Letter to Wallace Stevens

But I can think of the sun costuming clouds, Mr. Stevens.

On the drive home my car veers as the tulip

swirls begin to explore and kiss the white-blue of what’s Other,

what’s not anymore. I sigh when I see the smoke signals

from all the people shaken

not just by the Big Deal but by the Tuesday

2pm, after the church lunch and before the shelter is open,

having no thinking bench anywhere or time to ponder the day

or the methodical pull of bottles from trash cans,

the cigarette butts from the ground

which I see nearly each day and know—

it is a man, usually, he is dirty and he shields

the sky with a brimmed hat and has a system of plastic bags.

When he sits down he pulls out six receipts, a pen, a nail,

lint, a napkin, a TrakFone with no minutes, lines them up

on the webbed iron table, neatly–all of my sighs

approximately near my heart,

not where you can hear them anymore,

I don’t know when the welling up began, but am skilled

at the smoothing down.   It isn’t tiresome

giving out dollars, or advice to those who ask and refuse,

always, to hear it, who ask again, of listening to strangers,

unless I feel unsafe, which happened twice since last September,

once when a fat man weaved too rhythmically, another time

when I was barked at for a smoke, THOSE ARE CIGARETTES.

GIMME ONE.  It isn’t old hat gazing at the endazzled night–

who is not proud?  Why should the sky be exempt, or we,

between paychecks, demand what’s ours remain hard and pure

and unlike sky and ours and edged like cubic zirconium? 

People cry and cry for help, most of whom continue to endure

sustained by the sky, the kingdom of Heaven

evident on the brushed eyeshadow lilac of Her Face.

Who is not awake to see what goes on and on in every direction?


2 thoughts on “Letter to Wallace Stevens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s