1996, Compassion Fatigue, Picasso's Incandescent Angel, Struck by Lightening, Syllable Tapestries

Shadow Boxer

1.
The phone rings,
your name prints up,
black bold Chicago letters
accompanied by your number.

I’ve weighed the matter in ounces and grams,
pints and half pints,
through minutes, hours, months, years,
even a millennium
before my hand reached out to grip the phone;
securing the call, before the answering machine.

Via microwave and long optical fibers,
strung up on crucifixes which parallel the tar river
in rack and file.
Your voice prattles in my ear:
A trickle,
a fog which blanketed the slumbering fields,
crystals of light bouncing about the leaves;
then a coyote sticks his head out. Yaps.
You wanted me to see,
without comparison
without using the word karma or slut.

I tried.
I swore to myself,
I would see,
forgive;
however, I failed.
My focus was too feeble.
You are restless.
You wanted to tell me
how you felt inside.

You wanted me to listen,
yet not be reminded of the dense fermentation
of inescapable memories which permeated the air.
You talk as if you cared.
I struggled.
I’ve listened close,
walking about the house
cradling the battered black cordless phone,
tightly between Ear and Collarbone.

What can I tell my bones?

Trying to become godesque,
is far from becoming god.

Break
2.
The frames of the film pass through the gate
transparent enough for the sun to peer through the clouds.
Don’t talk.
Keep your distance.
Don’t tell me you care.
Just let me close my eyes & sleep.
Please let me Dream.

3.
I could only understand
by hoisting knives and tongs
establishing myself once more
in front of Stainless Steel,
Heat Lamps & Cutting-boards.
with a french stove burning my soul.

“Working makes you feel better.”
Replied Grandfather Chef,
as he deboned a Gini Hen with his machete.

The tomatoes reduced to paste upon roasting bones.
I pull ‘em out of the oven,
Plop ‘em in the stock pot.
Placing the roasting pans on the stove,
deglazing with red wine
and scrapping the fond off with a spatula
from the bottom of the pan.

The rain washed the air;
everything which had been mistakenly cast-off
now stained the ground bright lemon-pollen yellow.
I no longer grieve,…nor dream of the dead.
I observe the beef stock boiling,
contemplating how much seasoning
should impinge the soup once it had reduced.
However, when the time comes,
the words make their own way out.
They didn’t need my silly input.
I will not explain you away with a book,
as I have done before.
Salt to Pepper, Garlic to Basil,
over this damp grave,
I speak my last words of love.
and stir it all in the soup.

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