poems

21 August 2008

Joe's Party (A Summer Saturday)

1144AM; a Thursday.
Sitting in The Livingroom with a large nonfat Mint Mocha. Nothing in my head but Bridge Over Troubled Water; what I wouldn’t give for a voice pure and liquid as that. Ugh. Unpoetic. I flit, I flap, I flee…
It’s noon just about and I’m walking in Old Town and I’m walking behind two girls one in pink one in beige and then they left turn and I’m walking behind Jeff Buckley but black-haired. I would almost swear it was him besides the truth of the real Jeff’s drowning. Jeff ducks into a cantina whereas I go straight then I am walking past Jeremy Irons wheeling a crate thing of boxes of beer and it says COORS on his shirt sleeve and it says RIP Genevieve on his outer right ankle and I look at him and after as I pass by and his too-long hair is pushed beyond his face in the sun-riddled breezes

Friday. Michael calls the light slicing the waves Sea-comets; it’s eleven at night almost and we’re floating in the ocean which is lit up gray green though at the horizon black from the lights of Jack’s Bar & Grill where people are still dancing

Saturday afternoon. Hummingbird on a fern a day later, before we leave for the party, bobbing its brown head back and forth like a miniscule owl, green chest rumpled, each chamber of its heart stuttering beneath

Saturday afternoon/evening, at the party for Joe Powers, ex-director at North Coast Rep. Vince says “Waita minute there’s some faulty mathematics afoot” as Gabe plows through some debate or other, my father chuckling from his seat on the outside wicker sofa.
Julia whose name doesn’t suit her chats up someone on the board, sofa pillows barriering between them on the veranda, she’s one of those curly-haired big-nosed loud people. She’s 21.
Natty a kid from my sixth grade class is tall and beaky now, kind of like a less hardcore Eminem, his father looks like Andy Warhol. Natty has a pair of those gristly black earrings that stretch the cartilage and go through the middle of the lobes. Come to think of it he looks like the boy Cate Blanchett has sex with in Notes on a Scandal. Two girls in heels and jeans at his shoulders now; he says stuff, they laugh. It happens again. Is he a funny kid now, is that it? One arm holds a bottle of water and the other is wrapped around his chest and massaging his ribs casually like some guys do.
Things nameless people said in the family room and on the patio: “I’m gonna just trust, my love, I’m just gonna have to trust.” And in response: “Glad to hear it, my dear.”
“We’re not kids turning into adults,” one young actor says of Joe’s mentoring, “we’re kids turning into better kids.”
And another, slightly British or Australian accent, at the close of his bit: “And please don’t stare at me intensely now.”
And Natty makes a brief humble speech, fidgeting first with the water bottle, then with a half a cracker he selects randomly from the debris of the table before him, mumbling, “Sorry we’re losin’ you, man,” and everybody laughs because that doesn’t sound like the Natty they know and Joe just says “You’re not.”
Joe: “I feel like I’m at my own funeral.”
Joe: “Now I don’t wanna get too emotional because I love you…”
Joe: “Life is about change for me and I don’t understand it just as much as you.”

Later I’m sitting curled in an armchair editing this piece I’m working on for location – putting boxes around every word that describes setting and whatnot – and one of Natty’s boys comes down the stairs (I’m seated almost at the bottom of a set of stairs, in the family room) and he’s hot. I mean good to look at hot. But first glance and first feel is that he’s an aloof superior kind of hot, the kind I always like but that never seem to pan out. Anyway, he walks past me sitting curled, white v-neck tucked into an eggplant-colored skirt worn high-waisted, barefoot. And he spoon-feeds me, as he walks past and I flick my bored eyes up at him, he spoon-feeds me the nastiest, dirtiest, slyest, sexiest half-smile ever, and there he goes moving molten beyond the living room and through the wide-open French doors to the pleasantly cool backyard.
He’s wearing a black collared shirt (sleeves rolled to the elbow), light gray pants in a funny plaid, and dark green Vans. Like the smarmy bisexual boy in “Spring Awakening.” He is well-practiced at the swagger that accompanies guys who sag. He’s got pale pale ice-dense blue eyes and bleached-yellow tips over his brown hair, and bony guitar-player fingers. Later when we’re serving the “BRAVO JOE” cake however I hear him talking to Joe’s wife about how he got started in the theater and he’s got the softest sweetest murmuring voice, a voice like you wouldn’t expect, a bedroom voice almost exactly opposite of his eyes.
By Lord, this love’s as mad as Ajax!
It kills sheep, it kills me – I a sheep?

TUESDAY, AUGUST FIFTH, BACKYARD AT NIGHT.

inspired by Frank O’Hara

1.
for B
We women, I thought laughing,
and me all alone –
we will eat eat eat you up and swallow you
and yours even late into the night.
And we won’t forget like you will, either. Or at least
how you might. You and yours might not forget –
your lost black bowtie, or your funny beige boat
of a car might recall with a fondness imprints we women
have made on them both.
And those almost accidentally.
Ah the couple across the way with their green
and naked kitchen is drunk
and groan with adult islandic laughter – laughter
that in the minds of
we women
are among our evening
company this fine Tuesday or is it
another? Well whatever day it is they are both
we are all
here. I was born
on a Wednesday, were you?
I am never without the presence of we women.
I having learned how will eat
eat eat you up, swallow you
and yours and you and yours even late
into the night when our young
neighbors cackle sickly at the sheer
– and unyielding! –
emptiness of their second bottle of burgundy.
And how it glints above the naked green cabinets!
The husband
swiped them from one-a those anxious
company parties that dive
like a knot of chickens with their heads
cut off.
Do you know those parties?


2.
for ...
(Look, it never came!)

3.
11:46PM:
Hey I’m sorry it’s so late I got
into a fight with my parents.
Awake?