We like everything
to go according to plan
and when it doesn’t—
we hope that somehow everything’s
connected to a bigger plan
because if it’s not—
and we’re left standing on the plains at nightfall
in a big wind with hands in our pockets—
aren’t we fools again?
We know sometimes
it’s the same Great Notion
that hoists magnificent stones and builds a great pyramid
as destroys a city and makes ashes of children—
but that doesn’t help.
The fatigue, dear me—
as we lie in our beds at night
protecting ourselves from a painful past
and groping for what—
we don’t even know what—
we lost back there.
What do we need to do
to be happy? To be grateful for what is
and to dream of better?
Stare at the ceiling and listen
to the lunatic bird in the yard,
feel, in the stillness that follows,
furry despair, his unblinking eyes
on our skin that changes as we sleep, strangely,
to a vast stretch of beach lined with palm trees,
a sky, a boat, a sea so clear the stone that drops from our fingers
falls forever into emptiness.
Then, because we can—
because somewhere past where we can see
we hear a dog bark, the drip
of a faucet or the song of a man selling avocados—
we lean toward shore
put on our traveling hats
tilted just so
to give us that jungle cool.
That’s right, we step out—
Doesn’t the light delight?
Last night, uncountable cruelties—
All I Need Today
The sunlight on the rock makes the birds sing
about something that happened before we were born
and far away — or maybe their singing brings the sun
and their song is about something here today.
I could argue either way.
I live in the middle of endless circles of dogs
barking out past the colored houses on the hill
to the ragged edges of the continent. Do dogs bark at sea?
Across ice caps? The mysteries go on and on
in search of shade, like a mad dog walking loops
in hot sand. We’re donkeys lifting our hammer heads to watch.
Two girls descend the alley in matching red, words
tumbling softly from their mouths, making
bubbles on the cobbles. Some mornings emptiness
feels just right. The girls hold hands; the bubbles are soap.
Bells ring and ring on Guadalupe — two boys going wild
in the belfry — which besides coffee and a bowl of fruit,
may be all I need today.
She asks if the streets
are lined with bodies
and laughs. A few
but I step over them
on my way for coffee.
Does anybody care?
but they grieved
long ago. It’s windy.
A front with mist
makes everything clean.
By evening, the bodies
will be gone, and so will I.