Clean Dry Light
built on millionaire's whims,
mildewed nineteenth century
landscapes concealed behind
pale blue Venetian blinds,
washed-out maids too broke
to cope with rain-eyed daughters
crusted by flash bulb shadows...
the easy money from surgeons
who snip colon polyps by day.
See the stones in the kettle's
boiling creek water. See the price
of butcher's twine increase. See
the puckered face of the man
who owned the small record store,
who owned the dark and mousy
movie house, the clock repair shop:
Never seen IT coming, no more
than a child's chalk drawing
sees midnight headlights
flaring 'tween middle-of-the-road
Valentine's hearts and roses.
What do I do in the daytime?
The barmaid palms her
stretched and distressed
Omak Stampede T-shirt,
adjusts the too large
push-up bra underneath,
echoes my question.
I sleep, by my fucking self,
and look for my inner glossy.
Old horses and carrots,
grandmas patching together
memorial quilts, kids walking in
and out of electric doors until
junior bankers give chase,
novelty outfits that sell soft
plastic fake-vomit puddles
to place on teacher's desks,
See the bronze sun-drop horizon,
no clouds to twitch the vision.
There's drought on the American tongue.
There's keyboard dust in the eyes
of friends and readers.
An owl sets itself on a power pole,
casts a gold-going-crimson pair of eyes
at a future we have come to believe
can be caught with cameras
at a safe pastry-sweet distance.