Trying to live as if it were morning
 

Every character in Dostoevsky is going to be in the hospital
        after this poem.
The underground man with a baseball bat, clearing house
“Philly-Style,” and from what I’ve seen
        it would be true.

I put the Brothers K and their endless array of calamities
        out with my pinky.

I don’t go in for the ping-pong of rational-irrational,
        possible-impossible —
The sad, lucid, mad, attractive, murky
        and yes, horrible overcoat of Paradox, Pennsylvania.

I don’t need that.

The Bros. K are gone.
The problem of fake hamburger or even real hamburger remains.

The Past at my back,
Back in the past, I agree with John Coltrane
        when he says, “War begets war.”

I drive all around my neighborhood with “the Idiot”
        in the front basket of my bike.
When he falls out we pick him up and keep going.
He’s clever in a way that any other person might be killed for.

Of course, people don’t fuck with us.

It’s the old game of imposing order where there isn’t any
        then calling yourself on it.

The ancients called it gravity; the modernists job security.
The people after lost a lot of weight and went home pissed off
Not believing they were home when they actually were,
        so they never really slept.

It’s the kind of trouble a fleet of blimps “up in flames”
Might cause flying over an Olympic stadium as seen
        on video cassette —
                    but really real anyway, like on fire.

People point out the violence I do to my own words,
How uncareful I can be — I duck under their commentary.
My copy of Crime and Punishment is under the aloe plant
        all buckled and stained from water.

A man I respect said there hasn’t been any “breakthrough work”
        since sometime in the 1930’s.
Sometimes for me it would just be breaking things;
Like my uncle’s a “good guy,” but
The precinct captain pulled his back-up.
He shouldn’t be here. We don’t talk about it.

Take out a piece of paper and write down:
Man the builder, Man the destroyer, Man the eater
        of donuts, butter cake, and pork buns.    

The experimenter says he, or a recombinant
He and She “unsettles all things.”
Even though that’s cool, I don’t unsettle “all things.”
I don’t have enough time.
There’s enough nonsense without that nonsense.

I’m not here to settle that.
I’m here to write a poem because I’m a morning person
        and it’s morning.

This is a morning poem.



first published in The American Poetry Review, November 1, 2000.