I’m writing this very quickly, as I don’t have much time.
He suits cafés perfectly, and wears them
like fine scarves or dapper mittens.
The sweet chocolate lichen on the surface of cappuccino,
getaway cars at the lights in autumn, revving ghostly fumes
on the way to a caesura, or a capping rhyme,
the silver spoon he clinks against his cup
like an orchestra conductor rapping his baton against the lectern,
demanding order and attention:
these are his accessories, after the fact.
His mind is poised, prepared for judgement.
Even in cold weather, he sits outside:
iPod, pen, notebook, phone, copy of Paul Auster or Verlaine.
He has important work to do, and a world to change.
He always needs the streets close by —
they are his allies, means of escape and inspiration.
He loves them. Interiors are too contrived — too staid.
At any moment, he may fly…

His style appears one glorious burst of aspiration:
a perpetual salvo of the pure ordnance of champagne.
Brisk and businesslike, with a military air,
he is a campaign general, marshalling his troops,
his poem a matter of logistics and requisition,
the compiling of supplies against the weather —
and is only, momentarily, almost in distraction,
a small squadron’s bivouac in a drowsy meadow,
hands trailing against orchids and cool drops of dew,
when dawn comes in primeval mist
and the whole of summer hangs in hush
around the soldiers, as if aware of them.

Yes, everything must be done at once, ASAP.
Rockets can burn up on the launch pad,
incinerate the astronauts alive inside,
strapped to their seats, who trained for years,
with a pale moon visible in the blue Floridan sky
above them, early in destiny’s afternoon…
As with anyone who works in words,
and understands their fleeting disposition,
he knows that all things are marked
with the brand of the ephemeral,
the sign of the most perfect and successful corporation.
He can’t linger in that meadow, or wait
to hear the cuckoo’s haunting, velvet WHO-WHO?,
WHO-WHO? — but must run: if he’s to fall,
he must gain altitude; and so he’s gone,
leaving the old walnut-skinned hussar
with savage moustache and girlish braids
to stand quite still in the waist-deep grass,
and listen.


Re-post | Originally posted August 2012

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