After hearing Fanny Howe and John Wieners

John Wieners, Lee Harwood, Lewis Warsh and Bill Corbett at Walden Pond (photo by Jud Walker).

Waterstone’s, Boston, March ’98

past yellow shoes and red ones
        and what seems a reflection of a plane, a skyscraper, and a car —
        actually painted in glitter on the sidewalk —
driving over the narrow river,
        peach and white tornadoes of light in the dark blue water
pairs of headlights coming towards me, Bright Eyes
        a suffering yet in service of
        it’s not funny
        the men laughed anyway
        so I did — laughter being ‘catchy’ —
what’s this black of night
not hard-looking, not soft —
mushy with molecules
back to the flat of the mind
stop sign
street lights like lollipops
        branch’s blue shadow in snow, today’s long melting yard
“you always look so young”
said Fanny and I said
something tiny
but thought
“I’m immature”
would have been funny
I cared for aesthetics
so I kept falling,
in love with grace and cleverness
but in the development of an argument
I’ve learned recently
        juxtapositions of substance
melancholy’s going
can’t afford it —
approaching 50
affords an opportunity
like the last half of a vacation
to make the best of it