of the Picture
A man needed help with his hat,
so I brought him home
and introduced him to my family.
It was then that my brother
came in and stole the man's shoes.
Later, in the hotel, we carried in
large panels, each the size of a door.
At night we would read them to each other
then smear Vaseline on the windows.
My best friend sits on the wall
fingering minuscule brownies
and explaining he was simply the navigator,
not the pilot. He likes all my ideas
in general, but especially my theory
on the side effects of European travel.
On my way to your private room
I cradled the elevator emergency phone
in my hands and rolled my pants up. Still
the key wouldn't work. You brought ice
from down the hall and housekeeping brought
Q-tips, and finally after we hosed down
the doorman, the birds flew out
of the invisible cabinet and we fell asleep.
Perversions of Idolatry
These are my bones we hear. They break
at night, in the tiny room. And all these women
you see in the beds over there, their thick scent
pervading the small cell, they are for me as well.
These shoes are mine. I know you love the peach
Aroma of my feet as I love the way you take
your father out of his box and bring him in
to the bathroom--or was that something I dreamt?
When my heart began to swell, I began to tell
confidential secrets of my weekends at the beach.
That was all before I became a fake,
a prophet of false emotion, before it grew dim in
here. I smoke, drink a Diet Coke, the apartment
oddly quiet. I hear a distant bell and repel
my opponents, all so feeble now and hard to reach.
Please don't go and please don't do The Twist
in Rockaway, smashed on Gallo wine.
I can remember every single time I kissed
you when you were still mine
and we said the Rosary and ate blueberries
all summer and I let every bug be
as vicious as it wanted and bite me til I'd howl,
after which we'd all head over to Ashbery's
bungalow and in the hot night you'd hug me
and we'd drift off cocooned in a puffy red towel.
Then after summer, as you know, came the fall
and somehow over us a big French cloud
appeared and it seemed clear that no one at all
believed in the authenticity of the Shroud
of Turin anymore, except for your sorrowful friend Rose
who took her salt water in wave after wave
of melancholy ocean, even as the autumnal skies
erupted & we began to take in shows
in town. You went to prison and I began to rave
about your nasty temper, your droopy hand, your beetle eyes.
When you came back, I could almost die,
you looked so good--especially your juicy lips.
But all you did was smack them and say goodbye
and I was so overcome I had to breathe carefully, in sips,
which gave my enemies great delight.
I prayed, first in a temple, then in a shrine.
I offered to lick you all over with my hungry tongue
and do anything, pay any fine.
At that point, however, winter arrived with all his might
and I started staying home and reading Jung.