If I were to open a restaurant, I’d call it The House of Chipped Bowls.
Every bowl’s a story, just like you. And perhaps you’ll tell yours Or listen to another’s.
Every table imperfect, Perfect for elbows and plans, Every chair for every backside, Every posture, every shrug.
The soundtrack may impose upon your hips. Dancing will be permitted between courses In the aisles, with patrons, with servers. Out of the way, we’ll never be too busy not to dance.
The books in the shelves Include notes to lovers Or infidel brothers Or sentences underlined No less than three times, Lines dented into the page With rage and permanence.
The food will be made to order. There will be no menu but your desire — Whatever’s available in storage, If we can’t make it, we’ll serve the closest we can come to it and we’ll be sure to keep your glass full.
We’ll talk Or we won’t. It might be loud Though often it will be quiet.
Sometimes a shadow or a dream Or sometimes the dead will visit a table With a cup of soup and fresh Bread from our bakery To share a memory from that time you rode together Beyond some horizon Singing that song at the top of your lungs.
So WillMy Love
This is what I know about love: I will love you the way you need to be loved the way you need to be loved is the way I will love you if your need ever changes, so will my love for you.
This is what I know about love with you: I will ask you to forgive me every time I open my mouth exposing my supposition: I don’t know a thing but what I know, my mind like a clumsy cabinet full of broken dinner plates and chipped bowls piled high in tilted towers sloppily arranged like discarded embarrassments we laugh about deep into the night.
Every breath a kind of begging for another breath — only the unknown known with you — assuming life forward — fools, utter fools, and happily so — believing we must to survive the tyranny of time, is all I know about love with you.
Two Poems Inspired by Edward Hopper
Who But Us inspired by Edward Hopper’s “Room in Brooklyn” (1932)
Who but us could conceive this windowed corner to watch out over the city.
A singular view from which talking to Gd might seem possible in the clarity over the roofs.
And then I remember I’m alone for you, severed from my source and left wanting.
From Rooftops inspired by Edward Hopper’s “Palms at Saltillo” (1943)
Rooftops in Saltillo remind me of home.
Miami Beach will always be home –
even as I must admit we may never live there again –
though maybe near – somewhere with similar viewscapes
as those of the rooftops of Saltillo, but closer to the sea.
Rooftops in Saltillo offer a view of palms like those back home –
crowned monarchical, wild-haired and wizened.
Rooftops in Saltillo hold light like ready-to-shed clothes
at dusk’s fall to evening for the delicate fingers of the moon.
But the rooftops of Saltillo, alien to me, offer no sea, no ships on the far horizon,
no gulls dancing in place against the headwinds.
Have you ever laid back on the rooftop of a chartered boat on a night anchor trip learning the difference
between the stars and the planets from Tio Al smoking reds, the breeze strong,
moving the hair on your brow, the smell of fish fresh caught and of sea and men
beer-eyed and smokey, and the sea fills you – the sea enthralls you
in awe of all that it holds – teeming life, history, memories you often can’t call your own?
Then you know too what it’s like to be on your back gazing up
from a Miami Beach rooftop, maybe a house on Royal Palm, drunk or high or both, dizzy
on the aroma of the salted sea flavored in mango and lime, and the rock of the boat
now the calming cool concrete, white as the face of the moon, solid and under you smooth,
ledges lined with sunbaked Spanish tiles, whispers among the fronds flirtations, a tease of conversations
you’re always left out of – and your endless surprise at the troves of delinquencies,
as sparkling as any view of our galaxy’s glorious array, still left for you to explore.
Up here, nothing is secret. You know what you know right in front of you.
How fortunate to remain sanguine knowing all of this is a farce.
Saltillo, rendered in light and shadow in the romance of solitude and detachment from the rooftop of a mansion
away from the maddening crowds of a bustling city.
Miami Beach, you sandbar opus dredged from the depths, greed glowing in every neon light,
an imagined island made real and built upon by madmen, artists, and a coterie of
glittering beasts – Old Spanish style homes, Art Deco facades, castles –
gangsters, shysters, bubbies, zaydes, a wonderland of all known vice.
The ocean in every breath even as you climb down from the rooftop, leaving no trace
of the thousands of desires passed through your aching heart in the last half hour.
Whose car took you to your front door? Did you drive yourself,
alert for cops, listening to trees laughing at you in the breeze all the way?
What are you missing? A youth you despised, loved with equal rage.
Fear and hatred, desire and shame.
Aren’t you the one in love with everyone you grew up with?