January 11, 2011

Tom Myers

WE ARE THE WEATHER TOURISTS

We keep old cars in the yard
without wheels or windows
like empty turtle shells in a row.

We fill an old rowboat with grain
every morning around eleven
and let the cows have at it.

We say we’re good
with plants, but we’re not,
and in the fields, we stop and wonder

about what we might have in common
with the wolves we hear at night, or
with the men we’ve met who hunt them.

We even wonder what we have
in common with each other,
and why we ever moved out here.

We don’t know our neighbors,
and when we run out of sugar
we take the truck into town.

Sometimes we lose our donkey,
then find him again, grazing
by the barn, useless as ever.

We give ourselves these false names
time to time, like: the wild farmers,
the hillbilly artists—now we go by

the weather tourists. Every day
we sit in a field, and with bits of chalk
draw the clouds on bits of cardboard.

Every night we stay inside the house,
writing notes on the backs of tiny mirrors,
then telling the story of the black-nosed Buddha,

a story about a nun and her gold statue,
about smoke and selfishness,

a story we all know, a story we all tell,
a story about wanting, but not bad enough.

from Rattle #33, Summer 2010

__________

Tom Myers: “I wrote this poem while staying in a cabin in North Dakota. There was a coat and a wood stove, a tree outside and no one for miles. It was January. Between writing each line, I was jumping around and doing some kind of dance—partly to stay alive, but mostly because that’s how I get when I’m writing.”