I share the yard with 7 skunks (I think).
I know they’re polecats, but they’re hard to count.
I see them out at 4 a.m. – they slink
and romp and ticking tails the kits amount
to 5 or 6. They’re cute. They rarely spray,
conserving their repellant for the threat
from dogs too darting eager to give way,
who even after dousing will forget.
I freaked at first and told the skunks to leave,
but as I live here and I learn their ways,
I like them more and more I now believe
my time among the skunks are holidays
compared to other trespassers of late –
it’s raccoon packs and ’possom shit I hate.
Bizarre and perilous seems my routine
today, and I don’t understand the cause
of this foreboding mood. It cannot mean
catastrophe my dog has tender paws,
abraded brow and irritated skin –
the signs are omenless as my garage.
I harbor no significance within;
my apprehension radiates mirage.
I read today of God’s revenge on Saul.
The text requested I believe that seven
sons must hang for him. I find it all
preposterous, to think so ill of heaven:
Another wisdom bound to disappoint.
I think I’ll miss my train and smoke a joint.
The fog against my face is slick and chill,
inspiring me to specify inside
my panoramic plans: my acts of will
and attitude; a deviance; a tide
as tubular and strong as lunacy
creates. An hour blares the fog to haze
while I involved revolve philosophy,
and burn in words to annotate my days.
Then sunlight brazens silver mist to piss.
It thins the air and yellows atmosphere.
The shadows of a sudden form and this
distracts – it interrupts. I pause and hear
inside myself: Attend and make good work
of time. It’s either that or dwell in murk.
The view down Sacramento St. aligns
today. The garbage bins like fences edge
the boundary of yard and street. Designs
of linearity are formed with hedge
and pepper tree, while arrowing ahead
of me recede the blocks of old concrete:
a stream of squares from white to almost-red
appear a tiled path beside the street.
I run an elementary exercise,
and try to witness everything I see.
Attending to perception from my eyes,
I plant the vista into memory.
So full existence is, my portion’s small
but too immense for me to see it all.
The seconds mount to minutes, grow to hours,
becoming days and weeks and months and years.
No creatures of this planet have the powers
to alter time’s progression. Petty fears
and grand ambitions neither speed our clocks
nor slow the reeling of our clues of thread.
We dwell within the bars of tempo. Locks
of time adorn our doors until we’re dead.
We never know how long a life we’ll get,
but each of us is given in a day
four score six thousand seconds plus a bit,
to dream awake, or toss asleep, or play.
We cannot cook our books of time, but I
intend to milk the moments till I die.
I couldn’t use my nose to breathe last night.
I closed my mouth and didn’t get the air
it takes to chew or drink or talk. I might
have borne it better if it weren’t rare
for my big nose to stop entirely,
for ornamental it has never been.
The feature’s broad and always worked for me,
until last night. This head cold’s origin
was sudden Wednesday, with a cough that burned
my chest congested in acute surprise.
It Friday dried my throat, and then I learned
its weight within my bones. My heated eyes
and heavy head prepared me for this phase.
I’m hoping to breathe freely in two days.
Your smile features wrinkles, but your frown
engraves you ugly. Horizontal lines
can be accepted; it’s the up-and-down
that carves a witch. I recognize the signs
of bitterness, perpetual complaint,
and self-referring needy attitude.
Your scowl drags your cheeks, and stripes in faint
apostrophes a lip of foul mood.
I’ve seen your smile make your eyes expand.
It smoothes your skin; it rounds your face; it grows
a corrugated mouth from bitter, bland,
or angry to an arc of glee, and shows
a brand of beauty that took years to form,
exquisite as the love that keeps you warm.