for Robert Bly
Decades ago he cried,
“No more poems about the moon!”
Torn from its branch,
the moon waned for a couple of weeks.
Summer nights, a magnesium-bright
flare troubled his memory.
No wished-on, bottom-of-the-sky, dreamy coin.
No lover’s mercurial suffering.
For years, he drank fifths of hard light
wrapped in brown bags.
Empties crowded the closet.
He staggered moonstruck across the page.
He’s at it again, declaring the stars a loss.
Chicken Little, he’s down on his knees.
He watches the tides trapped in a sidewalk.
He watches sand make a jailbreak to another universe.
He follows a nervous column of ants
along a crack to the next moon.
—from Rattle #20, Winter 2003
Walter Bargen: “The unmatched pair of shoes next to my bed claim a glorious if not infamous lineage. The right shoe claims to belong to General Douglas MacArthur and keeps saying, ‘I shall return,’ as it fades away on dark shores. The left one was worn by Khrushchev and bangs on the worn oak floor, demanding attention. All night I lie awake dealing with international crises and Madonna still won’t speak to me.”