After Reading Fifty Poems From the Best Literary Magazines

AFTER READING FIFTY POEMS
FROM THE BEST LITERARY MAGAZINES

1.

Either I
have very

good taste
or very

poor taste
or there’s

no such
thing as

taste
at all.

2.

Most poems
are bullshit

pinned with
apocalypse

and pinafore
lit up like

a damn
beer sign

but this poem
says it’s bullshit

which means
it’s less

bullshitty
than at least

fifty poems
so print it

up somewhere
preferably paid

and give me
an award.

I’ll write ten more
for tenure.

Bougainvillea.

3.

In all seriousness
I wouldn’t

like one in fifty
of my own

poems
either.

Blue-Grey Place

BLUE-GREY PLACE

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

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