Captive Pattern

Probably many someones forgave
my hometown king of used cars

his seasonal commercials.
His chained tiger grown seven years

older every summer.
I never did. And the others—

just this forgetting.
Have a Good Life, Baby.


I’m losing the game I play
that begins before dark.

How far can I run counting
scrub pines to prime numbers

before roadside forests net lights
the way tigers are netted,

before I can’t see
the road leading home.


Nightfall was always the feeling
that came from saying nightfall.


• • •


In a shop near a church
            in the center of the city

I blinded myself.

            I held a penlight
to my left eye.

            I always craved

the red drape I could make
            shining lamps through skin.

I pressed its switch—

            click—it unzipped
a spring-loaded blade from within

            its heart. Haven’t you ever

reached for light and reached
            instead the end,

a bright bayonet?

• • •

Vox Fidelis

What god I loved I loved only for a time.
                                                                        Suppose again.

Suppose at the end of all this were lamps. A gold room
winter readied between trains and the road.

And if we were obliged to abide by decisions made in our dreams—what then?

                                                                        trouble when the sun sinks?
trouble made snow-bright? trouble in a Brooklyn bigger than our minds?

Faith was never easy—so I never had any

                                                                        but I can see rupture seam to scar
                                                                        and call it plenty.

If snowdrifts build by morning I’ll begin a new flirtation
with the ordinary world.