March 6, 2014

when the ice begins to break, you hear the poems repair the baskets...

 ‘Landing of Hendrick Hudson’ by Robert Walter Weir (1842)




they peddle commodity and glass: old river hunger at the wean of seasons

we are sold on their
fancy countenance lights
rung painted circular wise
molten top cooled caught
crossed wired support placed
caged bones in case
we needed to buy more doors
windows are free to look through
though we might want
to hewn our views slowly
oxidizing iron in our blood
cut cloth-ing membership dues
magnets we swear by
dreams we subscribe to often enough
to have the exits in them memorized

patent patterned doorknob latch pulls
spare mercies reading lighted comfort
tucking in against the night out there
a thirsty hungry flesh
quarry to sanded stone
a rain smoothed visage

wind and burn
learn our names  
we come to be known though
by way of scent and road
bent jointed loan sharked articulations
we’d rather crawl than speak sometimes

lost in someone’s eyes
is where we were told
we’d know damnation already

a sugar simple magic rum
molasses and slave to more
a moored slick batik swirl hypnosis
little pocket slavery smuggler tides

here in America
when the penny candy store
put in “The Lottery”
by Shirley Jackson
slot machines
we knew
the madame tussauds
among us would value wax
and wane disappearance cycles
above us all, pour themselves out
while we the herd frenzy
stretch our skin into components
that want to taste immortality
we are who gather on the town green
would bargain being broken
we are who want passage past each hell
we want entrance into every secret heaven
we want safety and security
a surety in another year again

the vendor said
stop talking
I said it feels like pins
far away when I win
token and stay
I am anticipating
unseen pokes
that may or 
may not be
cathartic for me

the vendor said
once more remember
painful appliqués
of wisdom no less
take time to appreciate
when the beauty
is in a scar

the vendor folded the pushcart
packed away the bells
the monkey and peanut machine
there would no more tickets
to scratch off or one armed banditry
this town the vendor said
has advanced its faith
in ‘thank god it’s someone else’ superstitions
it has once again
adhered sacrifice to disguise
a ritual community's
goodness by lie
look again
when Winter breaks
I'll be back
to see and sell
another chance 
for you to tell
your soul to stomach
all it is you want to take

EJR ©

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