Two Poems

Magic Trick #1

That place you purchased the first
album that mattered no longer exists.
There you are – thrown, in the parking lot
of the new convenience store,
like some Jankiewicz character.
Watch me watching you mourn. Losses.
Some are bigger than others. Let me tell you
that two of the houses I once was laid bare in
are gone and isn’t it funny that parking lots
are where they stood? Perhaps
we have that in common.
That day we first met, recall, we spoke briefly
of what Mitchell’s case of you really meant
and then we understood, for a while.
For a few months. Before everything changed –
the landscape and the structures on that landscape
and our response to it and them.
Let me tell you, too, about how the room
I slept in for ten years now has stairs leading
to a room that didn’t exist back then. Let me tell you again,
in case you didn’t understand, that the space I once inhabited
in the formative years of my life isn’t a space but a staircase
leading to a space I wanted then and needed then
but was not given, did not have.
Or how the town the generation before me
and the generation before it lived in is nothing
but a speck, nothing to live in or be known as from any longer.
Things are disappearing.
Lakes in Bolivia.
Certain songbirds.
Common sense.
I sit across from you at the dining room table
and say that this is the year that will matter in the history books,
in the lessons learned someday if we work at recollection,
putting it down, not losing sight of.
It’s there in the hand.
Then nowhere.
Then behind the ear.
Then gone again. For good.


In Complaint of Gray Eyes

James’s characters always
have them, some sort of badge, carry
over from the Romantic era.
Gentle lover, cold wind, take
your pick. Pick your website,
your expert on symbolism, meanings
found in red tulips, wooded paths,
the sea.
I’ve never met a person with gray eyes.
For me, they are fictional, like happy endings.
Google displays images but
pictures can be altered. See me
with matte finish, the halo effect,
how all my edges are softened and you are
fool enough to think I am kind.
See, you of the gray eyes never come
around here. Maybe if you did
I might be less pessimistic, smile
with my teeth showing. Or
maybe we’d commiserate,
get down in the funk of Homer’s fog or
Rothko’s later period, the bottom half.
You would renew hope and dash it
in quick succession. We’d marry and
buy a house and have babies whose eyes
would be brown – that dominant gene.
In time, in certain lighting, your
gray eyes might start to look blue and
I’d fall out of love.
Just like that.