Archilochos of Johnson County
Three years fiercely hitting
an apple tree. Said tree
bearing no fruit.
application of wood chips.
Under renegade maples.
If you stop your ears with your hands,
you hear it: flood waters
against the sides of your cranial ark.
Nestor at the Siege of Troy
I was eighteen when I first heard Miles Davis, already too late,
already too old to be saved.
This took place in Richmond Hill,
I have notions regarding the nature of return.
Heraclitus remains straddling the banks of his bright river.
The temperature of my heart
to the quorum of my lungs.
In uncertainty mode,
the calibrating arms in my blood
lift nothing today.
And those gods
placed on permanent hold.
Album of Family Secrets
My brother studied furiously.
He had a passion for beakers.
Was always smartest in family.
So adept with cilia of parasite.
Whereas I fell out of a boat.
Drifted. Saw cucumbers flashing.
Heard cod-plinth go plink, plink.
That was enough to do it for me.
A symptom metric recommended
'for our age'
a regimen of intake
rust tea [as needed]
penny tinctures [rarely]
vascular astringents [as needed]
bolus of nettles [depending]
bitters inert [as needed]
The boy eight or nine years old made a striking motion
with his fist.
Pointed at the bird struggling by the fountain.
I couldn't bring myself to kill the bird,
I felt sick in my stomach.
The boy tried to kill the bird with a flat rock but
he couldn't do it either and walked away wiping tears
from his cheeks.
I think of Céline in exile in Denmark, propped up delirious
in bed and
wearing four coats,
his hands gloved, feeding crumbs to feverish sparrows.
The walls sweating in summer.
Holes chinked with moss.