Clapboard House (3 Pieces)
(Online) July 2014
(Online) July 2014
of the library’s basement window
makes his mark inside a heart with
his favorite girlfriend’s initials, pierces
his full and dusty heart with an arrow,
with angled feathers and a very serious
point; and despite all the books and
periodicals the institution offers, nothing
means more than these four letters
because Danny knows that tonight
after the slow dance, walking her home
in the dark under the feeble streetlight
he can stop and point to the window,
point to his dusty handiwork and hope
she overlooks the crack in the glass
and the fact that several other windows
all bear similar artifacts: his name
in dust in identically shafted hearts,
and his former girlfriends’ initials.
The girl’s not blind, she sees it all
but doesn’t care; she doesn’t care
the window’s cracked, doesn’t care
that half a quiver’s love is spent
on half a dozen other dusty panes.
She lets him make a pass, lets him
kiss her under the blazing streetlight,
and when the dust has settled she
goes back home, cracks a notebook,
fills a dozen empty pages with
Mrs Dan, Mrs Daniel, Mrs Danny B.
Thank you, father, for all that hash when I was
just a high schoolboy; and for all those girls,
their cute little pink feet and silver toe rings
up on the dashboard, Stones on the radio,
calico dresses in the wind, tanned legs, hot
nights, warm flesh, and all those summer
sunstruck mornings waking up with no idea
whose house I was in, whose bed,
and not a second’s thought about how it’s
only Tuesday, smoky and unknowable.
Thanks for the moon reflected in windshield
raindrops, and for midnight mushrooms,
Day-Glo under blacklight, mescaline boogie,
acid rock, and acid. But mostly thank you
for ’68: Danny Riley and his floral necktie
finishing up his student teaching,
smiling and handing me books, saying
Oh man, you should read some Ginsberg, or
Brautigan, maybe. No; here, I got it.
For you, Ferlinghetti.
He doesn’t know how he let his hands
do the things his hands had done:
casually thrown away a wedding ring,
made a fist and used it, ransacked a
complete stranger’s home, plunged
a needle, pulled a trigger.
It’s like they
were someone else’s hands; like they’d
never opened a book, never taken an
oath, never tucked a little girl into bed,
or stroked her hair.
had slipped away from him, left him
predictably alone, completely