Looking at the springs, sitting in the sun
Something at my nape begins to tickle
Like the wind’s moving a hair there, fickle
On my bare neck between the scalp and trunk.
I’m reading the poet Bill Kushner—Ah!
His April Poems are wonderful to hold.
It’s April and I’m here with Bill—But no
Something’s crawling on my skin. Is it? What?
I scratch, and it vanishes like a thought
Forgotten, but it’s not. It walks. I pick
From my neck a beautiful round red tick
With many tiny moving legs, enough
To turn my thoughts from Bill to blood and death.
It knows I’m here, where I wanted to rest.
Every time I come it is the same
Running without end down the mountain stairs
Rocks, giant eggs and heads of dinosaurs.
Elegant woods, soft, expanding gently
Over everything, a promised dream
Of health, happiness, not bombed little kids
Without limbs, politicians getting rich
Off suffering—Away! I want to be
Among unfolding ferns and skunk cabbage
Where the warm bright sun thaws the ground still cold
Like Christ raising Lazarus. As I grow
Old it seems possible to really love
Even the startled snake scared in the leaves
But man—Who threw this bottle in the stream?
Silent morning, about to rain. Birds sing
Conversations in the weeping willows.
One lone dove coos. It is so beautiful.
Cachito, quiet at my feet’s sleeping
Curled, paws over his nose, pointed dark ear.
Now I hear a bus down Avenue C
Vanish, gone in its fumes. Voices appear
Coming home or off to work. Way up here
I was happy, not a thing did I want
Or fear unsure of what was real or not
Then I heard my voice talking to myself
Then the twittering of birds then a dove
Then shouts of someone crazy on the block.
I thought I was alone, but I am not.
Jimmy, you let your dogs shit where they want
And you don’t pick it up. It is your fault
When unsuspecting others come and walk
Through the crap or their toddlers catch some bug.
But you’re the one who’s most unfortunate.
I would rather not have lived than be you.
What you do to others you do to you
And your dog’s shit’s the very least of it.
I think you’ve not been loved; you steal, don’t give.
Once I wanted to kill you with a rock
Smash your head in behind the hill—And fuck
No one would have known, but I let you live
And though I know your suffering’s thorough
It’s still my fault it’s not a better world.
When I think of all the lovers I’ve had
It’s a blur, I’m afraid, of quantity
But there was quality in quantity
Angels found in the common crowd, riffraff
Whose amorous wings, far from this fact called earth
Took me up in heavenly abstraction
From the orgy really to the action
Of orgasm when remembered or birth
Or flame or premonition, Adam Eve.
Who can tell us what has been? For love, you
Have to wait, be as chosen as a Jew.
Love’s not Godot though and fortunately
When I think of Love’s smile softly I can
Remember those lips. Whose? I’ve forgotten.