At Christmastime Father gathers us all
round the old radio to outline
the reasons he hates Bruce Springsteen.
In summertime Dave breaks his hand
on the hood of a Thunderbird, we take
cocaine and drive over to Mike's where Olivier,
wearing a bandana around his neck,
steals Dave's Grand Am
and crashes it into a ravine. Mike's lying
in an icy bathtub, I'm nearby
vomiting orange juice and blood—O
dulce Corazón de María, sed
mi salvación. A series of tornadoes
fast approaches and we're wearing bandanas
around our necks and walking mongooses who
are also wearing bandanas around their necks.
Afterwards, Big Lots has been destroyed
quite brilliantly by the hands of our hateful God,
shirtless idiots appear on Channel 2
wearing bandanas around their necks
recounting their own personal discounted hell,
and we sit round the old radio
tirelessly listening to local personalities
explain the importance of boiling water. How
are we supposed to boil water without
electricity? the bandana wearing townspeople
ask. There's a live wire dangling
from my tulip tree, should I remove it
with my bare hands? the bandana
wearing townspeople ask. I think
my daughter may be dead! cry the hysterical,
bandana wearing townspeople.
Well, just throw on your bandana
and have yourself a barbeque, because you ain't
going nowhere, the pundits respond.
You can't go anywhere after this devastation
even though you're already on your way
to Mooresville to purchase emergency bandanas.
This just in! The regional bandana
supply has become dangerously low! Please,
for the love of Christ, conserve your bandanas!
At Christmastime we're frantically opening
packages of new bandanas to put
around our necks and around our mongooses'
necks. Otherwise, here comes Father in his soiled
bandana with a sermon denouncing the Boss
himself. In summertime Dave and I
take cocaine in the blood stained apartment
of a stranger. The airplanes make their constant
approaches, one after another, and I'm thinking
about Sarah's abortion. Je vie un vrai calvaire.
Somewhere right now, God
is being copiously thanked. Somewhere
right now, God is spinning violently in his grave.
On a list of all time lows, masturbating
to your high school yearbook would have
to rank pretty high, as would
the brilliant web of lies you once composed
around Veronica. In the foyer you
were Dracula, but in the kitchen you were all
classic Peter Brady. Green was color
and not reservoir, not noise between
hospitals and funerals—Peter Brady's fangs
were real and whitened by an ADA
approved tooth whitening system. The Bible
says that one day God shall rise
screaming from a pool of human blood, that one
day horses will ride us. On a list
of all time lows, however, fainting
in your breakfast nook after inflicting a wound
upon yourself would have to rank pretty
high, as would Veronica's departure at 4:30
that overcast morning. The city, yellow
and empty. The dogwoods blossoming, ivy
crowns making a resounding comeback.
Remember walking behind the cherry orchard
at dusk last September? How I needed
to tell you how much I loved you?
(The swell of the locusts and wind, the green
and yellow?) On a list of all time lows,
the thing before the apology would have to rank
pretty high, as would the apology,
were it unforgiven. Tonight, my stomach
is bleeding. I should probably check into a hospital.
Veronica is in Wichita, Kansas. I am gathering
my blood for her.
Both of these poems are from the forthcoming New Michigan Press chapbook, A Twelve Step Guide, available in early October.