View From A Flying Jimmy

Listen: hounds loose their run trill reveille behind the lines
of white pine and cedar and elm that guard my seclusion.

I pretend I'm dreaming-then I am-waltzing with Jane
barefoot and ballgowned through a wood: music howls
somewhere beyond the gray, somewhere in the black.
So I oversleep and wonder when I wake why my feet are ice.

I fly to work down back roads that turn suddenly
into streets miles from my driveway graveled and
tucked between menacing rows of black-hulled pecans:
they bear on the third year and I keep their fallen ancestors
packed naked in blue tupperware tubs stacked in my freezer.

The cockpit of my jimmy is strewn with dead coffee cups.
Jack-in-the-boxes lay discarded and dying on the floorboards
-similar slaughters of necessity-ketchup clotted to their sides.
Last month's cable bill flaps under the visor like a battleflag.

Tobacco whips by on the left and on the right so fast
each leaf on every stalk stands out in surreal base-relief.
I taste the sharp and bitter tang of suckering plants:
it reminds me of my father's pall malls and politics and
the smell of money seeded from blood.

Barn swallows rise-in lazy tourbillions-from the fields
their beaks and bellies full of yellow and green hornworms.

I wing past Buck's BBQ Pit (You Can't Beat Our Meat)-past
Lucy's Do-Lounge where the girls serve more than shots
-past Big Jim's Quick Mart: the stoner kid who pumps gas
raises a hand in reflex. I don't wave back in sympathetic apathy.

Most mornings I stop to kill coffee cups but today I'm late.

Tenant houses rush by on either side, their concrete blocks
painted with Kudzu and mildew: I think of abattoirs and
oubliettes and other inevitable exits. Children and dogs and
cheap molded toys from the plastic plant over in Elroy dot
the tiny dirt yards-little boys and little girls stand in stagnant
ditches chunking rocks at death while their mamas are inside
fucking the mailman or watching General Hospital on TV.

I see slide show flashes of their faces and I hope I don't
have to come back out this way: scrape them up, heads
cracked open, futures frying on asphalt like so many eggs.

I pass the city limit sign-some of the holes are mine-ringed
in rust and canted to one side. Courthouse looms right,
county buildings lurch left and blocks ahead day meets night
where tracks split the city: segregation in iron ties old as time.

I pull into my lot-number six, section twelve-filled with cars
and trucks and bikes but I am the only flying jimmy.
Everything ticks: engine, watch, pulse-alpha papa charlie-
the people that mill outside my windshield tick with tension.

I want to turn the key, turn around, turn into my driveway
where squirrels sit stuffing my sweet meats in their jaws:
instead I clinch mine-name rank serial number-open the door
and step out.

Listen: animals sprung their cages snarl in angry unavoce
behind walls of brick and steel and glass that guard nothing.

The Semite-Anti

I knew a Semite, once-
who was anti-anything that wasn’t
his own concept, or concepted to his own
intimate reality and you would think that a Jew
would know a thing or two about tolerance;
about the consequences for the lack of it
or at least realize the danger of narrow roads

yet he rides a bicycle around
his university town, because the chance
tuning of a classical station once led to Domingo
singing to angels, eating bread where the road
got narrower still; the pleasant shock turned car
into flaming tree along the landscape littered

highway to Barnes and Noble,
where he goes to find his roots, goes to cry
over CD’s sang in the mother tongue; the notes
dripping like the snapped strings of guitars-
sometimes as he leaves, he feels he can walk straight
through the brick walls like gamma rays but

he pedals instead, home for dinner;
a fish sup of mackerel displayed on his counter
like the art of poetry lays upon the page and he hones
his knife on the sharpening wheel; slits the white belly,
removes bright innards, washes the gutted carcass
beneath tap water as cold as the Aegean sea-
as it boils within the gray water of domesticity
he knows that later he will write of it, for writing
is a noble task and he is nothing if not noble

and after, he sleeps; and as he sleeps
he dreams of apples; falling apples, forbidden apples,
the apples of paradise that an old woman bids him
not to eat and then his mind shifts and he is standing
among the broken pieces of Palestine and Greek sculpture
that lie in silent discord at his feet, the feet of the elite
athlete who in his youth slapped decathlon ass
while shit smeared his hands and he thanks God,
thanks Jehovah for the privilege and then he wakes-

just another forgotten old man
with dried spittle in his eyes and on his lips,
the cupboard stitches in his scalp tingle, mingle
with the fluttering remnants of fucking the Venus De Milo
while dream-Nazis cheered him on, their dream-faces
set in sybaritic leers so he draws a bath to cleanse
the night sweats; dives beneath its warm surface
like a submarine -hard, true- and emerges flaccid,
limp as the pink mackerel dinner and somewhere
in the back of his mind he wonders who will grieve;
who will sing the liturgical dirges for him.