I came to this gig late in life,
so what do I want out of it?
It’s a fair question.
I’ve just started digging the answers out
of the rock that holds me.
It can’t be money, because there isn’t any.
Maybe it’s fame?
According to Harrison, Lorca was
shot on a hillside overlooking Granada.
Mandlestaum fell in love with a Mexican girl,
but they both died poor, and recited
poetry to each other in heaven.
And Vallejo died in Paris one rainy afternoon,
selling used wine bottles
for pennies to buy bread.
I think I just want to be untethered for a time.
Then decide what to do.
I’ll cruise the ocean’s bottom
above the unbelievable creatures
who go on as though I were not there;
do a bit of time-travel, go and watch Julius Caesar
pee against a tree in Gaul, bored. He’s just
waiting for the siege of Alesia to bring him
Vercingetorix in chains, an empire in his grasp.
Then I’d cut in line for the first shuttle to Mars.
Deal faro in Deadwood in the dirty saloon where
Wild Bill got shot, and watch how a legend starts.
On Thursday, I’ll cruise above some alien moon and
spend time talking to the giant gas-bag
creatures who sing long, monotonous poems
no one understands.
Then when it’s time to rest, I’ll doze in front
of a fire in a big, stone fireplace, enchanted by
the shining faces of the spirit women who,
always beautiful and adventurous,
travel with me. They dance
in the flames, storing up light and
loveliness and combustion to
feed my imagination.
And I’ll keep grabbing handfuls of water
with my clumsy stone hands
from the bucket, trying to get a drink.