Blind Spot

 

I woke up blacked out in a snowstorm

with an airbag burn on my cheek

check the wreckage walk away ok I’m gonna change

I’m swearing to and plowing through the trees

 

You were in my blind spot

 

This heart is a cold cave; my mind is a parking lot;

your voice came like a frost quake on the plains;

this old body is a closet filled with hoarded nothings;

my soul is a cathedral in an air raid

 

You were in my blind spot

 

See the trouble with flying is the gluing on of feathers

then there’s a body laying at your feet

Still faithfully yours, unchanged, unhinged

we do not ask to be

 

 

If I Knew

 

when we lit up and left how the smoke must have plumed

billowed to the clouds and back white, grey and black while the morning bloomed

How we tell it now depends on who we’re lying to

we ate the fruit, learned the truth, spit the pits in the corner of the room

 

if I knew

what I know

so far yet to go

 

you were bouncing off the guardrail shouting at the wind

We were off our meds, drinking again; we played them like a stolen violin

I knew my outlines and my ends, I waited for something to kick in

They could not understand. They were embarrassed by sincerity back then

 

if I knew

what I know

so far yet to go

 

In a flash I was wearing every one of your brand new tattoos

I took off my shirt like East Moline and read upside down what you’ve been up to

then a car crashed through the wall and there you were in the room

and the blood-red blood bled out to your outlines and it colored you in

We were close enough to cough on and your breath smelled like crème de menthe

Headstones; dial tones; you said, “Hey fucker, where you been?”

 

 

 

 

Never Look Back

 

If one of us is the ocean and if one of us is the moon

we haven’t found the pattern yet, figured who’s been pulling who

Turn the telescope back around; get these troubles out of view

Forgiveness does not excuse— it’s to prevent all the other from destroying you

 

Never turn around and look back

 

Before the matter was settled, before there was a name for this,

you were out dancing in traffic. Near miss!

You thought you had pulled it off, but everybody knew all along

if they ain’t picking up what you’re throwing down at least you gave them something to talk about

 

Never turn around and look back

 

Cut my hair with your pocketknife- I trust you with my eyes closed

I don’t need you to try, I just need you to know

I’ve earned what I’ve been going and I am all about the day

when we cut it all off and throw it all away

forgiveness does not excuse it just prevents all of the others from destroying you

 

 

 

60 Second Distance Run

 

you got that middle-distant look again; feel the unrelenting minute

or a 60 second distance run— get out while you can get it

There was the weekend of the wedding and I know somewhere there’s videotape

can you feel the river rising for the camera and for the rage

 

was I the only one?

 

all the ones I seem to love scan the sky with hawks’ eyes

find something they gotta kill; find something to get startled by

Gonna teach my wings to work again on a 60 second distance run

everyone who holds me close are starting fires that block the sun

 

was I the only one?

 

how is it that the busiest streets were usually the quietest space?

and that quiet corner place? it always kept us awake

I’ve been trying every angle; I’ve been searching through the videotape

without a 60 second distance run could anyone have seen the change?

 

 

 

 

 

Every Time

 

the sunset seemed excessive three hours out of town

the great expanse of freedom bound our wrists by all accounts

Who was walking on the wire and who was on the ground?

we were watching one another, gasping out loud

moving air as the tightrope trembled like a tumbler topped off for a toast

so full you can’t move it anywhere

 

every time

 

last night I had a dream: there was tartar on your teeth

and you had me gently, with a knife, loosening it free

and then spread it all around like sunscreen at the beach

we were laying there for hours, your head resting on my knee

while the late-season ice was sneering from the shade

I’m gonna keep you under glass and key trapped in amber memory

a secret anniversary of a first day

 

every time

 

There is someone where I go now who reminds me of how you looked

that morning in the sunlight when I saw how you looked under glass

How many first days do we have the nerve to wait for?

