I hate shaving.
Thinking enlists in its war.
The two dimensions of reflection
Foam licks my temporal chin,
I confess to the razor how
I'm leaving immortality behind
for someone else to believe in like a dolt.
I'm planning to pack love up in gray bags,
tossing it in the back of a gray car
on a dismal gray night
and driving it down gray streets
through gray fog
to the gray waterfront
where I'm dumping its gray body
in the deep gray bay.
that series of apposite deluding mirrors,
is the heirloom I will pass down,
morphine for the masses
with their beliefs balanced precariously
on white horses like circus dolls
and the way they stare out at the universe
and somehow relate it to
the thrill of working senses,
the thrust of beating hearts.
Science, I'm tying up
with its buttocks exposed,
a dark pleasure hole
for all who believe in the rotting worth
of labor-saving devices,
bombs and metallic bigness.
Even electric shavers.
The muscled tree of commerce
I leave to its chain-smoking branches,
the many faces of its bark,
its snake roots, the moth-eaten suicide
of its blood-red leaves.
And love, that gray-faced war correspondent
is frothing gray and lukewarm
in my throat.
It doesn’t want to wait for its gray formal burial.
It prefers to be vomited up like Marxism
in the heady days of the early nineties
when gray curtains fell
and we all cheered the gray banded worm of democracy.
Love would just as easily
mix with last night's turnip,
undercooked pork, wretched wine.
It could be a momentary Angkor,
gray Buddha balustrades,
gray stone monuments
to peace, bat-towers and oral sphincters.
The brain-suck of politics
I stash under a blind rock.
Patriotism I pour down the gutter.
As for religion, I still pray to its gray-haired parents,
but faith has all the decommissioned lines
of a Duchamp painting these days.
It’s a tractor pull on TV
between evangelists and serial killers.
The gray love is embarrassing me.
I should have removed it sooner.
I left some behind on a woman's red vagina.
I gave a handful to the beggar man,
stained his fingers.
Should have washed it down the sink
with the cigarette ash (its patron saint.)
Should have let the wind handle it,
or that baritone voice on the radio.
Should have carved it into tiny dots
that only a sex-starved nun would recognize.
Meanwhile, art has been aborted in the second semester.
Not even Kafka or Samuel Beckett survives.
I'm growing a gray beard and I hate that.
But, if I shave, I leave gray in places
that a lover could get at.
The nihilist, I believe, should be more
than clean shaven,
He should cut into the skin,
bleed the red of his own stinging amusement
You have no altar
so a restaurant table will have to do.
unless there’s a singing waiter.
And the service is good,
a kind of high mass
where, instead of wafer,
it's clams on the half-shell.
but not a cursory sip.
No, you devour God's blood
and then some.
And the main course
is prime rib,
just the way you like it;
a sermon on the pleasures
of fresh meat, medium rare,
and creamy mashed potatoes.
It's no church
but it has its own ideas
on the nearest thing to heaven.
And praise is due along with the bill.
You pay willingly.
You can't thank the menu enough.
Night, My Role in It
Some sunlight, some darkness,
the ending of the day,
the unsuspected triumph of the night
and, in windy tree branches
or people walking by,
the little bits of motion
that must be doing it;
can't be the turning of the earth surely,
can't be something as unimaginable
as it is obvious;
can't ask the light,
it doesn't know,
nor the shadow,
it just moves in where it's told,
but there's wind,
there's men and women
and me, on the porch,
third wine, first cigar,
rocking, rocking, rocking:
planet rotation indeed...
is not as uninvolving
as all that.