Dream of Holding On

I’m working at the fish plant when my ex-wife comes by
she hasn’t changed in 20 years
she wants try again
Come with me, she says
her lips are two nibbles of plum
her auburn hair falls on her badminton shoulders
we leave and go to her house
which is our old house
but there is some old guy living in the basement
Let’s go to a hotel, I say
as we’re leaving there is a cry from the basement
the old guy comes up frail as a mummy
his hair looks like it was pulled off the sofa
with a piece of masking tape
he hands me a sheet of paper
What’s this?
Poetry, he says
I look at it
it’s a sex quiz cut from a magazine
he says,
You know you’re not going to save
anybody with that crap you write
my ex pulls me off around a building
she whispers in my ear, I want to make love
she unzips her pants
and she has a tiny flaccid penis
so I guess she has changed a bit in 20 years
a sinkhole of regret swallows the entire landscape
I open my eyes
and touch my poor Natalia
check her for fever
she seems ok for now
I come to my little table outside
sit down with the ants
and the spiders and the flies
to write it out knowing nothing
will save you if you are of this world

Sleeping with My Nemesis

My mom stares into the black hole of her dishwasher
when Mark Coats walks by
my old nemesis from high school
What seems to be the problem, ma’am? he says
I don’t know, my mom says
pressing the start button over and over
I feel bad because I put my running shoes in the dishwasher
and that’s why it won’t work
Mark takes off his business jacket and rolls up his sleeves
gets in there and lickety split solves the trouble

next thing I know I’m at a car wash with my bicycle
the attendant is Mark Coats
he says, No bicycles allowed
I tell him I need the pressure and plead a little bit
he says, Ok, I’ll bend the rules

with my clean bicycle I ride off to the store
to buy some smokes
there’s Mark Coats behind the counter
Smoking is bad for you, he says
but he looks at me like he understands

I get home and my wife is getting out of bed
You’ll never guess who was just here, she says
Mark Coats? I say
Yes, she says, we must have had the same dream
Where’d he rush off to? I say
He had to go to the track there’s a big meet today, she says
He does get around, I say

I lay down in bed
with the smell of Mark Coats on my pillow
I go to sleep and dream I’m running the hurdles
on a cinder track
the hurdles keep getting higher and higher
until the last one is as high as Hadrian’s Wall
I feel as if God is hiding on the other side
but it’s probably just Mark Coats
his sculpted face glistening
the sun a gold medal hanging from his neck

Dream of Emergence

I’m a custodian at a new-age college
I’m called to a student’s room to clean it up
the room is full of dry bow-tie pasta up to my chest
the student pops his head up out of the pasta
it’s Gilbert my old drinking buddy
he says,
How come you never hang out with me anymore?
I say,
Sorry I had to quit drinking and get a job
I swim through the pasta and end up in Japan
I sit on the shore and gaze at the ocean
I hitch a ride on a freighter back to the college
just in time to see a group of students walk out of a room
they march down a hallway leaving colorful footprints
they settle down on a patch of grass
they are making a poster
they finish their poster and hand it to me
one guy says,
We need this processed asap
I take it to the processing room
where there is a big copy machine
I lay the poster on the flat screen and shut the heavy lid
a woman stands next to me crying
she says,
My life is over, I don’t know what to do
I say,
This winter has lasted 7 years
she takes my hand and smiles
on the ground at our feet the poster is being reproduced
bit by bit
first it is all black
then the sun and moon emerge
then the earth and continents and oceans and plants
then insects and animals
it is three dimensional and I bend down and touch it
the texture is like a mushroom
the woman and I stand quietly
the first two human beings to wonder what it is
and what it wants from us

The Spit That Fell from the Clouds

When your wife has been ill for 2 years
and no doctor in the land can put a name to it
when she cries in bed each night
and flinches when you touch her
and all you can do is remember how young and happy she once was
it is difficult to give a shit
that they’re fighting over sky-fairies in Tal Afar
or that demonstrators are up in arms in Barcelona
or that somebody made hot cakes on Facebook
or that glassy-eyed poets are passing mouth-gas on Spotify
with their backdrop bookshelves testifying
to their talent and mental acuity
or that the motorcycle rally is next weekend
or that the car is filthy
from the spit that fell from the clouds
or that jam has bits of fruit in it unlike jelly
or that a pubescent loop-job dropped artillery in a Missoula classroom
or that the monarchs are fluttering again
on the motherfucking wind

Dream of New Year’s Eve

I’m tired from driving my taxi all day
looking for the almighty address
I park on a quiet street and get out and go to sleep on the sidewalk
I wake up to another taxi honking
it’s night now
the driver waves his money at me like a shaman
I get up and walk towards my cab
but realize I’ve forgotten my over-due library books
there are 12 books and I have a hard
time getting them all in my arms
when I turn around again my cab is gone
I start walking with my library books and my cab-fare log
I see an abandoned cab on a side street and get in
the keys are in it and I start it up
but it has no steering wheel
I steer by leaning side to side
at the library I drive through the door
and stop at the front counter
the librarian lady gets in the back seat
Thank God you’re here I’ve been waiting forever, she says
she has a learning disability and an oxygen tank
she tells me she lives 3 states away
which will be a great fare and make
up for a terrible day
I toss the books on the floor
but can’t find the exit and start plowing through walls
I tell the lady I’ve got to switch vehicles
I get to the cab yard and explain the situation
the guy in the cage says I’m fired
he won’t pay me for my credit card receipts
says my taxi-log looks like hieroglyphics
I turn and see the librarian in another cab which is driving away
she looks at me through the back window
she grins and points upwards
in the sky the new year’s fireworks begin exploding
like sparks and tracers in the eyes of God
when he stands up too fast
and braces himself against the emptiness