Cold War

Sounds like the boiler's on again,
Smoking used-up ghosts out of
Last year's dead iron cold,
Rusty blood running again in
Those thick-painted bones,
Cages of ribs as war as yours.

The world is winter-white, even light
Is cold as we rise and stand naked,
Braced against the blare of nothing.

Morning is the same dream as yesterday
With the coats the gloves the door the
Steps, the unsatisfactory kiss and
The walking, back to lonesome back like
Receding duelers who never turn to fire.
I tell you of this and you laugh.

So we trudge today as every day, itchy
Trigger fingers jammed in our pockets;
But this morning I can't stand it and I
Whirl and draw on ten, prepared to fan the
Hammer at your back but stopping, blinking
Surprise. You grin me dead behind
One spent mitten, smile slanted to blow
Breath-smoke from a quicker kindred gun.


Every summer has its songs,
Pointy and polished, or accidental -
Bawdy, or a chorus of rests.

I remember when the humid air held
Inescapable rhythms, and green was a note
Swelling from the roundest earthy Pipe.

I still hum the catchier weather
Though the keys have fled (too high,
too low) and winter rattles like an old pane

With ghost-dogs on the lawn,
Smirking, clever, whistling
Just higher than my ears go

And with you, stretching, stirring,
Singing slow mouths of sunlight in my ear,
Yellowed notes on chords dangling through time.

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