Where there are fields by the lake
crazy men own them and won’t let
anyone buy in. If you want to partake
of Loughrea’s old stone upon stone, get
rich quick. There are no more deals.
If you can recall the street where you were born
pack the memory carefully in the fat suitcase
and take it home. Leave all scorn
right here or it will show up on your face
in Kinsella’s tonight amid the jigs and reels.
There is a hole in the ground with a poet in it
every time you turn around. The dance crowd
is waiting for you downstairs. Just a minute,
you tell them. The dearly departed are a cloud
over me, and I am lost in the house the cloud conceals.
The difference between a good party
and a great party rests entirely
on careful arrangement of colors
and the presence of people who will
drink themselves into a stupor
for the amusement of the other guests.
It also helps to serve meatloaf and mashed
potatoes. No other dish really does it,
except for macaroni and cheese.
Beautiful women can hold things up
better than the pillars of the Parthenon.
Knights in armor are good for a laugh,
and it is also advisable to put $100 bills
under everybody’s saucer as a little surprise.
Offer a lot of grilled food, and nothing but.
Hire a doorman and make him ring a bell.
If Bianca Jagger or Lisa Minelli can make it,
by all means swing open the doors for them.
The right flowers are essential. I like those
big yellow flowers, whatever they’re called.
Red ones are nice too. It helps to have lots
of vodka, gin, scotch, brandy, and cognac
for all to swill down. I don’t really know
anything about flowers.
I used to go to wild parties in Inwood
when I was nineteen. You know
you’re in the right place when all
the bulbs are red and blue, everybody’s
wasted, and the music is so loud
you know as it’s happening
that you’re damaging your hearing
forever, and don’t care.
You see a hypnotic creature
on the fire escape who smells
like Johnson’s baby powder.
There’s a big pile of coats on the bed,
and underneath two naked people
are squirming and laughing. Someone has a hat
full of pills. Smoke, as always,
clouds up the air in the dark, red room.
The next day, you sleep as hard
and transparent as a sheet of glass.
The brightness is a searchlight
that blinds you. You don’t smell
any flowers. A neighbor is playing
Motown coming up through the alley
and cutting into your head
which takes up the entire bed.
My lovers have vanished. I used to have many.
One moved to Boston and married a Japanese photographer.
Another became a famous actress. Another one, who for a long time
I mistakenly believed to be dead, now lives in Manhattan.
We used to know each other so intimately,
sucking and munching on each other, inserting,
penetrating, exploding. Becoming as one. Funky
smell of sweaty bodies. Clothes strewn on floor
and bed. Candles burning. Smoke of cigarettes and joints
curling up the bedroom atmosphere. Now we never touch,
barely talk. Some I have lost all contact with.
But memories of our pleasure together, my dears,
still play in my mind. My body can still feel your touch.
My tongue still remembers your taste.
Everything else I seem to have forgotten.
The present is the life insurance premium automatically
deducted from your paycheck, while the past burns
out of control in a vacant lot on the outskirts of town.