Angel of Loneliness
I was suspicious because the place
the agency sent me didn't look like
any other place I had been before.
And I became even more suspicious
when they issued a uniform made from
parts of dead angels. I tell you it made me
nervous as I put on the uniform, washed
my hands in the sink and looked up to see
myself in the mirror painted in fluorescent
light and wearing parts of dead angels:
a broken wing protruding from the collar,
a robe of smoldering rainbows and wounded
meditations, a sulfurous misty weather enveloping
my head and shoulders. They had also given me
a handbook, The Encyclopedia of Loneliness,
listing and defining the ten thousand kinds
of loneliness in the world. I was told to study,
to prepare, there would be a test. Suddenly,
all of my momentary thoughts about nobility
in the midst of a crisis evaporated when I
returned to the offices as the supervisor walked
me down a long corridor of secretaries and minor
accountants to a door that opened to reveal a huge,
cold warehouse filled with ten thousand versions
of myself hanging from meat hooks, dangling
in smoldering angel rainbow robes of wounded
meditations. Turning to leave he directed:
This is where you work.
The Miscalculations of Love
I am dyslexic in love and in the middle
of argument in which we angrily doubt
the other's fidelity my lover says, rebuke.
I hear Dubuque, immediately think Iowa,
and so lie down and become a city in the great
plains of the Midwest, hoping to achieve
cooperation and engagement in negotiations
designed to achieve mutual cease-fire.
But even as I lie hereshe looking down at me
I sense my disadvantage and apologetically offer
to become a captive city besieged by moonlight.
I decide that by gaining her symphony, I mean
sympathy, I'll gain the upper hand. But as I lie here
feeling like Dubuque, Iowa with a garbage strike
and bank robbery in-progress, she explains she
really said, rebuke, and that I, a grown man, look
silly lying there pretending to be a besieged city.
With foot on my chest she plants her flag.
And I am conquered.