Idioms For Rain from Issue 78
Wheelbarrows are falling in the Czech Republic
but in Wales, old ladies and sticks are landing
on the farms not yet carried off by owls,
knives and forks are clattering on the barns.
In the sky above New York City, one dark cloud
of dogs, one of feral cats, one of lawn gnomes
lined up with buckets, more clouds erupting
from their corncob pipes, the storm getting ready
to hammer the rooftop gardens and drive pigeons
into the arms of gargoyles. Gurgle. Gargle.
Some dragon is down with the flu, asking
who am I without my Kundalini breath, why
don’t I have any friends, as soon as I’m better
I’m going to torch an elementary school.
In Union Square, the vendors are packing up
peaches and artisanal cheeses, castles
and pawns are being disappeared from
the chess players’ tables, shitty art reinstalled
in the museums of panel vans.
Umbrellas and hoodies, tarps on the carts
of the homeless hunkering down
while leaves skid around. In Greece
chair legs drive themselves into stone
and sink into the Aegean, but in Syria
chemical weapons are descending,
meaning raining down like secretaries
and restaurant workers from the towers,
meaning metaphor is being abandoned
for the hell of the real, meaning what falls
from the sky keeps falling. Feallan. Fission.
Thermonuclear but not yet cobalt.
What the rain said to the wind was not
You push and I’ll pelt
but Let’s see who can destroy the most flowers
though it also may have said Sometimes
I want to weep softly while you moan
over the seedlings. In Germany it rains
puppies where once rained Walther bullets,
and in Denmark, shoemakers’ apprentices
land softly on the earth, and set off to teach
whom they can.
God Ode from Issue 78
Praise having a body to be unhappy in,
suffering the slings and staring unbelieving at the arrows
bristling from your chest as the Indians creep closer.
Praise the oil slick of your loneliness,
the suffocated little shorebirds of your longing.
Here’s to the scribbles of alcohol
seeping into the cell walls, the reeling
mitochondria, the deceased brain cells carried out
in coffinettes of sweat. Gratitude, gratitude
to whoever knelt down and shat upon the floor
of the Port-o-Let at the children’s playground
where I had to pee last Sunday after pushing my young friend
on the tire swing, after whumping down the curving tube slide
again and again upside down on my back.
Small happiness, followed by nausea—
thank You, thank You! You demented, You disapproving
or possibly AWOL Higher Power.
How high is that anyway? Higher than me
and my grown-up friend doing Ecstasy in the desert,
getting cut up by cactus, floating back to the house
finding water for once more delicious than wine?
Praise You in your aerie, Your maybe-not-there-crag.
Down here on the darkling, fattening plain
we root and toil, and sometimes, mercifully, we spin.