Sunday, October 26, 2014

Passing Influence—poem

"Passing Influence" appeared in the literary magazine FENCE way back in 2001. My first big time publication!
Passing Influence
                                    for Susan Wheeler

This is the best part, hate which now
brings you the whole head in reality–
the man’s SUV slides down the road.

Dancing on the (I don’t know the word) tile
you look down slowly;
this is exercise or punishment.

For only a few minutes you have reeled in, forgetting to
lose (you forget cacti), and before it was obscure:
the driveway which surrounds this dry desert
is the dawn entrance of rapists. In this life
they catch children at the critical moment
and undress the bodies in the heat.

The real stupidity, you know, is always
                                    paying the asking price.

Then the plane lands, and the man
lights your joint and takes a stone from his briefcase
and leaves a ship of idiocy in the seat.
You are sinking; he has bent your arm, whispering
you are under the boot of a man.
Clumsiness is insect-like, it means punishment.
So you did everything expected, and in your pain
you remembered not to ask whether it was irrational
or only a steady pool on the floor. Loss, fade
distinguish, worms crawling in the dirt,
a maze of arrivals uncrossed like coathangers around which
during pleasant days, voices make mounds of death.
Every night you have locked a door and turned on a lamp
that leaves only the best comfort.

He calls to say he is ready to come. There is
nothing. Now you can’t recognize the abyss
for what it was, now in there, under the dying river,
a goatman is leaving you, nervously straight; promising death.

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