BLUE COLLAR HOLIDAY
High Art and Cedar i. An artistic, unbalanced boy given to colitis, anorexia, shingles, heartbreak, piles, three chords for each disease, and after? Philip Glass just wept & wept. and what of me? "Fall." I leaned down, knew you, boyish, angular, over fish & chips as over the frozen corn fields, a red sun rose dilettantish in its insistence, touching, risque in failure. We did have a very nice time. It would be so easy to stay but was it Sal Mineo in the doorframe? I knew you felt like that. And so my hell is hardly there. ii. Like a Goya noon of excessive leaf-drop or an intense plate of oysters, connecting a figure & a background, I am always sick in time. Too, there is space disappearing, thin as monks between winter pines. They were sweet when I pressured them but we had to cry a lot. You could lose your mind in their loving (monks, not pines) as though it weren't the end of the world of latchless aviaries. And the Beatrix Potter show we attended at the Morgan Library -- the smudged mothers muscular as dusk in Tolstoy. It seems I resisted when evening fell myself, intensely Anna over the years, to help care for Anna with her neurotic fear of kids and sprinklers. iii. Our fragility, our bravado: Well, Christ, honey, this hair and these words are all we got. Enjoyable, yes; and so is divine Anna, in her peeled doorlight, still in the throes of a modernist prejudice against figuration. To say something obscure and never return to it -- a colophon of our indiscretions like the green carnations of Oscar Wilde or the forgotten logic of The Good Earth: Why didn't they just sell the farm and move to the city, if it was all that bad? iv. I seem to mean my lies or that I so very much need this image not to be true: a pile of wallboard, not yet unpacked outside the Howard Johnson's in Rochester and beside that, a small girl sucking her thumb through a frayed arm cast the color of mackerel. "Elle n'est pas artiste," in definitive tones, her silence enervated though porous as tiny cork castles in Chinatown drugstores. v. We were shanghai'ed into this meaning, a heritage of tears particular to the hells we're peopled with. How is it then I found you through skies so bright if our veins hadn't stolen the purest blue first? Milky, as dropped aspirin in a child's sweaty hair, like Vietnam: "Never should have been there, seen such..." a vulgar comparison, I know that, but to have renewed, with this error, the reckless sorrow of a poem at its close, as always, second from last in the sack race, yours but only just.