Sunday, July 1, 2007

Jeff Crouch


hearse vowels like seed capable yet of bloom
croaking frogs from the last rain
pouring the machine song from a tin cup
the odd must, her wound, the earth

helicopter curfew enforced, but we’re not in Venice
this birth and the barn flies moustache in a hard sweat
the doctor says pass the biscuits, puckered up
her lip, the crown, crowns, humble or not, this is a hand

her hand, on the serving tray, a large trout, the reeds
she likes elaborate cheese, for peace and quiet
we bought out, in a land of dark violence
the hospital bombed, no room for the wounded

not since she died years ago, repeat the mantra
did you take your pill? a baby tooth pokes free
the helicopter whirling, watch your diet, the recording
is too much French horn, I knew you would

in a painted corner of the wreck, the civilization
hulks, a baby tries to reach, and violins drone
this music and the drip of drug or milk
honey to nurse the infant, the call to wake up

Cruel Practice

You are not to talk about the Tower of Babel
Where everything rational sunk
In the quagmire called the Cruel Practice
My instant of happiness become a black sail
I am Theseus, my father dead now
I call a 1-800 number for counsel
It’s a pimp, who claims to be an Egyptian

I’m no Moses leading my people to a promised land
I want no more of your races
In the chase where Ishmael spins
And to make a martyr of Isaac almost again

There is no angel of my deliverance
I escaped the Minotaur,
But I’m pretty much in hell
With Count Ugolino, and no cash for my friends

On the ziggurat, you tell me, don't fear looking foolish
I will be like Noah and his ark
But you dare me to do it, and I steal another scrap
From the wreck of the Titanic

They say the junkman has returned, and we owe him
Because he owns Moby Dick
But it’s our rocket, but you say, “Prove it!”
Prove what? Procrustes.

You are not to talk about the Tower of Babel
Where everything rational sunk
In the quagmire called the Cruel Practice

I sleep atop this ziggurat and count the stars
Wondering about the silence
On a planet, no language avers

speak her

maimed, her ears sticky
with the pliers that caught your tongue
the music you feel
to join the name

with beach
your own wet belonging
to her, edge sharp sand
unfolding, the hook

she’s everywhere a hill, a valley
a smudge
flowing in code, cutting the wave
alien society of shell

you beat your hand against shore
squirt text on the table, four triple A batteries
the whisper
run your finger down the wrinkle

a scent without rain
a hole in the story
lips to the conch blowing
wind out of wrinkle


Laughter teeters on nothing.
The verge soft, then strongly lined.
The tower ragged, the drawers full of baggage,
The baggage full of rags,
The rags nasty with urine and sweat and grime.
The blonde—
Her weight all on one hip.
Swollen, with a trowel, re-working the tile.
Clean, what is? Clean. Disinfectants.
The overflowing toilet stuffed with notes about a movie you
The blonde teeters on her own skin.
This skin, you think about treason.
You try to find a pencil.
Paper towel.
One streak of lipstick.
Nylon, black. Water, dark, damp.
Little to no make-up. Except lipstick. The floor.
New grout, but slippery—you wonder.
Laughter teeters on nothing.
You watch her smile. She turns.
With her hand on her hip.
The verge soft, then strongly lined.
A mop. Wet. Damp.
Hair. Damp.
Strong odor. Must. You make a note

*previously published in P.F.S. Post - Jan. ‘07

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