It was the year they reincarnated Billy the Kid and the Sox
Won the Series again. I don’t know what they call it- forgetting
You know someone, forgetting their face, their eyes, their name.
It would’ve made the news, had I remembered to call home,
Just once. At first all the second comings made me squeamish,
My mind takes as long to settle as an old house, with rickety
Floorboards, with the slow rattle of a radiator against the rickety
Walls. That winter was so cold and the heat so poor we always wore sox.
The damn cold kept the meat frozen & now thawed, almost squeamish.
Same year they unearthed father’s uniform and reburied it, forgetting
To mark the mound. A piece of sandpaper to scuff the ball, home
Plate more of a concept than a target. Really, of all the pitches to name
It was the wild curveball I recall, the one I remember like my name.
I remember the snap, some distant echoing cry, a stretcher, the rickety
Ford, an aging country doctor. And for all that barely the scent of home
To welcome me back. That wasn’t the year I saw you bare, ‘cept for sox,
Creeping out of your bedroom as I lay on your brother’s sofa forgetting
The ‘whys’ and ‘what-fors’ that brought me there, you weren’t squeamish
There in the kitchen making breakfast, buck naked. I was squeamish,
Barely just a boy. That was then. It isn’t for lack of trying I forgot the name
You gave me. I’m surprised I remember any of it. Funny thing, forgetting,
Because I always held your words so dear, like the rudder of a rickety
Sailboat, skirting the boulders beneath cliffside shadows. Darning sox
Is how I imagine you now. Domesticated, despite the lack of a true home.
Now, cursed as I am – alien, stranger, drifter, not even knowing home. Home.
All my efforts to piece it back together in fragment, ethereal, even squeamish
at the thought of what it once was. Broken. Like the Bambino and the Sox,
Betrayals bequeath a legacy of defeat. Is there anyone here who can name
The anguish of a young boy who watched you disappear down the rickety
Steps of your brother’s cottage, left alone and somehow always forgetting
Where home was, or where it is. Forgetting its meaning, its heart. Forgetting
The smell of pie in the oven, or of the perfume you wore. And finding home
Again – the warm embrace of friends and lovers, the front door and rickety
Coat rack where your scarves hung like monster tentacles in my squeamish
Imagination. Let me be a reminder and somehow I’ll remember your name
And mine, the elegant curve of your calves clothed only in tight green sox
Those long knee-high sox, so often the cause of my forgetting.
He was only Billy the Kid in name, the real outlaw stayed home
quivering & squeamish, between her thighs, in bed, soft and rickety.
Side-stepping shadow-boxers with glassy intentions,
Into a waft of fumes that are no longer elegant,
Only to emerge, gun-shy, within a cat litter mine
Blown out over the two-tone linoleum. A sandstorm
Carpeting the bordering streets of a village oasis.
Fluorescent light obliterating each and every shadow.
“It’d take a nut-butter taxi,” said one obliterated shadow,
“To relax thee.” Surely misheard, though the intentions
Intoned clearly evoked the miscalculating oasis
– or was it miscalculated? Lost in these tapestries. Elegant,
intricately measured designs, then covered in sandstorm.
The external, all of it, (bird song, heartbeat, helicopter) mine.
Withholding opinions in the cloud of skin-flakes, all mine.
Blustering about the sunbeams lost to return in shadow.
Watched ‘em climb dunes to picnic just after the sandstorm.
Waiting. Impatient. Forever dancing around their intentions.
And there we were – knee-deep, greasy, and elegant.
Our crescendoed laughter shattering mirage and oasis.
With her stunning arrival we need loiter no longer at the oasis,
But found it challenging to extract ourselves, to mine
The cruxes from memories raw, to shape and fire elegant
Miniature echoes, pencil scratches against shadow.
She turns and we follow, phonies, raw with intentions
Blasting out and shuddering nothing within this sandstorm.
You cannot reshape me inside of this pedestrian sandstorm,
But if on occasion my travelling companion and I reach the oasis,
Please mow the lawn and inform your children of our intentions,
If you can guess. Even my fellow’s are obscured to me & mine
Shift and flicker in the darkness, casting an elongated shadow
Through these North African streets glittering, star-lit and elegant.
