"mybrother fears the jukebox in his head..."
Allthe Hits All the Time
Mybrother fears the jukebox in his head,
crankingout perpetual Fifties hits,
theechoes of performers long since dead.
"Ithink I'm going nuts," he gravely said,
"fromFrankie Lymon, all those Coasters bits."
Mybrother fears the jukebox in his head
iscrowding out the brain cells that instead
shouldbe applied to living by his wits,
notechoes of performers long since dead.
Inhis strained voice I hear that growing dread
ofJackie Wilson's apoplectic fits--
mybrother fears the jukebox in his head.
Ijoked that he should line his skull with lead,
blockFrankie, Ricky, all those other twits--
thoseechoes of performers long since dead.
I'llnever cop that I'm forever fed
bySixties flashbacks, Cream & acid hits.
Idearly love the jukebox in my head,
itflies the Airplane & the Grateful Dead.
Dancingwith the One-Legged Man
Whenthe one-legged man suddenly grew
hisleg back, everything changed
¬hing. He danced new steps
butwith the same herky-jerky, one-pistoned
gait. We all sang hosannas for him,
clappeda new rhythm
tohis step, prayed for
lightness. Not that this actually happened,
butwhen my friend Jake--
afterthirty years of whining
obesity,throwing up in the sink
totop off capacious meals, incapacitated
bythe slightest hint of the mating dance--
foundSally & she married him,
weall hopped the night away like the
one-leggedman in that legendary
ass-kickingfestival. Not that this lasted--
thenight, the dance, or the music. Inside
thiswhining fat man was
awhining fat man trying
toget out. The brief spark
snuffedwhen Sally left, tired
ofthe piston's monotonous
grind& chuff. That's
Jakewe see alone again
dancing,herky-jerky, still humming
theonly tune he knows.
LiPo folded his poems into paper boats,
setthem out upon the river, uncertain
they,he, or the world would survive.
Heknew the river merged with something
grander,but that was itself a beginning,
nota destination at all. By the time the poems
arrived,the ink had leached from the sodden
paper,pictographs became dark eddies,
whirlpoolsinto which meaning was sucked
&drowned. The once-words spread like
shadowsover the gathered water, broke into
waves& set out for distant lands.
Oneof a Chorus of Angels
Iam the angel of doubt
isan everyday miracle.
Mywings, appearing clipped
eachevening, are majestic
againby dawn; opaque they
blockthe sun. Feel them spread
aroundyou, mimicking comfort,
familiaras the low murmuring
ofmother,as father's hard-won
homilies. I teach your true
potential,urge you to reach
nofarther than you really can.
Thisis a hard life, disappointment
thefate of most; there is not
enoughto go around. Keep your head
lowagainst my incorruptible breast,
seeksolace in my encircling wings.
Iam protection, sweet child, a feather
bedfor you to sleep away
thetrying, excruciating pain.