Shake the Box
(with gratitude to Bruce)
For desperate days now I’ve petitioned for poetry
All I get is the image of my Grandma’s strawberry smile-
The one that rivals Mona Lisa for mystery, but twice as impish
So I say,
“What about you grandma?
Shall I tell the day you packed us up in The Grey Ghost,
old silver Cadillac with the showy fins
and like a shark in pursuit
followed that biker with a fishing pole sticking up
all the way to the beach and left us there,
me, barely pubescent, and in a tank top?
I burned to blisters shunning the smelly leather jacket offered
by a kind Hell’s Angel.”
I always wondered how you spent that day.
How about the time I splinted my lover’s spectacularly broken finger
with a quarter teaspoon and a yard of ripped up rags
in the middle of an anonymous night
after he really punched that guy
for saying something nasty to a street woman he cared for.
For days, he discreetly searched the paper for news of a body,
But she died first.
Antoine. That was her name.
“Shake the box,”
my current lover says.
And he plays Burroughs and Bukowski,
Ginsberg and Kerouac for inspiration.
I think, Baby, do you really want me darker than I am?
My box has a rich tumble
But it’s all stuck inside
Not wanting to be shared.
Unrequited love laps up against
the joy of driving an old green schoolbus
on deserted Wyoming roads- making love and pie-
and Pink Floyd, the flamingo, not the band.
Disney Eyed Dudie, my most loyal dog gazes adoringly at me
from a bed four pads thick to ease his old bones.
He’s shrinking and most steps cause him pain but neither of us wants to let go.
Certainly a poem in that.
But not now my recalcitrant brain voices say.
I have nothing I can get on paper
But plenty in the Swirl around me.
Last night, I asked the Muses and do you know what I got?
Dream of a one legged mummy
In the ordinary opulence of some American house.
A mummy who knew lighting.
What kind of dreck is that, I ask you?
My Muses are only rarely serious.
Roll the bones, shake the box