Tagged: the Water


Rain outside I am not in:
I am the boy
catching spit in his hands

If I could weave the fibers of my clothes
through the grated entrance
of the storm drain, until I was naked
until it was flooded, until all the people
came rushing from their housing units
to shovel water off their porches
to yell into pillows of thunder
Can’t you see we’re drowning!
Would I earn being hated with so much
stomached love, looked upon with envy
closer to something lost like
the back teeth and spleen were for?
Could you even tell me from the water?
Both of us a single thing more than we are
our parts, the ants and the bats and the
dead grasses laughing, the lightning

Rain outside I am not in:
but you’re over now

Topless Swimming Pool

For god so loved the world he traced it, and traced it
until the outside lines became dark

He wrote the hearts of young boys
into the margins of a topless swimming pool
then asked them not to look

Bubbling up from god’s wrist – a cupped hand
full of spring water, lifting weightless breasts
to the lips of these women

These women who do seem happier with their bodies
as if floating on a moon with no men. No need
for support. I’ve spoken with friends

who are women and no one is mad at us directly
More at privilege. I keep my neck still
as one of the boys in my care

has just seen his first pair of breasts go diving off the board
I tell him that women can have their tops off
anywhere men can in this city

He says that seems more fair. I envy his long life, full of
worsening. I try to shield my eyes, but they are widening
starting to get pointy in the middle

I turn my head to the line at Tube Rentals, where topless women
are being gawked at by boys like me, boys like me are offering
to hold their inflatables, saying how awful it must be

having boys like me gawk at them constantly. All the boys
are like me, with places inside they can’t reach
I watch the young ones strap on their goggles – some

have never even cut their hair. They dive to the bottom
of the springs, then come up screaming that they’ve touched it

All This Sand Was Rock

A father doesn’t change
to his son, not that much, like the ocean
the waves will come in sideways
along his forehead

and the son will sit with him
They will sit with the earth doing its
oldest trick and the son will see the slight tilt
of his father, the sacrifice, the sunburnt back

for him to vault from. This time
they talk about the pier restaurant owners
how they haven’t changed and
still call out orders

like bored jazz musicians, rotating
between instruments. The resorts are all
the same. The city at home is clicking
into more city like safety belts

so they drive out here, the father and son
A little girl down the beach
gets stung by a jellyfish. She catches it
herself in an orange bucket

Little by little
their time will get older
things made more
become smaller

The little girl
brings them the jellyfish
her pretty mother
in tow

She covers her daughter
like a fish inside her tentacles. How old
am I
– the father must think – but
how much more there is of me

Rockport Heron Untitled

As a child there were so many free moments, my heart was full
to carry them, to load them up in my shirt like stones and take
them to the water where I would throw them absentmindedly
at the heads of fish. Now I lift my pants as the marsh becomes
a puddle, the marsh becomes a teardrop split on the point of my
being here. If I have an angel, she’s out on the moon throwing rocks
that never come down. It’s just me and the heron, both of us licked
to shame by wind, so too the water, our reflections make us fly away

Awake by Helicopter in Late Summer

I dreamt I was holding you up by the small of your back
in the barking Northwest ocean
where the water is cold
and seals are chiseled like bits of rock
from the coast

You had sweat on your stomach
and I knew as things are known in dreams
that the shoreline here and all of its wash
would be coming with eye-droppers
and pursed lips to suck
the islands of sweat from your navel

to drink away pieces of you with
their hands. I had this thought: that even
in thoughts you have left before I have met you
There’s a camp down the beach
of blownaway dresses. I’m awake now. Tell me
that helicopter isn’t looking for me

Missing Her at a Concert, In a Storm

I am here sensing
Pretending to reach for a rain
That shatters before it hits us
This animated heart
Of the drummer makes mist
Before rescinding, filling
My dance steps like graves
Drawing long breaths
Inside me
There are rattled fingers
Gripping the keepsake
You once slid into my coffin
A compass to act as
The corner of my eye, as
The corner of a circle
I will find if it kills me

Ferry Crossing

Everything I’m meant to feel
is lovely the sweat

that glistens like fog off the edge
of the boat the island

you’re on whenever you make love
no matter where you’re making love

that travels with you

there are feelings i would like
the insides of

like death and certain women
that i can’t reach

for instance there is the feeling
that i should be pulled

and pulled again between the
slightly parted mouths

of anxious ferry women
who stay buckled in their cars

but i will only ever be coming in
and leaving myself truly

and making way too much of all this.


I have felt small
and cold

A tiny man
with blue kisses
climbing the lips
of an ice-cube tray

Always down
identical chambers

But now
in part of you
I am large
and wet with dreaming

I have taken the nights
of digging for the sun /
of digging in my arm

and started to fill them
with deep, stretching joy
that grows from the light
you say is in my singing voice

My sadness, I have spit at her
from inside you
from over this shoulder
with wine on its breath

and halfway down
a staircase
that leads into the river

This is my baptism

These are your hands
that move me
in and out
of water

East MLK

It’s night time, 12:38 in the rain when a baseball comes flying in from the stadium and sticks elbow deep below Lester P. Moore’s headstone. It’s a hell of a jack in this soup. I pull the ball from the mud and check its indention along the NO TRESPASSING sign I use as a distance marker. Three, maybe four yards short.

I take a drag of my joint. It’s a hell of a jack, really. Since I started working maybe two, three dozen balls have been hit across East MLK into the cemetery. And this one at what? 12:41 past midnight? Well after dark. I picture the kid’s leg muscles and his girlfriend’s leg muscles and his lanyard, with keys for the batting cages and keys for the diamond, one for the equipment room and a leopard-print key with long deliberate cuts for sex whenever he wants it.

The baseball passes between my hands. I’ve never thrown one back into the stadium. My closest throw hit the top awning and swept along the banner for last year’s Conference Championship before falling into the parking lot. A couple skipped off the lower deck and clanged against the ticket gates. I’ve only hit one car. Never into the stadium. I step away from Lester’s plot, which seems to take a breath as my footprints swell with rainwater. His epitaph reads No Les, No Moore. Funny.

Before I throw I think of that 16-inning game against Austin High my senior year. Most guys wouldn’t have caught the drive I did. Pulled it right off the wall. Then to throw out the runner at third from right field… it just isn’t done. I crank my shoulders and loosen my trunk, kick the mud from my cleats and hum beneath the growl of low-jacked cars on the access road. I look around for girls though I know there aren’t any. Take a drag of my joint. Throw it.

The baseball slings from my arm and I’m reverberating like a tuning fork. For some reason I picture an egg exploding on the broad side of a barn. It’s getting there. I hear the lights changing and the road’s conveyer belt starting again but nothing else. I must have made it. I take a seat on Lester’s plot. Take another hit.

The water rains from my fingers and out of the chiseled letters on Lester’s headstone. I clean the algae where I see it. I wonder what it’s like to have the something eating your brain be totally gone. No Les, No Moore.