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Fifth of June

I was at the Magic Kingdom, alone,

                        Fittingly lone,
            Just stepping off the Carousel of Progress,
            Still, “These are the Times”-ing
            When the phone, belt-clipped, rang
            With atonal, casual urgency.
Overwhelmed by the sun, I sought shadow-
                        Obscured, heated
            Preparation for the voice on the other end.
            Sweat dripped into my eyes; squinting
            As I answered, “Hello,”
            Day-Star-blinded and optimistic.
“Have you heard?”  “No. What?” “Sorry.”
                        “God, what is it?”
            “His Sun set, finally.” I knew instantly
            That, even in the intersection of make-
            Believe and greatness, of ranches
            And studio lots, he shoneheadlinedstill.
Loving Nancy and God and America,
                        And even me,
            Tackling malaise with vision, with words,
            With myth, from behind the golden
            Curtain, before the Iron Curtain
            He took his place beyond the sunrise.
To the sunset on our Carousel of
                        Victor’s Progress,
            Fighting on, eclipsed and echoing resolve
            Like a trumpet against Jericho,
            With humble fallibility, page-turning:
            A new scene, a new story: an enduring hope.                                  

New Pillow

In the last days, before I was convinced to finally part with her,

I would crawl under the covers and lay my head upon her,
knowing that her days were not unnumbered,
The single constant that had accompanied me since childhood-
thirty years, at least, my quiet sleeping companion.

She gave of her mete to my wandering fingers, searching ever
In those moments when I needed–sought–them
For the wholesome prick of a feather’s quill,
Poking through the fabric meant to contain them as fill,
to be drawn out as an instant treasure, a trophy.

She too, had once been young and fresh and sturdy: unblemished.
The perfect accompaniment for the change to manhood,
Soft and forgiving of my imperfections, midnight-flipped,
Cradling my head in slumber, folded and lumbar-supporting
As I read or watched TV, or in other recumbent endeavors.

As I’d pull one feather out, others queued up for extraction,
Until together, in an OCD-eternity before slumber,
Piles of feathers were transferred to the floor, bits of her
To be gathered up in the morning or pushed underneath the bed
With dust bunnies, crunchy towels and National Geographics.

And after decades of such extractions, the once plump and sturdy,
Unswerving, undemanding, post-indulgent head lounge,
Now sweat, tear, and love-stained, sleep-strained,
Replaced with a cuddling constant that gives without deteriorating:
Slumber, unencumbered and contented and ever strong:

Transacted: Picked.


This faded, cardboard orange box,

                        Swooshed and sturdy
            Like the overpriced athletic
 Shoes that it once housed,
            Two decades ago,
            Carries the flotsam of a life–
                        Or is it jetsam?
One thousand eighty cubic inches,
                        Still loosely packed,
            Give or take, with things:
A dusty, half-full bottle of
            Drakkar Noir, four-o’d report cards,
            Some 6-inch floppy discs-     
                        Post de-magnetized.
Long lost, the Polaroid camera,
            By the glossy sepia nudes of
Boyfriends and estrangements
            With smiling aging me’s in various
            States of undress, inebriation and
                        Persistent youthfulness.
Once, I know, there was a gold chain
                        And crucifix–
            A gift from my grandmother
That I cannot find after picking through
            And shaking every item in
            The cardboard chest. I lost it, I curse,
                        Or someone took it.
A love poem I wrote but never gave,
                        Folded neatly,
                        Pen-ink smudged by time and tears.
A glossy New Yorker comic, clipped
                        By a dear friend
                        With whom I have since lost contact.
Keys of all shapes and sizes and alloys
                        Dozens of them,
                        To all the past places I’ve called home.
My first driver’s license, a Libertarian voter registration,
                        Blockbuster card,
                        A Miami Dolphins lower bowl ticket stub.
A slow-ticking, gold-banded Timex watch that I shake, and
                        Slide on my wrist,
                        Once the nicest thing I owned.
I have moved this box with me, cramming and
            From the east coast to the panhandle
To lakesides to other states to the bayshore.
            From dorms to apartments to houses
            To mansions to condos.
                        From optimism to loss to hope.
Here, moving again, moved to a new space
            Accounting for and taking inventory
Of stasis in constant change. Time in a box,
            Stacked in a new corner:
            Stacked in a different closet:             
                        Beneath another ‘nother’s stuff.

Accruing dust, dander, mold and yellowed edges,

                        More nostalgia,
            And now, another poem to be–undoubtedly–
Revisited again when this newest lease expires.
            This space, this time, is perfect.
            This box is only so big.
                        This box is only so big.