i cut the shades to sunrise pale
because there was nothing there and my father.
there were words in book.
there were time spent in the recesses of my brain,
turned to gas and confusion,
lost attentions and forgotten bank statements.
where i used to fly planes even though
i would fill the bag and he would laugh.
then a plane crash. i could feel the fields
and the corn and the trees
and the dirt in the valley as we looked for that wheel
which exploded off on impact.
it was back at the hangar.
…and he used to make bombs like Uncle Sam
and blow deer heads off of walls,
they made sounds like shotguns miles away,
black trash bags and simple chemistry.
smells like someone is burning pine or trash.
cut the shades to nitrogen.
just a thought. the reflection of the house next door
and its waxen motion sensor light,
should have been changed months ago to be effective.
and nothing. cut the shades, they can see in
and i can see out
and i am sure there is nothing there.
that’s what happens with your attitude
and aspiration as you come closer to it.
to that one thing that no one talks about
and pretends isn’t there. dad knew.
4:30 PM i would take the 87 to the 67
in St Paul where an area code designates different
and rainclouds drop ice instead of acid.
i imagine that the book at my paunch is warm
and a deranged weapon and those
stuck in their devices won’t notice all that much.
life is like that, stuck in something and unnoticed.
that is what Nest cams are for.
Prior and Uni there is a bus stop
and a café where people shield their faces
from droplets and the smell is something unfamiliar,
musty, affronting, acidic, and rendered vanished.
then the 67, then the backseat blue,
then the same aroma i thought i left on the street,
thought for a second it was me–looked at my boots
–must just be the city. bus tires crawled
the potholes, snaked the corners,
and ran me down a slight incline to a juxtaposition.
i saw red brick molested by graffiti
in high up places from a bridge span vantage,
and felt my lunch lurch at stop and go.
diagonal street not there, but where i am going: Home.
and the mailbox lid was up waving at me,
and the gutters were like the coffee pot
with holes just dripping into the basement
to grow what might hang or cower in a crevice…
really, it has nothing to do
with my commute or the day or the buses
which brave curb rash just to find me.
5:12 AM a teapot steams and sputters,
wet me and drying hair,
i’ve been told they needed something to escape.
the furnace rumbles to a start,
to a certain temperature–it has a point.
machine better than most people.
Katy bar the door on things.
i am thankful that i worked hard
as a child–being brought up,
i feel that unlike my contemporaries
i could handle the outcome of an election,
the outcome of not getting what i want,
had i voted differently,
had i actually cared about results
that didn’t really do more than i did.
thanks dad. and what does that amount to?
some teapot and hanging drape,
teaching English in another day all the same.
what are countries anyway?
5:12 AM, made it, sore tooth, jaw killing,
take meds, fallible and flawed and dying,
i see, i hear.
this green tea in me for the better.
i suppose it’s better for you too.
on Saturdays i can usually
drink a whole pot of coffee, not just half
so it sits until the next day and maybe
goes into a growler in the fridge.
my stepfather says it’s a waste to make less
than a full pot of coffee, so today i feel
accomplished and un-wasteful. on the way
to write this i played with the stinky cat
with a painful foot that possesses an ingrown
toenail on the big toe and has athletes
foot unrestricted. i turned on the kitchen
light and opened the shades and perused
the backlot as i filled the pot with tap water.
my wife changed a dirty diaper and prepared
for work. i cleared my mind for getting my
ID updated and a new credit card;
i would have to change accounts. i poured what
was left of the old coffee from yesterday
into a tall glass, added creamer and drank.
thought about how i won’t buy beer this weekend
and how our podcast went so well. it’s things like these
that matter, keep the full pot full, positive.
my stepdad was right, and then she walked in
to ask what i was doing in here, listening
to funky soul on Google Home and writing.
waiting for the full pot of coffee to be done.
one truly concerned for the truly concerned,
one acutely offended by the acutely offended–
about as Midwesterner as you can get;
avoiding one’s opinion, no need to mention.
an empty glass
with coins. $52.something.
turned into food.
the capital hanging
its pale dome
on the dim shoulders’
of University Ave
in the fore.
there, loving couples
at a cross-
and am now.
the statue of liberty
played by a man,
holding this bright sign:
we pay cash inside,
how american, on this corner.
i sit in a turn
pulling to the side,
brown bags and
local ipas in the trunk,
mouthing an old song
in Drive–mechanic’s glove hands,
tight grip on
the supple wheel.
all before 11 am
crossing Lexington Parkway
and light rail tracks
in St Paul, going, hungry, mad.
and then, thinking of
a hotel in Belfast
conversing continental divides
and the divided conversation,
and the painted murals,
people took photos
on their phones
inside of a bus because we couldn’t safely get out.
god, i am not a religious man,
sort of, but i use that terminology
oft to express the feelings of being
in negative cold to retrieve recycling bins
…thought were misplaced because
of horrible vision, getting
the “non-transferable” envelopes hopes,
the kind that are big and feign of checks
to you–the kind you need. the fucking trip
to the door was worth it, i noticed
a missing gutter and my hands froze
on blue plastic and the pumpkin eaten out
from last fall was dead. but god,
getting these letters, offers of credit cards
and debt paid… you want to do it?!,
just do it; hit the donate button:
it’s that easy. these companies. i wonder
who folds the envelope, mails it,
i wonder who licks the seal,
i wonder who cuts the trees
that get torn and thrown into my trash,
too angry and lazy for the recycling.
tell me about an offer on a nice home
because my rent is crushing me,
tell me about free college
because it’s about time for our kids.
and think of those fucking trees!
you won’t… i guess just keep sending
the special offers, to no response,
they inspire, i guess. god. god. god.
i guess it’s really just regular prose
and words and pictures scrawled from pen,
something so familiar anyone can do it;
an email a doodle on a notepad and then
put on white paper easy font some poetry
use your smartphone to capture the art
put it out to the world as if a superstar composed it
as if they were the best ever, sure they probably
know some publishers, probably slick in the biz,
that is the wonderful and talented rupi kaur too
but far more she creates and creates and creates,
words and ideas that come close to home
so familiar to those scrolling, tweeting
and sharing social media professionals,
because it was geared towards them,
it is designed for them like cat food is for cats
because there is market for inspiration:
to change the most of days and our acute minds.
my words involve coffee and hard sentences
chocolate–very dark, if i get very lucky,
and prose that no one knows, literary landscapes–
as if a hydrogen bomb went off on some shakespeare,
blew away the good art, took away the drawing,
and the respected namesake and time,
left a placeholder we did not understand
asking for donations to create breast milk
vonnegut, harrison, bukowski, niebeling, melville
and diapers, because that is how trendy one is
and lower case and lack of punctuation and.
everyone else can do it too, we can relate.