To Elio

You looked
like you were right off the Piedmont,
a descendant of the Visigoths
who swept
across the Alps,
down into the peninsula.
Willow in an open shirt,
and those beautiful teeth,
cared for by a dentist on 8th Ave
who was arrested for having sex
with his unconscious patients.
I wanted to lie
face to face beside you
and tell you.
I wanted the idea I had
that wasn't you,
that was a thing itself,
not knowing and not asking.

That Italian deli
on First Avenue
is now a place to buy organic herbs.
That night
we watched Greta Garbo
and John Gilbert.
There was no sound, that
I remember, standing at the top of your stairs
with you in your body,
rigid as a board
while I covered it with kisses.

Our second summer together
was the most miserable.
You were unhappy,
waiting for it,
and it was coming,
just around the corner,
a box with your name.
We took acid,
went to a party in the west 20s
where you hit your head
on a potted Plant.
I remember
the awkward kneeling
in front of you
4 AM, your head still hurting,
I'm kneeling
a man
in a bank:
"Please just give me a sandwich
and a glass
of milk..."
to the mystified
anguished teller who
has only money.
Eventually a box did arrive.
We each got one,
opened them and bled.

It's cool, the room I am in now;
a pigeon stands proudly on the roof
silhouetted against the same grey sky
that we saw,
sky with a skin, a wounded sky
scabbing over.
Ours hung
over Ninth Street.
We'd developed the routine:
Come over about 10,
find something to sell,
get money,
Come over.
Come over
lay by me,
let me put my lips here,
warm forehead,
damp chest,
don't get up,
not yet.
Where are you going?


On Dissolution

In those times
when what you thought
never was,
was simply a chain
of belief purring
on its assumptions,
the black field
exposed as lawn.
In such times
when nothing is revealed
only removed,
it's a good thing
to stop, cut your nails.
And the days will pass
as you watch the floor
and scatter shards
of yourself
on the tow-colored sheets.
Weeks, more than three,
through which you labor,
speak as though you believe,
do not hear what's said,
do not pay attention
to that, do not notice
what you are doing
between the hours of six
and seven on, say, a Friday.
And when those hours mesh,
when they move as one
without grinding,
become for you your time,
be kind, O Dumbfuck,
to yourself
To those whom you have made.


Mood Swing

If he calls again
I swear I'll shoot him.
If he comes near me
I'll take my knife out,
I'll push it into
some soft part.
I will miss bone,
I will
cause blood.
A boat comes
out of a low cloud, its
A frog's heart beats...
I smell talc,
rose water, almond
A baby gestures,
moves delicate fingers,
points at what she's
about to grab.
But this is not that.
This is a leaf
stabbing the ground.
This is a point
and today
it's going in.