glean: 1. to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit. 2. to gather (grain or the like) after the reapers or regular gatherers. 3. to learn, discover, or find out, usually little by little or slowly. 4. to gather what is left by reapers.

The Perseids

April 23, 2018

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THE PERSEIDS

Picked up out of our beds we were
Carried to the bed of the pickup
That was so rusted out it couldn’t be
Trusted off the farm without anyone
Explaining to us where we were
Going at that hour. There were sleeping
Bags in the bed that suggested care
But their heads through the window
Of the cab seemed strange like faces covered
Completely in hair. Where were they
Taking us and why? When we reached
The top of the hill where the shade trees
Stood spooking the deer that slept
In the long grass there he stopped
And they got out and climbed
Into the bed with us where we lay
With the spare tire and the bale
Of straw sprouting green hair
And the red cans of gas and oil.
We stared up at the stars that looked
Like the heads of nails hammered
Into a wall with excessive force
The brass blurred and still they wouldn’t
Say what we were doing up there
At that hour in the wrong bed
And then the first star fell.

Farm Boy Fame

April 14, 2018

FARM BOY FAME

"And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns…”

Dylan Thomas

I was famous on the farm, known
Among the calves as the boy
Who brought bottles of milk,
Replenished their stale water,
Gave them an extra scoop of grain.
Evenings I would walk out
Onto the stage of the haymow
And speak soliloquies
To the admiring pigeons.
The barn cats found me
Backstage. When I disappeared
Into the milk house, I could hear them
On the step, begging like groupies
Outside a tour bus. I came back out
With a pail of milk, poured.
Wild already, they’d go wild again.
I was adored. I was adored
By the dogs who trotted behind me,
Seeking my autograph. I ignored
Them before finally turning around,
My hand in their fur. At dusk,
Walking around the yard,
The paparazzi of fireflies flashed.
The corn was all ears.

I was famous among men, too.
The veterinarians and hired hands
And seed salesmen all knew me.
They’d stop talking to my father
When they saw me, take my hat off,
Mess up my hair, set the hat back askew.
But no one told me it was
Only farm boy fame.





Vicariism

April 11, 2018

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VICARIISM

The earth sings through singers

Dances through dancers

Flies through birds

Whispers to itself as ocean

Finds solitude in mountains

Knows the body through lovers,
Is both one and the other

But the dictator it doesn’t know

The Organ Harvest

April 3, 2018

THE ORGAN HARVEST

"It is said that Saint Romuald of Ravenna heard during a visit to France that he was in mortal peril because of the value of his bones - he fled homeward, pretending to be mad."

A friend of mine, his family's friends
Lost their son in Tijuana.
They wanted to know how he died.
The authorities told them

They didn't want to know.
They insisted they did.
They didn't. They did.
The authorities sighed.

He was killed for his organs.
They harvested him like a field
Gleaners pick over futilely,
Finding nothing, for every last

Ear was taken. The cavities
Of his body were empty,
Scooped out like those
Of the great pharaohs

Mummified in sarcophagi.
Somewhere in the darkness
Of the body of a stranger
His heart is beating.

Somewhere his kidneys.
Somewhere his liver.
Somewhere his eyes
Brighten in recognition.

They've seen this before.
It's the old world, the world
They loved. Then they dim,
For they were mistaken.