The Ripest Rankest Juiciest Summer Ever

Summer sinks into the clock-face of the cat’s eye
Sinks into chestnut colored limbs

A 17 franc basket of peaches
Day four and already summer has run from ripe to rank

All spring long we dined as if we had all the time in the world
Followed with interest the color, light and atmosphere

Observed the shadows of the grapevines advancing to this
Last evening of the postimpressionists

Dabs of light thicken on the hammock
Grow thin on the windblown curtain

Each stroke acquiring definition
Until the last stroke added bursts grape skin

Must be August
Ripe for the Fauvists

Never again will mere light so delight us
And O how we weary of atmosphere

Our idle conversation spreads like vines in the arbor
Of this ripest rankest juiciest summer ever

And O how we weary of style
Does style after all exist

So like the snow
Defiled at the merest touch

But while the snow does not exist
The hammock is more manifest than ever

More than April irises or an aperitif at six
Though compared to soccer broadcast live hardly anything exists

Our guest, an enthusiast of “Old Cathay,” asserts that in our fallen day
Only armed revolution poses such tragic implications

And then there is soccer
O how we dine as if we had all the time in the world

Smoked salmon, crab and lobster
And will you look at the size of this oyster

If we could but find the proper venues
To release our leftist tendencies

1906, Cezanne, caught in a storm, returns to his studio
Removes his hat and coat and collapses by the arbor window

Taking stock of the table, its overturned basket of apples, he notices
The “appleness of the apples” and their shadows, the three skulls

The wardrobe, the pitcher, the crock
The half-opened drawer, the clock

It occurs to him proportion is hardly worth the fuss
And could care even less if the table were bevel or not

As he closes his eyes and dies
His eyelids trace a line pointing straight to three o’clock

Still, there is something wanting in all this
Must be time for Matisse

Tied Up and Waiting

Use your psychic power to bend mental
Use your psychic power to stop the hands of the clock
Use your psychic power to flick the switch
I can smell you in my skin
I can smell you in my skin
I can smell you in my skin
I am experiencing what is more what is more I am experiencing the experience

As for the rest
Let me carve it word by word on a single grain of rice
As for the rest
Let me carve it character by character on that strand of hair
As for the rest
I brought the ransom to the agreed upon location
I came at the appointed time

But the kidnapper never showed his face
He’s always so hesitant
I can’t understand this vacillation
I never notified the police
I don’t even know the person he’s holding
I too have been lured by the graceful style of being taken
By this business of being tied up and waiting

Psychic Seductions

Took forever to write back
And used “we” instead of “me”
“We’ve been sleeping around a bit
But it hardly seems a crime
When everyone we know is climbing into bed with everybody else
Becoming good friends in the bargain.”

If we haven’t been exactly seized by inspiration
We’re conscience nonetheless of a certain
Cut-rate terror in those piles of smelly clothes
In the locker room at the gym
Or whiling away the hours at the laundromat
Waiting for the dirty linen
To finish washing

What exactly do critics mean when they say
“More individualized”?
As if I could ever get myself on “The
Find Your Long-Lost Mother Show’’
On cable TV in
Principal I don’t approve of private beaches but
If you’re looking for a good frisson
You can always count on me for a front-row seat
Provided you can walk off and forsake it
For the sake of making it more formalistic
More worthy of saying:

“It’s not meaning I object to
But the meaning of meaning.”
When you open up a coin laundry you have to visualize
The enterprise on the basis of the needs of the general public
Thus encouraging a keen appreciation of those ordinary
But universal forms of suffering and affliction

We rarely mention it
But in the ebb and flow of things
Those psychic seductions we believe in
When the ambience is right
Do in fact happen
In laundromats
Now and then they throw on something classical
Just to muddle through

Those Gloriously Sinful Days of Old

God made the heaven and the earth and on the seventh day
Languid and no longer loving we drifted into the forest
Existence was so brimful after the rain
Porcini were growing in the horse manure
And so we scoured the forest floor in search of more
And when we’d found some we took them home
And washed them off and soaked them till they were soft and tender
And braised them over a gentle flame until the juices ran
And simmered them in butter
Garlic and parsley
Then garnished them with toasted cheese
And slivers of prosciutto

And for a moment the ambience belonged to those gloriously
Sinful days of old psychodramas we sank into like so many sofa
Chairs draped in lacework flower-fringed and yellowed with age
The hodgepodge of scandalously
Perverse eccentricities we tended to keep bottled up
And so we decanted an ’87 Bordeaux a cappella
But then the complicity of this too came to light and we
Fell out of touch but not before we’d taken some portion of
Each other’s eccentricities that serve us now in lieu
Of a tacit understanding