Jesse Glass

History for A.
July 4th, 1982
I wake early to read
Emerson's “Self Reliance” and
His journal notes on Thoreau's
Solitariness and inability to communicate
Anything more than the obvious ideas
Mr. Emerson first promulgated in his essays.
Was E. the supreme egoist, or was he not?
I leave that question to the gold fish
Transparent cat fish and the minuscule blue
Shark flexing its gills
A quarter inch above the gravel
Of the aquarium.  I'm hungry so I bite a
Cold sausage in half.  The family's gone
On horseback
Through the Blue Ridge mountains.  Should I call you?
You weren't at home.  You're drawing
Pastel odalisques in your warehouse studio
With all the Indian bones caged up on floor 2.
Do you know what I'm thinking at breakfast?
I'll write you a love poem.
Baron Samedi
in his top hat
rides the ripe
of the yoni.
O Baron Samedi
yr. black dog
in the fair one’s belly!
When the trees
of death & life
grow close
you knot them
w/a purple thread
& When we break it
to take our pleasure
we must stop
to die a little.
This is why we
dance for you
leering Skull &
c**k of wind.
I hope you like it.  It's
Indirectly about us.  And death.  I hope the word c**k
Doesn't offend you, like it offends some women.  You'll never read this.
I'm still not dressed yet.
What luxury.  I'm thinking
About your intensity—the most beautiful thing
About you.  All the doors and windows
Are thrown open.  I'm barefoot and the summer
Air rams bird noises and an airplane
Growl and the cool sea-pantomime
Of the trees into the kitchen.  A crow
Clears its throat at the edge of hearing.
Nothing is happening.  Just life.
I'll continue to
List some summer things:
A horse is nickering in the lot back of the house.
The baby coons are chattering for food.
I have my first poison ivy of the year.
Short skirts are back in.  (Are you wearing
I won't celebrate the 4th, though tonight
At work, I'll see the fireworks from the Farm Museum.
The 4th doesn't excite me.  Fireworks never did.
I like the words Death and History.  I wonder if Thoreau and
Emerson argued about Death, and History—the German metaphysics
Of it, which they tried to understand
With their ploughboy logic.  One kitten
Was stamped on yesterday by a horse.  It shivered and went
Out.  I'll never be a patriot.
A cloud has gone over the sun.  That's too symbolic—
Isn't it?  Perhaps I'll try to call you again
And wish you a happy 4th.  Or not.
You know—you wouldn't recognize me.  I haven't shaved in three days.
My armpits smell like Patriots after
A hard day on the battlefield.
The Columbus has landed safely.
Jimmy Connors seems to be winning Wimbleton.  Correction:
Won Wimbleton.  And today passes into evening
And evening into night.  And night into history.
(And you will be off to L.A.
This Tuesday.)  Already I hear fire-
Crackers in the development across the street
Silencing the night birds.  Will you think
Of our first coming together when you see
The yellow flares explode above the lake?
Now, after work, I walk wrapped in my sheet through the morning
Dark of July 5th telling the crickets about you.  We die
Like these crickets singing in the dark.  Forget that.
Just say we die.
She sweeps
Goethe sleeps
In eternal death
She says: “They gave
Me one hour’s notice
Then they fired me.”
Disen Kuss der ganzen Welt!  
She fills my cup.
“Ain’t life a bitch,” she
Says.  I lip my cup
And draw the black juice
Down.  “Bad news
For me,” I say.  “Unemployment
Strikes the Muses, too—
They threw me out on my face.
Just yesterday I drew
Eight with several zeroes to the right
For riveting rhymes.  Now it’s Spring
Lambs march on hills
And cities rust beneath those hills,
Where a spade turned with luck
May scratch the gold mask of a King.
No time for a looted wallet.”
We both agree
Watching the tarmac crack.
Ah me!
She clucks her tongue
And Goethe screams quietly in the dark.

Tarot Poem
An angel blows
His horn
Annick will come
Rapping the window
In the middle of
A sunburst
The crossed nails
Of sorrow
              As I yawn & stretch
              The mirror frames a beard
              w/one high cheek bone
              Pinned to levering light
                            I will circumvent
                                          Mr. Raw Head
                                          & Bloody
              Clean my eyes
              w/my hand
                            before I look
                            up to see
two towers
two dogs
the moon above the sleepy one
& the vigilant
In shadow
Staring at the tower tops
I will have a long discussion
                            w/ my friend
perhaps at the Island Restaurant
                                          over tea
no drink tonight (Sat.)
              altho she may desire it
I cannot burden her
              w/my drunkenness &
The Mage w/wand
Taps a black jar
On the ram-headed altar—
              ‘you shall not
              Act irrationally
                            I will clean this place
                            Set all in order
              & walk my frankness
              In cold air
              To greet her.
All of these
Bodies moving in the light
                            heads held
              like beacons, like
polished spheres of hematite
wearing the heaven of gulls for a crown--
smiles nicked
              into the Terrible Crystal.
Sunlight invades this box of air
              each side a sea
              the color of a fin; as
we sit here
in an outdoor café
where waitresses witness
our merging silhouettes,
our single darkness.
A clock chimes—
our hands fall open
in a skein of sorrows:
we are giving
this hour back to each other,
stroke after stroke.          
No Blame fine day’s sun “this is Peetie Wheatstraw high sheriff of hell” you can see the city’s blue backbone embedded in sandstone (white clouds hang low above it.) as from a great distance: “this is Peetie Wheatstraw high sheriff of hell” and two squirrels wrestle as they fall from backyard treetop bend the last branch you bend too touch toes 15th February your shadow your floor your head turns in the sky smooth graph of joy (gold) zigs thru the oriental rug, then zags. you could dance to the old needle circling silence but prefer to contemplate the hour with glazed eyes one finger on the brow one call one response as from a great distance “the way I strut my stuff well well you never can tell.”

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