ABRAHAM LINCOLN PLAYGROUND
The wisdom –the smoke
licking out of the dark belly,
and seas whose markers slump –
It rejects and employs, suffering through
the turbid upturned graveyard.
Heaven sent apples.
We burned an old car in that part of town.
Luxury is more ornery I suppose.
Danny left through a gate in my hand,
falling love with a stranger’s cat.
I suppose getting rich is out, we said.
That man in the lightning might pull his face off
with a razor and slink back into white.
But that’s fool’s gold, the swift regal schist,
burrowing like an upturned candle
returning its name. Can I now die
so I can have a new moniker? Place weapons
of place in my hands. In fields, a grass blade,
in sofas, a cat on the remote control.
These are the hands, these are the people.
We agreed nighttime was out, and fornication.
A giant seabird perched on the world, a crimson throat.
That little ditty about the swimming vessel of our youth
was acceptable, as were table settings and lawn globes.
We would wear each other’s clothes, but no others.
Ripening them with our juices and axioms.
He whose chorus would be his horse.
What would the neighbors say anyway
to our tousled hair. And maybe a frigate bird
ate my brainstem, who knows.
Careful what you say.
I keep my words moving,
ground between tooth and reframed question.
How many words at your access today—
Are they like two lighthouses
Calling to each other across the bay,
Purling elongated to make sailboats tinkle
As they pass unseen?
And what malodorous danger
sets its sights on you,
Hooting and hollering on two jetskis?
I dig a hole in the beach
Until I reach inner water. Into it
I say Rules are meant to be broken,
And then bury that place like I’d bury
My favorite recipe.
I might forget its location
in the zillion grain star chart,
and that would be better;
I couldn’t bring you back there.
from HEARD ANIMAL
The cormorant dipped sea. Wind into shoal of sky.
Sand barks along the sea’s perimeter,
stabbing the old giant goofball, thieving from edges.
I paint my own face on my fist.
It is a poem. I feed it sand,
hold it up and shake its head
at all the powerboats gassing up the gulf.
It coughs. It says a man should not write—
he should rove with animals in his eyes,
rarely speak of them or take them in hand
and say Dang, can you see this? This is it.
See the yellow under those wings? A speculum.
I can’t explain. I make charts of storks,
where they land, how many,
which propels further charts on consumption
of vegetation in such above said storkic areas.
I will leave through the wildest grasses
in your line of sight,
come back bearded and tell you of a kinder place.
You will bring your people there. They will
build on it. We will hate its guts.
My word, Conch.
If it were up to you
would we take risks?
You spiral white
under thousands of years of blue weather
and gold forecasts. Conch,
insistent and quiet, I still love you.
You are who you are,
too old to be solvable by crowds.
How many cars drive
down your beach at night? How many slow
when they hit the waves but keep going.
Have we a record of such erasure?
We keep track of other things:
this is Conch, from Mexico.
The record of what’s missing
in the presence of what’s here.
Coral is blasted out of the swimmers way
where sea and sky meet
and waves are their stitches.
By rusting cannons,
the bartender smokes and waits
for a morning of French
and Italian women, their fuschia sarongs,
cempasuchitl flowers singing from
behind their ears.
Even so, it is still right
behind things, way out in the code
where an array of doubles
waits for word from you Conch,
to take over
each mote’s wobble
through the straits of becoming,
each molecule’s dark flit
and bright stumble.
O this. This is just.
Just this is. My word.
Vincent Zompa lives in Queens, New York. He is the author of the chapbooks Jacket of The Straits (New Michigan Press 2007), The Recife Plectrum (Dusie 2010), and Moonraker (Dusie 2012).