Under the long green hair of pepper trees,
The writers and composers work the street.
Bach’s new score is crumpled in his pocket,
Dante sways his ass-cheeks to the beat.
The city is named for the angels,
And its angels are easy to find.
They give off a lubricant odor,
Their eyes are mascara-lined;
At night you can see them inserting
For breakfast they gather at poolside
Where screenwriters feed and swim.
Every day, I go to earn my bread
In the exchange where lies are marketed,
Hoping my own lies will attract a bid.
It’s Hell, it’s Heaven: the amount you earn
Determines if you play the harp or burn.
Gold in their mountains,
Oil on their coast;
Dreaming in celluloid
Profits them most.
Things will be different.
No one will lose their sight,
their hearing, their gallbladder.
It will be all Catskills with brand
new wrap-around verandas.
The idea of Hitler will not
have vibrated yet.
While back here,
they are still cleaning out
pockets of wrinkled
Nazis hiding in Argentina.
But in the next galaxy,
certain planets will have true
blue skies and drinking water.
Like Florence from your mountain.
Both cast your poets out
for speaking plain.
You bowl your bombs down aisles
where black folk kneel
to pray for your blacker souls.
Dog-town children bled
A, B, O, AB as you.
Christ’s blood is not more red.
Burning my house to keep
them out, you sowed wind. Hear it blow!
Soon you reap.
Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
My handwriting is all over these woods.
No, my handwriting is these woods,
each tree a half-print, half-cursive scrawl,
each loop a limb. My house is somewhere
here, & I have scribbled myself inside it.
What is home but a book we write, then
read again & again, each time dog-earing
different pages. In the morning I wake
in time to pencil the sun high. How
fragile it is, the world—I almost wrote
the word but caught myself. Either one
could be erased. In these written woods,
branches smudge around me whenever
I take a deep breath. Still, written fawns
lie in the written sunlight that dapples
their backs. What is home but a passage
I’m writing & underlining every time I read it.
I allow myself
the luxury of breakfast
(I am no nun, for Christ’s sake).
Charmed as I am
by the sputter of bacon,
and the eye-opening properties
it’s the coffee
that’s really sacramental.
In the old days,
I spread fires and floods and pestilence
on my toast.
Nowadays, I’m more selective,
I only read my horoscope
by the quiet glow of the marmalade.