Wednesday, June 30, 2010

poem of the day 06.30.10

at jack’s grave

i always feel
like i just missed you
if we go to one of the houses
that you lived in
the apartment where you wrote
on the road
if we find one of your old
frisco or new york city haunts
i like to think
that we’ve just missed you
that you were just at the bar
in a red flannel
with a notebook on the table
shouting, red faced
talking brilliant gabby-gook
pushing your black hair back
on that french-canadian head of yours
piercing the room with your sad eyes
or maybe you’re taking a piss
and i think that i’ll just sit here
and wait eternal
restful and content
like walking down your shrouded streets
on october nights
daydreaming the soul of the nation
jack, i know i’m being a child when i do this
i’m being hopeful in my own way
but it’s been forty-one years
and the heavens haven’t spit you
back to us yet
i’m laying down next to your grave
in hot lowell, massachusetts
my brother watching the blue sky
my wife and sister-in-law
snapping pictures of me
coming here has taken me too long
it’s taken me thousands of miles
to find myself and this piece of home
i am helping ally run paper and pencils
over your name to preserve it
but i don’t know where i’m going
to hang it in my room
we are fixing the debris around your grave
adjusting a small maroon buddha
putting the cigarettes and joints
back into perfect rows
leaving tickets to paris subways
and poems given to us by friends
we no longer have
at the base of the faded granite
you honored life
and i finally have to accept that you are gone
i am thinking of roads and rivers
of mighty veins stretching down the back of america
spools of highway and interstate
of apple pie in diners that no longer exist
like lowell isn’t really a mill town anymore, jack
like america isn’t what you painted her to be
i’m at the end of the illusion
but it’s all right
you and i
we’ve always been good at pulling the wool
over our eyes
seeing what we want to see
it helps paint the picture
it always helped us to vomit out the words
those precious words, jack
our gospel
those heavenly, pooh-bear, holy words
are what it always came down to
despite the reality
what it still comes down to
those rocket words that you could never hold
in for too long
the ones i’m suddenly finding hard to spill out
on this hot, brooklyn morning in late june
forever your disciple
mosquito bites from a new hampshire carnival
sprouting up all over my body
another morning in america aching over the ocean
like a poem
like a novel whose first words hit your tongue
then unravel on into the infinite

1 comment:

Bukowski's Basement said...

great piece of americana... and a fitting tribute.