I've got a reading tonight, but all of my books-to-sell are in storage. Therefore, I've decided to read only new work . . . maybe only really new work, which would mean poems from the current manuscript of Songs about Women and Men. Here's one of those pieces:
They lived in filth. Or were horribly clean.
They piled scrapple onto dark platters.
They poured milk and ignored the phone.
They arranged stones on windowsills.
They filled lists and emptied shelves.
They dyed their hair in the sink.
One stored a Bible in the bathroom.
One hoarded paper in the dining room.
One stared at Lolita and stirred the soup.
When I say emptied I mean they wanted to feel.
When I say filled I mean they wanted to jump.
When I say bathroom, dining room, soup I mean
I washed my hands.
I sat at the table.
I ate what they gave me.
[previously published in the Portland Press-Herald, November 2016]
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Not all of the pieces are so glum. "John Doe's Love Letter," for instance, is not glum at all, but I can't reprint it for you yet because it's just come out in the new issue of the Beloit Poetry Journal. When it gets to be old hat over there, I can share it with you here.
Anyway, if you're able, I'd love to see you tonight, at Vinland, at 8 p.m. Tom will be there. Friends of my youth will be there. Friends who are youth will be there. It will be sweet to embrace you all in one place.