MY HEART

I’m not going to cry all the time,
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don’t prefer one “strain” to another.
I’d have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulgar. And if
some aficionado of my mess says “That’s
not like Frank!”, all to the good! I
don’t wear brown and grey suits all the time,
do i? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart—
you can’t plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

—Frank O’Hara

the dog-owner’s moral dilemma

dog: “I wait all day but I have no perception of time.”

dewy and dumb as a july night
on a july night on a porch step
in the city you might have,
should have left.
where i am the salt above your brow,
bags packed for a transcontinental
   down your cheek
      to the pacific.

you nod your head and i go
dodging some potholes along the way.
it’s always the same:
turn right at what’s left of the time
you were too old to fall off your bike—
"asphalt is a bitch"—
and straight through the hairs
of an inconsistent beard.
i go onward
laughing about residual tokens of youth.

i move slow in the valley for a last view.
nestled between your big breath and
your little breath, i’d tell the tourists
not to fear the wind, 
but keep a steady foot.
the man in the wheelchair agrees,
perched on the peak looking over
toward the water.

i 360-cannon-ball into your ocean
always to tread before i float

i am glad i have not lost you. you should know that i am about to peep inland empire. (ashamed i haven’t yet)

you are percussion
in a tunnel, a dozen
doves in a shoebox

MAC lipsticks

shy girl,
myth on hold.
pillow-talk.

feeling disconnected from many things.
keep having dreams about people i admire snubbing me
"she’s losing interest"

i think that’s my biggest fear. i need to start writing again

come home, let me make you
some dinner. it’s nearly july
and the lone fan hums
the song of consistency.
we know all of the words;
we pay all of the bills.
    it works.

when you need olive
all you’ve got is canola.
"blasphemy!" says the mother
thirteen towns away.

but we laugh at our substitutions.

maybe we’ll dream big
of the Mediterranean basin,
planning a month in Italy
over paper plates.
maybe you don’t know
that I don’t have a passport.

but how could I break it to you
over what’s left of this incredible
asparagus salad

we tie our towels around our waists
and curl our lips up good.
i am elvis you are elvis
mom’s face is in the sink
smiling at his big hips
my little hips
and i didn’t know that
hips
were                                                                                                                           hips
but mom laughed when I looked at her body in the shower
and said
“bananas.”

                                         ***

michael tumminnia shrugged, studying my nipple
under the only autonomous tree in the neighborhood—
the place where more backyards would meet for a monthly potluck
if only they could get over their legal binds of dimension
or just the fetish for fences.
on those common grounds i told michael that
beneath our under-shirts we were each other.
“see?”

michael tumminnia shrugged,
studying my                                                                                                               nipple.

Reflections on Antibiotics

We blow bubbles in the milk and think about
space. We don’t know much about space;
that’s why we think about it. There is an
eighty-four percent chance that if I told you that
that constellation right there, [ambiguous
gesture] that constellation riiiiiight there,
is the most undervalued constellation of all,
named Aufidius, isn’t it magnificent,
the Aufidius?,
you’d kiss me.

Ain’t that easy?

I napped to Bob Ross
and woke a rookie painter.

I took two Tylenol
and Tour-ed de France.

“Too much of a good thing is wonderful,”
said Liberace, our own American hero.