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WHAT I DID ON THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING

Woke up late, peeled off my citrus
skin, and deodorized myself, ate a mango
and some leftover popcorn. Then spoons
became kneecaps, lemon bubbles
rose out of the sink, and I watched the green
ebb and flow of the carpet. Went outside,
uncurled the sweet grass, pinched my arm
in a deck lounge, ate a dry sandwich,
explored an abandoned house, roasted
a boar, found an old monopoly game board
and a tricycle wheel. Sat on a nail,
thought about roofs and thought about cement
mixers. Sharpened chalk sticks, looked at a World
Atlas, touched a squirrel’s tail. Became
very irritated. Tried to read a magazine,
took in a drive-in movie, fell in love
with Jayne Mansfield. Went home.
Scrambled some eggs.

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THE LITTLE KINGDOM

You may call on
El Dorado.

Be a traveler to:
Fez and Sus,

Agra, Oxus, Congo,
and Bizance.

Their mountains and rivers
may await us.

Say goodbye
to them.

We are going down
to the sea.

Come, let’s do it
on the boat.


from The Papier-Mâché Taj Mahal

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YOUNG CAEDMON

What I am learning about today

is how fish in the sea don’t sleep

in silt beds anymore. But I knew that

before in grammar school

though maybe not at all

because back then I could still draw

dogs driving police cars

and those fish as sea cigars with fins.

My letters and pencils were big.

At times now, there is a face

or a pair of fists

or the sound of a boot.

Will you take some time

to inquire? How this, this

goes beyond the desire to sing

into a funnel, or a well

so that the sound can settle

back into the earth.

I can hear the phone

in the next room.

It is my voice

and it’s singing back to me.


from The Papier-Mâché Taj Mahal

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