every morning the same morning the same squawk of
the ironing board unfolding the clink of spoon against
bowl his oatmeal like tar sugarless the same
voices spilling over it midwestern dialects most bland
therefore most pleasing to that secret place where
proximity stands for comfort repetition the golden
status quo of Good Morning America a car bomb
rocked North Ireland overnight but first how to fold your
linen napkins into swans of origami and lying in bed
as the water ran the swish of steam his hand pressing
hard into Dockers he’d complain to no one about the
pleats about a woman’s work the silence of the
house what he wouldn’t give for a blowjob and a bagel
right now or just a day off his feet and down the
hall in my dark room under comic book sheets
call it the shadow of his second-hand solitude call it
prescience or longing call it letting go or grabbing
on to patriarchy his villainy stripped away with my
presence but for the first time and every time I
wanted to be him in forty years I wanted his grey hair
and grunting acceptance I wanted every day to begin
and end just like it did: bright morning on the yellow
walls warm steam from an iron the day’s news a
garbled redundancy on a small screen of black and white
CRAZY UNCLE JOE
he piles his bricks he piles his bricks alone
while overhead the basement skylight flicks
an incessant phosphorescent monochrome
he piles one brick then two then one-oh-six
scrape-slips the last so tight it barely fits
and thinks no mortar there in ancient rome
no glue hell lights were made by rubbing sticks
and they made do with it they felt at home
with just their fists no mathemagic tricks
for them no sorrow in a dial tone
no wives so sad they’d slit their tiny wrists
to sleep forever still and stacked like stone
so he piles his bricks he piles them all alone
his mind a startled bug its shell outgrown
THE SMOKING POPE
is a blue hat
full of solitude.
of deeper blue.
In his hands:
the lit fuse.
to play a cartoon.
crown of linen.
A man to
dip the glam
of sin in.
Not the rifle,
but the musket.
deep in black
and flash pan.
nothing is true.
cap. Any metal
Any spark as