o, saucy brain, you poor delighted thing

i feel the cold, why, whirl in the gate
dance the wheels around and spittle outright
scorched earth, fought over that same grainy spot
just in case the meadows flow, golden
down where the lawn birds sing.

drifting awkward, feel those sailwinds heave
catch the brief scent; curlicues on the horizon
feathered spice of Kublai Khan
burnt and tangled together, with rime and fever.
grating soft cheese in the morningtime.

dallying, you whistle at the corner, hearing,
i suppose, the chittering of squirrels overhead.
not that i’m jealous. i’d do the same, if i could.
darling, you whittle at the stormer, heaving.
cold comfort in the daze that follows.

if there was ever a time to be lounging,
playing at shuffleboard–this isn’t it.
in spite of the frenzied stirring in my toes,
the weathercock’s still blowing nor’nor’easter.
it’s hard not to hear the doom in that air.

so, i’m playacting at crosswords, pen-handed,
scribbling curlicues and ancient norse runes
(i never was one for collaring in the lines)
trying to look focused, watching that sweat
sting smoke as it drops onto my glasses.

speaking of, they’re almost a pock-marked ruin.
i lurk among those deeper vision tropes,
try not to let the metaphors overwhelm.
even the cheese in my sandwich–provolone–
wants to be laced with heavy, pregnant meaning.

still, there’ll be a time for the cheese yet.
a lonesome, to be sure. you snicker?
rightly so. the first one to give in–
wheeling out the big guns, posthaste–
only feels the slightest pangs. quite right.

eventually, we’ll tire of this game,
pull pinatas out of the cheat grass
and straggle home with arms full of toys.
only once, when the tugboat went missing,
did i ever wish the skies had darkened later.

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