don’t care
    Shut your fuckin’ mouth about the length of my hair
    How would you survive
    If you were alive
    Shitty little person?
    (from Mother People)

    and:

    Who cares if hair is long or short
    Or sprayed or partly grayed . . .
    WE KNOW THAT HAIR AIN’T WHERE IT’S AT

    (there will come a time when you won’t even be ashamed if you are fat!)

    WAH WAH-WAH WAH

    La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
    La la la la la la la la (a-a-ah!)
    La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
    La la la la la la la la (oo-wee-ooh!)
    (from Take your Clothes Off When you Dance)

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