The Alt-Middle Corrective

The Man Who Would Be Elvis

I’ve got a golden gun
in the glove compartment

and a set of la-may liederhosen
with matching Chucks,

and I will happily declare to the world
that I’m gay as a goose

if it will bring me
fifty million followers.

Above the trees, the sky is bright

Potter on Sabbatical

youtube.com/watch

Fifty-Two

For Elizabeth, on her birthday

God plays your life like cards upon the green;
His mother cuts the jokers from the pack —
And who could follow suit with such a queen?

Worldly diamond kings court an exit scene
When a better bid shows how, Ace to Jack,
God plays your life. Like cards upon the green

He flips your years, push by stay, to convene
Today’s array of sequenced red and black —
And who could follow suit? With such a queen

As Mary banked within your heart, no mean
Or clever gambler stakes in blood the stack
God plays. Your life, like cards upon the green,

Is counted, ranked, a paper mise-en-scène
Of diamonds (flick!), clubs (click!), hearts and spades (smack!).
And who could follow suit with such? A queen

Of openings, you fold your hands. Your chips — all in —
Declare the trump that heads the devil’s trick:
You play your life like cards upon the green —
Oh, who could follow suit with such a queen?

The Greatest Gig in the World

Being alive … you get to eat at Denny’s, wear a hat, whatever you want to do …

September 11, 2001

                                                               Manhattan
On a bad day you can’t see anything
Beyond the Hudson and Jersey side of things:
The grey arroyos of steel, concrete, and glass
Seem brittle as paper houses in Japan.
On a good day you can see the outline
Of rebar emerging, rib-like, in sunlight,
A tensile flex of tendons steeled against
The streets below. These, dissected neat and square,
(The Big Apple as a Euclidean sheet cake)
Feed into the grid’s one blemish, a green
Mistake, an ink blotch of oaks and paths
That spill peace into hidden picnic spots
In Central Park — not nearly far enough
From the baffled wash of the Atlantic
Caressing this fragile fortress island,
Its towered tips serving sentry duty
Over the sleepy waves sloshing at piers
And abandoned pilings where garbage and foam
Congregate like idle prayers to Neptune.
Ignoring news of the day, tidal currents
Comb through a stranded forest of pilings —
A salt bath that soothes an old lady’s sore legs
As she does commerce with the eternal sea.

Today, the skyline was especially free
And majestic (perhaps some noticed this).
Today, the air had a clean crisp in-betweenness
(Perhaps no one would forget at least just this),
A September day, like the bubble
In a level, waiting to nudge either way,
To become an incomparable day — for good
Or bad.
               One might oversleep only to wake,
Like an angel an hour late for Creation,
To the explosion of mid-morning traffic.
Or one might crawl to a stop, and sniff the air
On the drive to work, hesitate a minute,
And cock one’s head, unaware, as sirens
Encompass the passage of roaring shadows,
Like knowing beasts with instinct’s machinery…

Today, the gods of war sang with jet-black hair;
One flew east, one flew west, one fell down and
One slammed into our national interests,
Extracting suum cuique’s random plan
From a populous which, until now,
(Friends and enemies both say) escaped history,
Unable to nail itself to a moment.

So, today was a good day, and yet,
The Manhattan rising in everyone’s mind
Is all that remains.
                               Pelée, Krakatoa,
Vesuvius, all momentous.
                                          Carthage,
Nineveh, Jerusalem, all righteous.
                                                      And now,
Lower Manhattan, lower and lower still,
Like ash that adds itself to endless ash —
Zero’s strict calculus of dust to dust —
Forever falling, stretching, touching ground.

 

Taking the Ball and Running with It

Cyrano Like

Potter Interview