Sunday, July 13, 2014

That's Not the Sun Up In The Sky

That's not the sun up in the sky, it's a human heart
-- The Mountain Goats, “Alpha Sun Hat”

That’s not the clock on the wall, it’s a broken knuckle
That’s not the evening turning gray, it’s a photograph
That’s not the warmth of your skin, it’s a…it’s a…
That’s not a child’s bicycle, it’s a stray ottoman
That’s not the dried amaryllis our neighbors gave us,
The one in the window in the spare bedroom
That’s not the hammer with the shaky head
I told you, I told you, there’s just not enough light
That’s not the monkey we saw at the Baltimore zoo
That’s not the stale saltwater taffy, it’s an effigy.

That’s not the proper order, it’s a welcoming
That’s not how you spend the evening, it’s criminal
That’s not the feature of your face I’m familiar with,
It’s neither this nor that, it’s a cameo, a bit part,
A burgeoning, the way the storm splits the gutters,
Rents the rooms upstairs, plaster and paint chips
Everywhere. Oh, everywhere. Not mathematics,
Not vestigial fingers, not scales, not historical novels
That’s not the morning turning warmer, it’s the blood
In our veins, coursing forward, coursing forward again.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Meaningless Pictures from Old Magazines

Of the Silence of William Archibald Spooner: A Ballad

I write reminders on my skin
Clip meaningless pictures from old magazines
I tape them to the walls
        -- The Mountain Goats, “All Up the Seething Coast”


After sixty years teaching Divinity, black-robed
W.A. Spooner began to accost the strangers
Who, uninvited, appeared in his classroom: “You
Haven't come for my lecture, you just want to
Hear one of those, well, things.” Then the students
Grew ever more restless with his



Once, after a particularly nasty quarrel, one
That included her slicing her finger, Spooner’s wife
Is purported to have said, You know, I was a fool
When I…
     but didn’t bother
     to finish.
Here’s what I want, Spooner replied:
I want to live in a world such that a chicken
Can meander across a road without its motives
Being questioned.


        Perhaps his wife simply
Wanted to improve herself, perhaps by learning
A new language, or perhaps the problem really
Boiled down to how best to use prepositions: of or
For or beneath, for example, a pith helmet (also known,
Let it be known, as safari tin, sun shade, or such).


But remember that we may not be able to make
Proper judgment without help. Perhaps this morning,
When you told me you had met him on a double date,
You already knew he used to be a detective. Did you
Know? Did you?
     And what of it?


Well, I’ll tell you
What of it: If you proceed, if you insist on proceeding,
You will likely fall into

    a pit.


William Archibald Spooner would
Surely answer, surly as ever: That’s clever,
That. Let’s give it a try then.


Oh, fuck it.