It’s raining here, hard enough
that everyone in the laundromat
is family. We don’t talk,
because we don’t need to talk.
We can go about our moments
more in sync than wait staff,
which is a family you
can drink with,
but still have to tell where you’re going.
I don’t remember
if you’ve worked in a restaurant,
because I don’t know a thing about you,
but if you haven’t, people in a restaurant
yell, “Behind!” so no one
knocks anyone’s hard work down.
The way I’m yelling “Hello!”
over the strong ohm of the gas-
powered dryers, and through whatever space
always lingers between two people
even when they live like rain
in a safe good puddle.
On the hotest days of summer
I try to memorize
that Mark Strand poem
about freezing to death.
I mean in weather where you don’t know
your own face or how
many fingers you’ve had
your whole life, how many hands
your hands have touched
getting change, say,
at the store.
I don’t remember what the poems says
so let’s, you and me, agree
it says no matter what happens,
no matter what we do , we will
even if we don’t know by who
THE TEXAS RATTLESNAKE DOES NOT FALTER
IN THE CULTIVATION OF VIRTUE. EACH MOMENT RISES
LIKE A BOTTOM LINE AND DEMANDS OF US A RECKONING
OF OUR CHOICES. DID WE, THIS DAY, DRINK OF EACH MOMENT
AS FROM A BEER CAN WITH THE TOP TORN OFF, DID WE THROW
ON THE AGILITY OF JORTS AND DEFEND THE WEAK
FROM THE TYRANNY OF THOSE RICH MEN AND WOMEN
WHO SHOULD BE STUNNED,
OR WERE WE AGAIN PERPLEXED?
COME UP, COME UP, AND SQUARE THE CIRCLE.
THE SAME THING THAT CAN BE LEARNED FROM A RAINSTORM
CAN BE LEARNED FROM STARING OURSELVES DOWN
AND WONDERING WHAT WOULD STONE COLD DO?
Sorry I was late for work.
I was folding paper
into cranes and drinking orange juice
until the headaches went away.
You know, if you make a thousand birds
the dragon comes and gives you anything.
In the park they have tables
with chess boards built right in.
Not playing chess at all was absolutely soothing.
So much so I breathed
out a cold cloud like a zen master
I was reassured.
On the road to wherever she reads signs
they do not need
but just outside the door,
she peels the last loose hair from his black coat
and he straightens.
We tend. We
tend. Bread is raised
If I’m standing
at your window,
palms flattened as in praise,
I just wanted to see
how warm your fire was.
*This person is not a total stranger. The creepiness of this poem is (I’m fairly certain) fine.