November Happened Again

I.

The air is dark, the cold is dark, and there is the threat of ice tonight. There aren’t angels
In Boston. Or if there are, they’ve got their heads down against winter.
People or angels walk like horses pulling cabled streetcars or like streetcars.
There’s a dirty sidewalk and some leaves have come from the trees left standing.
On one of those intersections— call it something and Newbury—
Nobody’s wearing gloves. Their heads are all bare. Cars rock back too early for green.
Down that way is the water and the grass, probably dying. Maybe if the cold comes tonight
As hard as they say, the ticks will die.
The mares get them worst on the softest flesh below their hind legs. Horrible
Scabs on warm secret teats, so unexposed like the creases where teddy bears don’t wear.
I’ve been checking under my fingernails for little black ones. Worst is when they pop before you pull them.
They say Lyme doesn’t show for a couple of months, so it’s a matter of time.

II.

The barn manager loads a rake in a wheelbarrow. He’s full of conversation.
You know where they come from right?
I’m running my hands down the gray’s leg, feeling her surface for
bumps, feeling her cannon for heat. Hoping the flecks are compact, hard, unfilled. Hoping her
Cannon is cool, slim, unswollen.
Ticks? My hands travel up to her girth (scabby) then to her chest.
You know the government made them? In labs? You know that?
On the base of her neck, I pin one between my nail and finger. Her left ear is on me, but she is still.
I can hear the prick. I see Capocha’s ear twitch.
I flick the leggy pink body onto cold cement, Oh really?
And there’s the damn head still buried. My hands keep searching.

III.

They call it sleep; it’s actually hiding. There aren’t angels in Boston.
How the hell did we let this one happen?

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On Changing

The light faded or was blocked and in the evenness I saw the yellow in your leaves. How wonderful you change. As if
Each leaf, each strand of leaf on leafy stalk decides, alone, completely: Now, it is time. Not like other trees, ones who start at the top, like
They’ve been toasted. Or ones where one branch, maybe strongest, maybe dying, goes orange from the source. You
With flapping arms and shaggy head have chosen to speckle in your little way. I am dazzled.

Oh, Virginia

“Even the horses, had they been blind, could have heard the hum of London in the distance; and the drivers, dozing, yet saw through half shut eyes the fiery gauze of the eternally burning city.” – Virginia Woolf, The Years

Oh, Virginia,
It is your city and in it I’m spinning
Like smoke or breath or air in cold—
Hot things that burst in wet wind or cold water. Take me into your hands
And squeeze me like fireplace bellows as I breathe,
Like a poet. Like a drunk.

Like you, I’ll grab the city with two hands and chew it until I’m drunk—
Feed me, Virginia:
You know what it’s like to see a city breathe
And you’ve touched the Serpentine and you’ve sent it spinning,
Dirty water less dirty back then. Even up to your hands
I’m sure you never felt the cold

Or if you did feel the cold
You stayed in the cold, numbing until you were drunk,
Feeling the magic in your hands
Until you couldn’t, Virginia.
Behind your eyes a world was spinning
And all you could do was breathe.

And all I can do is breathe.
With gritted teeth I was fighting the cold,
But when I followed those spinning
Streets through London, lost in the pavement, drunk,
I’m sure I found where you lived, Virginia.
It was dirty and it was flat up to the street and I touched the gray wall with my hands

And your industrial soot, covering my hands,
Made me feel like I could find a way to breathe
The way that you breathed, Virginia.
Your home and the day were cold
But between the two, I’m sure they could turn someone like you into a drunk.
A city street so tall so white so wonderfully morbid, it sent my mind spinning.

And, spinning,
My mind dug its hands
Into the explosive world you made of England, drunk
And filled with cavalry officers and parlor games and old boys’ songs that you learned to breathe
And learned to exhale with absolute exhilaration—warm air pushed out from cold—
Why did you ever let yourself stop breathing, Virginia? How could you?

From spinning claustrophobia you took everything and made it breathe.
You took in your tender hands a city in all its dirt and all its cold.
You fed it, filled it, until it was drunk and warm. You made it speak, Virginia.

Mold

Conjure something up, then,
Reach your hands to the back of your skull and grasp it, uproot it,
Put something just in front of you hummingbirding there
Let it eddy upon itself, swarm into itself, let it take form like a flock in wind.
What is it? Something small enough to fit in a fist, soft enough to refigure.
Ball it up and float it just there to look at. It is something of art. Something. Anything
Of art. Scrape your mindfingers along frames of the National Gallery, break that vase
On your knee and look at the shard. Squeeze your eyes and forge a monument.
No. None of these will float. None of these will hover enough to pour words over—
To cast in this copper. To break open. Art, dipped in flaking plaster, plaster
Smoothed, plaster filled, copper cooled, and there— There is art. It begins
Shining, becomes smooth, becomes dimensional, becomes unsettling and inaccurate.
Oxidizes, decays, presses on the ground beneath it. Pick it up.
Spin it. Throw it. Put a plaque above it. Break a window with it.
What was this art? It is its copper imitation. It has sharp edges from imperfect imprinting
It almost has an echo of that original shape. I couldn’t catch the shimmering thing
So I grip something else, completely.

On Bleeding

It was the water trough somehow. Her body covers itself in glossy red her left hind and hoof all gelled over all shining red.
Flesh hangs. Her eyes are not rolled not agitated not blinking. She is awake. She stands, steady, still. She has not
lain in almost years. She will not now. Flesh, curling, thick, hairy, hangs. Her muzzle — smooth in its coolness —
does not lean into comfort. She is alone. Tired, maybe. Once, her clotted tail gestures toward the frantic bugs who lift and dive. And holding her
is wild blood and its fingers that reach over leg, over hoof, into mudwater. There was nothing in this field
sharp enough for this sort of gash. It must have been the water trough. There–the metal lip, shining, dripping.
I vomit into mud.

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On Ordering For Here

I want it on a heavy plate with heavy silverware. And I want a heavy, topless mug.
I will make you let me borrow your things. I swear it makes for better coffee.
Here, then. I land in a wooden seat not moving. Let conversations land around me, blow away.
I will unpack. I will make space for my heavy things pounding on this shaking table
and they will settle here. I’ll get used to the temperature and blend together all the buzzing.
I hate the ones who drift, chat, whose orders you already know how dare you!
I ordered for here. You’ve just gotten used to their daily To-Go.

Unplaced

Here’s a place. It’s got a wrinkle to it.
And here, another: Look for the middle, the center of it.
Look for the arrow and where it’s pointing.
Trace with your finger where light meets the water, touch it and send the light shaking.
Pull down from the sky that place you gave me
when we went running to the ocean and
the phosphorescence spun around our ankles. It flew right from our fingertips–
My love, the light was ours and we were burning in warm water.
You and I wound our bodies together to be both there,
floating. We were the same and the ocean was ours.
Then wind and morning came and took fingers to our place and the
ocean was your place. And the luggage was mine. And the car was mine and the boat and the road and everywhere but
Let me rip it all apart. I’ll take my razor to a map and puzzle it up into place into place.
I will take a razor to this city.
It is scattered it is not whole it is unplaceable entirely.