I want to live in a city where the weather is decisive.
Here, each day assassinates the one before.
Thursday overthrows Wednesday in a violent coup
Shrouding the memory of her brief, sunny governance
In a fog so thick you knock your knees on it.
Fridayâ€™s rain amazes itself by suddenly becoming hail.
I want all doctors to be sure if eggs are bad for me
Or good. And how many.
I want them to explain the variance in cholesterol
And if theyâ€™re gonna say â€œcancerâ€
theyâ€™d better back it up.
I want to meet a woman who says â€œI love youâ€
When she means it â€“
Doesnâ€™t use those words as a sedative
Or a gag.
Each morning I want my shoes to fit
And my car to start.
To make the same money I can spend in bars
With familiar friends who say the same things
As the night swills us around in her mouth.
I want the comfort of things that always taste the same.
Politics to remain meaningless
Religion to continue pacifying the zealots
Though I know with my busted but logical mind
I could never follow anything
That came back from the dead.
Guess thatâ€™s why I still respect you, Dad.
26 years on and you are sticking to your death like gum.
No loud noises or sudden movements.
No alarms and no surprises.
And to Godâ€™s grey clouds gathering above
Silently colluding like Germans in the sky
Rolling in like raw eggs threatening to crack:
If you do it
Open all the way.
Rain for 40 days and 40 nights.
This time, please, a little conviction.
The Last Umbrella
In the City of Lost Things there is a house.
The number on its door thumbed blank,
the street sign washed clear.
This house holds remnants, trinkets,
the debris of the forgotten.
The last umbrella leans careless,
its neck bent supplicant
against the beige walls.
A key of no description
on a table of mass-produced wood.
A six-digit combination scrawled
on a racing slip,
random coins and a paper clip
littered loose across the floor.
One drawer of a dresser left open;
pens and a paperweight,
a book of matches,
a strand of rosary beads.
Flecks of dust speckle windowsills:
flakes of skin and cell,
dead spores of the human seed.
At the end of the hall, an empty frame
wired into the stud,
a place for a face
if it were loved.
In the City of Lost Things there is a house
that belongs there.
But the man of the house is gone.
He has been found.
You never fail to see me off.
Having one quick drink in the lounge
Before the rush to the gate.
You carry some of my baggage.
You double check me: â€œDid you bring everything?â€
Absent-minded I pat at my pockets.
You say things like â€œSheâ€™s a fine bird.
Seems to fly right.â€
While I swing on the rail and smile like a fool
for the very idea of flight.
Wave me off from the departure window.
Watch as I board her big, big love.
We taxi down the runway, all systems check.
Still in the airport you study
That clacking black board.
Like all things it starts fast.
We are suddenly up
Shocked to silence by the force of it
Faces pulled permanent into a grin.
We level out and we feel like angels
Like no one has ever been this high.
From the ridiculously expensive satellite phone
I call on you.
I say â€œTop of the world, man!
Iâ€™m fucking flying!â€
And you sagely say â€œGood.â€
And, â€œBuckle up.â€
But I get distracted by the reading light.
They serve free drinks and the food isâ€¦adequate.
Then a bolt rattles or a window cracks.
No one is sure how it starts.
The mood shifts. A tense impatience
Fills the cabin like unexplained smoke.
And there is fire. So fast
A flicker of yellow, innocuous as a candle
Then some ripping bang and the first four rows combust.
Masks fall from the ceiling but
Theyâ€™re not attached to hoses.
The clatter to the floor like
Clear mouths agape.
There are panicked voices and a siren
And a thousand small landing lights.
The fetid stench of burning synthetic chairs.
The heat melts clasps on overhead lockers
And piles of old baggage come bombing down â€“
Some seem older than the plane.
The wings on either side rise up as if to clap
But snap and spiral off like ticker tape.
This happens quick
But I hear your voice. â€œBuckle up.â€
Seatbelt firm I ride the breaking plane to wreck and ruin.
Impact flat on its back, a crack runs clear along the carriage
And the metal shell peels and splits in two
Like a coconut husk.
The satellite phone, somehow intact, is in my lap.
I hit redial, and when you answer I say
â€œCome pick me up.
Climbing The Walls
At one a.m. this house is all blind corners.
Cracking plaster dust, creaking floors
And nails to snag on.
Lumps in all the halls
Silhouettes noosed in every doorway
Swinging like salted fish.
Itâ€™s a struggle to find more wine.
At two a.m. I almost smell things in the kitchen
And know the part of you that bothered to stay
Is fixing some healthy meal.
Streaming gaggles of traffic still massacre
My rain polished road.
They rattle the posse of bottles I left to stand guard.
Where are any of them going?
And where exactly are you?
By two-fifteen Iâ€™m starving.
At three I know what I need.
A bone saw and a friend with steady hands
To pop open my skull like a hobo soup can
And let me have at you.
I would call you out like High Noon:
Get down from my walls.
Cease spreading your scent.
Stop lifting your leg like some dumpster slut stray.
Pack it up and move it on.
Donâ€™t let the door hit your arse.
Abscond. Be gone.
But with the throat of an ashtray
And the force of a pawn
I doubt my screams would swing a wind chime.
And by four, no sober friends have answered the phone.
The guy next door. The woman across town.
All over the world they have the right idea.
They bury their dead.
Five a.m. and itâ€™s all I can do to not break up
My bedroom door for kindling
Remembering onceÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â this was your door, too.
And the crease in the mattress
That kidney-shaped pillow
The blood stain on the bathroom floor, yours.
It is six a.m. and the fittest news smacks onto my porch.
If the papers are to be believed
Even sunrise is ten minutes late.
.Photos by Michael Reynolds.