She spit spumes of mint tea into the bird-bath, once an elegant
Ornament, a bleached target to fix upon from within the sandstorm.
Donate just a moment to this silhouette of shade trees and shadow
One moment, beyond the daily tickity-tock, and find in this oasis
A dream, a breath, a concave mirror for the ten-thousand intentions
Held tight, given names to define always what is suppose to be mine.
So barked and banged intentions, oh, oh you elegant
Whores, bankrupt and broken. Mine is yours in the sandstorm,
In the mirage, the oasis. So come, sit with me, within shadow.
Early in the morning a radio breaks the night’s silence “Last night I dreamed
I was a child out where the pines grow tall…” Early. 4:32 a.m. The darkness
Of night tinted in the greenish blue of the alarm clock light. Clocks. Cocks.
The dying rooster in the Zona Maya, coughing it’s daybreak alarm, always
Two hours premature, I inevitably laughed, it resounded drunk and earnest,
And with no more hen-houses to invade, it lived to torment the conquistadors.
As you get out of bed do this – sing your song, sing a song of ruthless conquistadors
Spreading a plague, sing of toothbrush and toiletries, sing the dream you dreamed.
And afterward as you greet the sun, oh hallowed burning sphere, laugh in earnest.
How did the torchbearers occupy themselves in the hours before the darkness?
With song of course, blathered or chirped, soothing yet cautious, always
Deep in the pocket of an unwritten groove. Observe the iron weather-vane cocks
Spinning in the dawn wind. Squeaky, grinding, cast iron replacing ancient cocks
Crow, hardwired to our biology over thousands of years. Farmers, kings, conquistadors,
All woken by the proud foul. In your primal brain, woven, programed, always.
In sleep comes the home invasions, now I must even shut the cat door. I’ve dreamed
Of landscapes and implausible choreographies, someone needs to chide the darkness,
It’s become too full of itself, but then again who can blame a repository? Earnest
Dreams. Awake the vivid images twist in some surreal landscape. I fall back to earnest
sleep – or somewhere in-between. Dawn light through the blinds. What is it about cocks?
Half asleep, half awake, mind still in the dream place and I stiff as a pine. Off in darkness
A man crouches, blowing on sparks in a bird’s nest of bark shavings. Lost conquistadors
May soon upon him stumble, one kicks a pebble into a puddle or have you dreamed
That tiny splash that now echoes from the hotel bathroom, a faucet drip can always
Keep me up at night. I always search for the pattern. The Morse Code echoing, always
In every hotel, motel bathroom into the dreams of travelers. A message, subtle, earnest,
Through pipes and plumbing, sings softly, “Wake! See the world around you!” I dreamed
Less once I reached the cenote. I swam among the shards and bones. The cocks
Fighting behind the palapa were ownerless, there were no modern conquistadors
Tossing pesos on the dirt. The souvenir pyramid, visible on nightstand despite darkness,
Reflecting the rays of light breaking through the blinds, but within it a perfect darkness.
Darkness deep within its heart and in the few seconds of real of twilight, always,
For as long as I could remember – the echoing, horrified screams of conquistadors.
How many times have you met your oppressor, legs akimbo, arms spread wide, earnest
Smile? The light stabs the bulletholes in this allegory. The invaders and their cocks
Stab brown-skinned Eves, in Edens so golden it’s all you’ve ever dreamed.
A limestone bed so porous that we dreamed – dreamed of numbers and darkness
Like scared children holding our cocks, cowering and alert. Always
The sacrifices made in earnest, turn gold into lead for conquistadors.
by Jeffrey Enright and Laurence Lillvik
Take eight Gallons of Ale; take a Cock and boil him well; then take four pounds of Raisins of the Sun well stoned, two or three Nutmegs, three or four flakes of Mace, half a pound of Dates; beat these all in a Mortar, and put to them two quarts of the best Sack; and when the Ale hath done working, put these in, and stop it close six or seven days, and then bottle it, and a month after you may drink it.