notes: winter blockade
morning, the words are coagulated in my fingertips; frozen
by the gray cement winter outside. Every enclave is a blessing.
The original city planners designed it to push wind out like
a large funnel; the future back then was in science… an
entire city built to harness the powerful wind off the mighty
river and blow it east where the moneyed investor’s class
sits chewing on turd-shaped cigars.
I am tired of this prosthetic reality. In winter, particularly, it’s
easy to see the linkages holding the whole kit and caboodle together.
last honest man I knew is dead
buried under the eastern mountains that birthed him
without his consent.
that is, geographically speaking, centuries away]
pollution rises to the top of the frozen river, impervious to the cold
dredging up with it
the bones of all our children, most beloved pets and evil memories, ex-wives,
cheating husbands, deadbeat fathers and drunken mothers.
learned not to notice.
Not anymore. Better to keep our heads down
lest he arctic wind snatches our souls from our nostrils.
leading authority has suggested
the increasing number
of winter deaths
is a direct result
of exhaling at the wrong moment.
trying to keep it
mystic nihilists use pillows,
having learned to
ignore the unconscious drive to survive,
holding the goose
feather down on themselves.
have their mouths and noses surgically sealed—
mainly on the west coast
according to a special
report on 20/20.
and asphyxiation clubs are forming in high schools
all over the Great
Midwest, while here,
in the Great Valley,
senile riverbed farmers watch
while their proud
wrap their legs around
and crawl back up
the birth canal.
is the sleepy month—
season of the automatons, day after sale,
lowdown consumer confidence
the only reliable indicator
whether god is laughing and it will be a good year.
though no one is smiling
is not an objective indicator)
analysts are pleased. Graphs appear optimistic,
and just one more juggling of the numbers
will prove unequivocally
the system works.
the City Alderman has ordered closed
every homeless shelter; sent the bums packing
and the nuns are now serving Jesus
one John at a time.
announcement caused the market to jump 3 points./
on every street corner in the city
sanctioned megaphones proclaim the departure
of al true prophets, soothsayers, and storytellers. They packed themselves
in 100 mile long caravans headed for the West Coast, New York, Chicago, or
they pay more per syllable.
nonstop sounds of commuter traffic
of trains, of planes circling from delayed landing,
of barges filled to the brim with bones, follow me
into m dreams.
sleeping is no escape from December.
Winter’s settling in early this year. Not enough hot toddies
and rock salt to keep the chill at bay. All the bartenders sit,
reading yesterday’s newspaper while one lone crier sits in the back
at the piano trying to play a funeral dirge. Half the keys are missing
the rest are out of tune
or held on by broken strings.
is wrapped with inevitability, mummified
disguised as winter snow. We settle in waiting
(always waiting) and stocking up on liquor, bread,
wine, and tobacco for the long season ahead. Rationing coffee
and dried apricots for every breakfast between now and the end of the world,
while the television informs us
of our own recent demise.
Houses caught fire, the souls of thousands evaporate like steam;
meanwhile, in the downtown business district, men and women
in thousand dollar suits jump from 40th floor windows. Paramedics say
they are falling missionary style.
we travel out
to bury out honored
nearly Christmas; time to crucify out daughters
on perforated plywood crosses,
like they made on that PBS show last Saturday. We’ve taught them
since before birth not to cry—
point in seeing that mess, too.
couples desert the suburbs
for the rural counties of their birth
only to find it smoldering… thus is was spake
in the days when giants walked the earth,
cursing us to watch the apocalypse through puffy eyes.
shut up in long deserted libraries
solving puzzles to stay the execution
one more day.
have been disturbing of late. Always, the sun explodes into
paper mache’ shards. Then, in the darkness, blind hands
stumble upon me, tearing my skin and eyes and tongue til
I can no longer scream.
do we carry on like this? These tears frozen round our necks
keep us bound to the earth… grounded even as our wings pull themselves
free of our backs
leaving bloody scars like tire tracks?
the buzzards know
this meat is too rancid for eating,
and moved on
to less blighted lands.
empty troop transports keep the peace,
while the cops crack down on single mothers
and street preachers on the orders of the City Alderman,
calling via satellite from Palm Springs. Turned out by the thousands,
teenage mother feed babies with one exhausted tit
while servicing entire squadrons with rest
2 by 2)
making sure to leave a little blood aside
for the weekly tax collection.
3.71456, part z75
The new law:
PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
EVERYTHING IN its PLACE.
OC housewives smile. They walk the streets
with rags and cans of Lysol
disinfecting entire city blocks in a cloud so thick
even the cops won’t go there, and the gov’t pays a stipend
for certain petty tasks along the way: infant assassinations
of us left
survive on moldy bread
and our envy of the dead
while all our embalmed hope is rolled away
destined for another anonymous grave.
It may be time to break again for the mountains.