Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011  Vol. 10  No. 1
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My Time Among the Swells

In the tacit light of a jejune June evening,
swallows flit and curl, the little frogs clicking
desire at one another in the cattails. Gabardines
and high cheekbones assess their own

and only tender merits. Contrasty waiters pass
superior comestibles; the crowd shifts comfortably
from foot to foot. God look kindly on this man
and this woman, for richer or for less rich, till

death, et cetera. Fireflies light like sparks.
The gaze of the Lord, straight as a gun-barrel,
so we imagine. But my God is a lonesome
and melancholy God; just above my ankles,

my creases’ crisp breaks correct themselves.
Have another drink. You’ll like yourself more.
O first among equals, delible as memory,
indelible as cloud: imagine an ideal world,

its people’s lives like ours, mannered, but more
spontaneous, and fuller of delight. Marriage material
out on the stroll, because, hey, you never know.
For reasons known only to themselves, couples splinter

off into bad musical dusk; someone tells a joke,
softly, someone laughs a little too long. A trickle
of voices threads its way along the stair. Sleek words.
Indifference is what the world says, and loud

in its enormous voice; in full throat, a barred owl
calls its audibles. In the poem that’s happening now:
and now: I am impeccable, gleaming. I understand
everything, tonight. Inviting sorrow, I want what’s here.

Our thoughts are behaviors; they continue in our absence.
Imagined, like the future, and over-toned the orange
of midsummer, a lot depending on a lot, the drawn thrum
of evening’s bees, alive and in that golden hour . . .  end

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