The colum­nist reads the crows
falling out of the the lau­rels
and adjusts his hat. The sto­ries come
when the dogs go slack in the wet grass
and the crows walk in the street.
There is talk of revolt,
the mad­ness at home can wait.
We wait until night to howl at the rats
behind his house where he waters
the grass, sil­ver and naked but for his hat.

The Aubergine

This is then, when they stepped out, right ?
down the steps from the hotel to the Aubergine –
more like black bruise col­ored,
the con­crete ramp they call the Aubergine
to make being old or in a chair not stink –
and across the Checker­board –
the reg­u­lar board­walk paint­ed black and white
so get­ting to the sand is a game not a drag –
and to the sand. Before this is when
they were in their room for two days
only some steps and the Aubergine
and the Checker­board away from the sea.
This is after the fight at El Patio
and the fire and the red tag on the door –
so you know you can’t live there any­more –
after the first hotel in Carls­bad –
this is Lagu­na, right ? this is when we freaked
and didn’t know if they were in jail
or in TJ or they killed each oth­er,
which she did, him, when they stepped out
and down onto the cool blue gray sun­down sand
after two days in that room with a rock
she picked up on The Aubergine
and the hotel said their room was real­ly clean
and the bed was still made.

for my mother

What are you now ? Ash, a vine, a por­tion

left to sleep, cry­ing in your sleep.

They want to take your leg.

Your oxime­ter chirps behind you, above you

Ban­dit steals a kiss from the Frog.

We don’t speak.

Neglect is our com­mon tongue. We smoke

and snort our way into the same bed, moth­er

and son, until one sec­ond before the only sec­ond

that counts. If the Snow­man and Fred could see us

from the TV on the wall, they’d choke and chew

each oth­er to the bone. We can win any race

where you have to beg to fin­ish.