A falling oak cracks the afternoon quiet.
Chainsaws follow behind like acolytes of
that first loud unexpected sound.
From my bedroom, I can hear the massacre of a
tree trunk in the valley below, feel each log hacked away
from the whole, small enough now for children to bear in
their arms and haul up to the house.
I can be on this bed and have a boyhood dream
of giants cut down by my dead-eye slingshot
reenacted with a piercing buzz and the churn
of resistance falling away in a scream of wood-chips.
I can imagine these small men and even smaller
boys, each with a jagged slice of limb or skull
or torso stumbling up the hill, not caring that
their shoulders sag and their muscles ache,
for they have slain the unslayable.
Then I remember how miserable it feels when things
that brush against the sky no longer do, '
when the huge and inconceivable
are cut down to human size.
I have put down my slingshot, saved my giant's
life many times since I was young. And now here
are others, strangers, destroying him within earshot.
They'll take him away in pieces...his heart,
his nerve, his brain.
He'll be part of a large, crackling,
flame-throwing hearth fire.
That'll warm some people.
JOE DREAMED OF JEANNIE
Vacationing at Cocoa Beach,
by day, his horned owl eyes pierced
the canopy of sun-tanned blondes
for the one who twitched miracles,
whose navel was a sparkling jewel.
At night, he'd stare at the shadow bones
of his empty motel bed,
imagine them made flesh,
a harem of one.
He finally did meet someone arid marry,
two years of half way decent sex,
and then ten to twenty of she
chained to the kitchen,
he sprawled in the parlor watching reruns
of "I Dream Of Jeannie."
From time to time,
he'd rub an empty beer bottle,
and his wife would drag herself into the room
with a tray of chips and dip,
though she never once called him "Master."
For every child in this tenement building,
there's at least a dozen rats.
Not that anyone ever begs for their share.
The rodents gnaw through walls.
They feast in cupboards.
Traffic noise is not just
honking horns and screamed obscenities.
It's also scrambling feet across a high beam.
Some people sleep with baseballs bats.
It gives great pleasure
to contemplate crushing a toothy skull.
A baby was bitten just last month.
The clinic gave her shots.
The reluctant landlord
called in the exterminators.
Rats moved next door until they were done.
One tenant says that even fancy homes
But no one's ever been in such a place
Such talk is part of acceptance.
Rats go with the leaky taps
and inefficient radiators.
It's as if these creatures
are the architects, the builders,
of these places.
No one can move in
until rattus norvegicus
gives the thumbs up.
Somehow people manage to live here.
love; care and cherish
like the best families.
Of course, no one bothers to frighten their kids
with tales of the boogie man.
In this rat-hole,
he'd be an improvement.