Something To Call It
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat
the bread of sorrows, for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Let's call it screwing up. My mother called it
"a case of too many irons in the fire"
and I quote. The woman I live with
occasionally refers to it, walking home at night
from a concert, in little Indian pipes of breath.
The sky looks like water grief had walked.
I love her, love my mother, don't I?
And I salute them both. Somewhere
(in Gaelic, I think) there's a word for all this--
the mouth filled with laughter, the tongue
full of song. But it's not a word I'll go
any further into: don't try to make me.
I'm putting on my gimme hat and my FAILED
MARXIST T-shirt under a sweatshirt that says RELAX.
That's just half of it. Here's the other half.
Like a salesman home for the weekend
whose Osterizer jammed crushing ice
for daiquiris and margaritas a minute
before company shows up, I sometimes
just want to hang it up. See if it melts.
Or rusts. Or what. Sometimes I try sleeping it off,
a bag of mothballs on an empty shelf.
Sometimes I think, "Screw this." Sometimes I just
think, curled up, smoking, well into the night.