Rain, Caveman, and Alfonse — three poems


A flash on the ridge lengthens shadows, dims the wire
of ravens, and you retreat again tonight.

Madness drives us to bury seeds in what solitude
and night reveal—or perhaps it’s only vigor.

Born in longing, words come to life in whispers,
the first truth I know.

What more could I want? Rivets?
Those, too.

Trembling and vertiginous, our little genius
explodes. Sparks fall and I seek shelter where I can—

naked on the wing, a hero in wet socks—
but I’m flattering myself again.

It’s raining stars, love, I’ll say, and maybe you’ll hear me.
Maybe I’ll feel you near.



Cold feet on stone from bed to bathroom
I stand peeing like a horse and assess
my capacities. Never an eager fighter
but fierce enough and good in groups.
I mean I’m not the strongest or the best
hunter, but know who is. The air
from an open window tightens my gaze
past stars and by the time I walk
the dark hall naked back to bed, I’m roaming
endless country with bands of men, drunk
on sky, fire, food, and the women
eyeing us warily. My sleeping wife
turtles her head from blankets and says, What?
Heavy on the mattress, my body loves
the silk of her skin but I’m old
and have been talking to myself.
She moves closer and I float in gratitude.
Here’s where I’m happy as I’ve ever been,
this moment before the prick of irony
and my own falling laughter that comes
with it. As far as caveman days go,
I say, full heart, out loud in the dark,
I think I’ll be all right.



In the cobbled alley
behind the what’s-
the-name-of-it building,
you know the place.
with the arches, she’ll open
her purse, fly you
to New York, Paris
if she likes you.
The world is sad,
she said, and so am I.

Wind blows and purple
jacaranda petals fall.
Hey, I was down
and out in Monterrey,
now here. You’re the richest
gal in town, I said,
tip like Frank Sinatra!
Fifteen in some cultures
is marrying age but
what did I know?
I wanted money,
I wanted love, blackbirds
at dusk, a gold tooth
I could pull and sell.
All that trouble
just to mess around
in bed, walk the Champs
de Mars, sit on benches,
wait for what might happen
and what might not.

Alfonse, I think
she thought my name was,
although she never asked.