So We Stay Home
So we stay home
watch the rain:
gray day, the lawn greening,
the yellow crocus up, trumpeting--
and nowhere to go, no one
to meet for lunch, the bug
in the background, and so
I listen to Mingus, "Goodbye
Porkpie Hat" and pray
for my parents
in another town
and for jazz musicians, out
of work, home with their saxes
and drums, rumbling somewhere,
like the Italian tenor, singing
from his window to an empty
Wednesday 18 March 2020, Emporia, Kansas
with Gary Wyatt
We eat tilapia
by the sea, that little
black fish with a small pinch
of salt to season the dish
in Uganda, where this
is a lot, a treat, more than most
ever eat, and we stop,
and the waiter says, “Not done,”
so we pick the bones.
“Not done.” So we eat
the scales, fins. “Not done.”
So we eat the eyes, warm
and soft, the tail
‘til there is nothing
left but thin
white bones, like hooks,
like teeth, like the belly
of a boat, stripped, open
to the sun and sea,
hollow, a mouth
all the way open, hungry
for nothing now.
My son talks with everything.
He’s two. When he goes outside
and touches the tomato plant, it flowers,
white. When he looks up at the starlings,
they talk to him, and he talks back, a chatter,
their language. When a plane flies overhead,
it wobbles its wings. Eliot waves.
When he goes to the water, the turtles put up
their heads, nod. Everything wants to know
him. Everything calls, and he says, “Yes.
Yes. Yes. Let’s talk.”
Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano
Her full-sized electric piano flew out
of my father’s pickup truck.
I was driving. Somehow, the base
detached from the keyboard,
and it all went flying into the busy
intersection of 47 th and Main.
No one hit it, and Lisa said,
“Let’s just throw it into this
dumpster,” when we had carried it
out of the road. “No,” I said.
“Let’s take it to your new apartment,”
and we did. When I turned it on,
the power eye glowed red,
but it did not play. The next day,
I found the volume slider,
turned it up, and it played perfectly.
Aside from the scrapes from the road
on its key cover, it was fine.
I practiced tying knots, roping things down,
and I dreamt, at last, of turning corners
slow, and of a keyboard
rising in flight and floating across town,
playing a well-known sonata.
Gunkle and I had this big mirror between us, hefting it
into the back of his blue pick up truck. Gunkle’s real real slow,
a giant in blue jeans and green Crocs, wearing a white t-shirt
with battery acid on it. His glasses are thicker than my thumb.
So, we grab hold of this monster mirror, and it glints,
and we both look into that mirror, noticing the clarity
of that blue sky and those green sycamore leaves reflected
so perfectly that is appears you could just dive on into that mirror
and sink into the sky, and we think the same thing.
“You could fall up,” Gunkle says, “and just keep on falling.
Nothing would stop you.” And that was the way of it.
Gunkle’s mind was now my mind, and I was in that mirror
falling on up through those white smoke clouds
headed towards an orange sun.
Gunkle and I stacked box bed springs on top of that mirror,
and some branches from out front, and I could hear that large mirror
but I think Gunkle and I could still see it—
that vision of sinking into sky, drowning
with only the sun to hold us up.