Winner of the 1999 Levis Poetry Prize
selected by Michael Ryan
Someone inside says, “Get busy.”
But I’ve got appointments to keep,
I have an abstemious love of equations calculated quickly
While the tepid day melts into design.
And the high cheekbones of the beautiful life
Bear the loose look of a calendar by lamplight.
I search for patterns in everything.
I am tied in knots of comprehension.
I think, how useful it might be
To pierce all the hands of the earth
With an oath of pins encircling snarling planets.
But talent and shallowness sewn together
Is nothing but a kerchief tied around a survivalist’s head,
And it helps to know the feet wriggling through a hole
In the universe will land for an instant
Upon the cushions of the dark,
And that after marching one doozy of a kilometer after another,
We each come upon the same poem scribbled in invisible ink
Taped to the door of a room
In which an austere justice is burning for us.