Grade A: Departure

Written in Albuquerque (Mesa SE), December 1999.  The “you” in this poem is me.  I seem to have been seriously thinking about leaving Albuquerque already:  it never happened, but it developed into a real plan during the next year.  Published in my books Too Little to Kill and Wings of the Gray Moon.



Trees are only the color of wood

when you see below the bark,

didn’t you hear me?  The furniture

is skinless.  Anything loud enough

to burst the glass is loud enough

to burst the eardrums.  Short of that

don’t fret:  nothing perceives

without its skin.  If you’ve got nothing

better to do you can persuade yourself

that wall is smiling, twigs are cracks

in the sky & yet the sky keeps whole,

an infinite cup for odd liquids,

the shoes you left by the door

are pointed outside for no other reason

than you wanted to kick the wall

without touching it, your skin only

has on it the smell of the air.

(That one you’re right about:  it smells

  black diesel.  Street.  Departure.)