I see you every time I go

every time I think of home

every time I feel alone

every time a plane flies low

every time I hear the phone

every time my cover’s blown

I see you every time

 

 

 

Healing Machine

 

what else could we do but go looking

for something new away from the old place

Time will pass; weeds will be growing

where they want to grow after the storms have raged

Cut the blossom of the weed, hoard the thorns, pluck the leaves 

one by one: love me not, love me love me please

they buried us not knowing we were seeds.

 

Time is a bird with a mean, hooked beak

just waiting around to work on you and on me

Share a private wince; feel the pulse

on the inside of a wound begun to weep

Shotgun wedding, black on blue

the river’s swelling like a bruise

we were kissing the in car like libertines

 

when you hold me just ignore what I say

and love me reckless in spite of the neck brace

if the welcome’s worn but the room is warm

cut the bandage all the way down to the waist

wash us in the river, sparkling clean

hooked up to the wires and flashing lights

of your healing machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summertime

 

she said

“Why don’t you try summertime songs?”

Gold and warm, soft like the setting sun

not hot and sharp like a hornet swarm or the 

warning blast from a tornado horn

or june bugs hissing July in half,

“I love you in the low ebb baby, but let’s dance.”

“I don’t know.”

You didn’t have to stop babe but I could never hang

the good days come in waves: they crest and crash

 

See I’ve been running hot babe, somethings gonna give

I’ve been sleeping not babe, dreaming about the kid

I’ve been hearing shots babe I know they’re in my head

I’ve been feeling ghosts babe moving in the wind

and if I should disappear sometime before this child is born

well, what is recovery really but cover up your tracks again?

 

In the neighbor’s window across the street 

you can see the tv through the fitted red sheet

and the other night I heard them screaming

I turned off our lights and called the police

and hid on the corner of the front porch waiting

and, as quiet as a gas leak, I slowed my breathing

singing summertime songs

 

 

Tightrope

 

if I know you’re going 

and if I know you’re gone

should I pretend you’re not?

our love is gravity and water

seeping through the roof

and pooling in the garage

 

waiting out the thaw to patch up all the cracks

ripping out the walls while it’s dripping down your back

there’s a couple ways this works and a thousand ways it can’t

you know I know all about that bag you got packed

 

I’ve been climbing up every power line if I’m guessing where you’ve been

I haven’t felt your love in the longest time; I just want to see us from above again

 

tightrope walker strung a wire over the infield of the racetrack

it’s ripe for disaster, the wind’s picking up and gets amplified by all of the gasps

They thing you’re gonna fall, and your mother’s taking bets

I want to make love to you underneath the nets

and our oil-slick skin can hold a thousand sunsets

drift away in my version of the summer we got left

 

 

Occupied Mind

 

Illinois, where the tracks get wide

Hiawatha and the sun is shining

little Seven Up poured on stomach lining

it will settle down in time

Took the change jar from the entryway

while you were busy piling up your rage

into a hill to climb to should at God

and rub your pink scars in his face

Baby, nothing’s fair we bet against the house

and you got drunk and said our love was doubt doubled down

now the table’s turning over; the fall is falling through

I miss you like the old songs up loud the way we used to do

If I could still live inside your occupied mind

 

the week the dog went deaf I called for her all night

when I found her I stared into her big, dumb eyes and mouthed “everything’s all right”

 

Panic in the quiet; tinnitus chiming 

like the hangers in your closet banging wire on wire

tinkling together like when you left the first time 

pacing room to empty room gathering all the clues you left for me to find 

if I could still live inside your occupied mind

 

 

You Are Everything I Need

 

when everything is changing and we are losing ground

and the echoes of the good times have all but stopped ringing out

we can run ’til we can’t run no more, stranded halfway from anywhere to be

I don’t trust this moment but I want to believe

when everything is changing you are everything I need

 

if this frail web we’ve spun is not strong enough to rest in

and if, in our thrashing, we tear it; if the money never comes in

well at least we’ve been living low enough to keep the devil disinterested

I don’t trust this moment but I want to believe

when everything is changing you are everything I need

 

if our health should leave us

if the rescuers don’t see us 

if the ones in power lie and deceive

I don’t trust this moment but I want to believe

when everything is changing you are everything I need