Cartographer of Crumpled Maps
The painted buntings used to pair among
the fractured feelings
neither bunting nor feeling,
came to assist their harvest
what was settled among the field, a Hairy bear (one that laughed)
slinked in from the wilderness
a child heiress jostled in the imagery and made hand puppets
with the earth’s ceiling
the light of the moon scattered a hectare and a half.
A mandarin interpreter punctured the scenery
and like lunar egg tempera painted the background.
The longest edge must be kept dry
and stored with the root vegetables all winter.
The frost had a wisp like a wasp;
The fortnight had a mime
That hollered, for impromptu theater
And kept a watchful eye for a shooting star
Not knowing blind men can see meteors…
The mind was a cartographer of crumpled maps
it diluted the wilderness with the penultimate truth
At this degree not even the crags of trees could be kept.
The pervasiveness of passive verbs laughed at the oratory of editors
or the crumpled rage of a jester’s instrument
Don’t cry the aesthetic lunged at wise men and duds
It is never too late to rage at the hilarious night.
At a Concert, Battery Park
We wait in the park for a concert,
with the downtown hoards, near the Hudson.
The thickness of summer convalesces
over the river. When will the rain come?
Already, some hide beneath
their oily bags, in preparation
for the warm smell of rain on concrete.
You turn to me before the first crack
flashes on empty office windows.
I do not know you.
Your eyes, senseless and inconceivable,
reflect the multi-colored crowd
and the upwind flight of a hundred fliers.
A gray wall builds above the stage.
I cannot speak to someone like you.
Why now, why here—vulnerable
in the city fields, and alone,
our expressions fade among the desperate faces.
We should have a mixed drink
down the block at some place we don’t know,
but still faintly remember.
A puddle has formed beneath us
on the shiny floor. The Knicks are playing.
The bar is filled. It’s like St. Patrick’s Day.
The walls hang convoluted with ornaments:
leftovers from holidays, when chips and salsa
was served late, and fireworks banged outside.
You tell me of a family and the suburbs;
I talk to listen more. You talk of children,
and grilling in the lawn at dusk.
You tell me of family trips upstate
to go camping in the cold.
But your eyes are still beneath the shadow
of your smock, and the rain is steadily
falling. My cigarette plumes
in the streaky wetness.
You and the crowd have begun to disperse.
An open fire hydrant wets the shores of the Bruckner Expressway
boasts of glistening children.
Twenty-six pigeons circle a corner
and are released from their pervasive fear, even if just for a second.
They dreamt of horses under the veil of a smoggy night,
children travel alone in their dreams.
And the mute spoke, and the blind saw and the deaf heard
and all was fiery in the anachronistic night.
A prophetic child and a clueless cat sang in the streets,
knocking down towers and shaking the graves of priestesses and fliers for UFC 2018.
They spoke until their tongues turned dry,
like folk singers on the high Sierras, they were spinsters of their own tales.
Weaving canyons and rocky dales,
They broke the day, they carried the papers to posh patrons
They turned over the dead-lined news.
Rivers broke, a flood watch flooded across flashing iphone screens
toward an electrical heat wave.
And lined in fishing fleet, well-worn Spanish men found Hemingway
safely moored in an East River dock, with Crappies, Sea Robins and an occasional Stripers.
Bizarre rises of small sharks caught deep currents, darkened only by motorists
Who walled the FDR overpass;
Currents that extend like jet-liners rapidly ascended to new rays of stratosphere,
clarified the surrounding presumptuous air.
And they speak of gentrification in the still pools of suburban delight,
Hipsters where families of generations separate their torn ends, re-wove
Seeking recompense in church or a tea-time Sundays
that fondled with disaster and teetered
finding loyal squadrons of brothers to soak up the drenched night.
Scattered geese with Herculean audacity, dismantled
and unified rows of tree-filled streets.
The approaching protesters and migratory raptures heated outside.