The Longest Time

My mother believes

     that every grief

          recalls, or

at least summons

     the memory of

          every other grief.

And I can’t help but

     think if that

          is so, then

it must also be true

     for joy. Just as

          it must also be

when the seasons turn

     it brings back

          every other season

or maybe just the first.

     As in the first last

          time you ever

experience something.

     I remember hearing

          Billy Joel playing

in the other room

     on the stereo

          while I was in

the other room doing

     something else,

          I forget what

and I ran to

     where the music

          was coming from

thinking it might be

     the last time

          I ever hear that song.

I was only a kid,

     and surprised by

          my mother

with the cassette case

     in her hand,

          and I realized

we could play the song

     any time we wanted.

          Even when it’s not

on the radio,

     you can bring it back

          by rewind or

fast forward,

     to the precise moment

          the song begins.

And not only that, but

     every time you hear the song

          is also every other

time you’ve heard the song.

     Every age you become

          is also every age

you’ve ever been.

     Which is why I feel

          like a child

as the days grow shorter

     and longer

          and I’m rushing

from the other room

     to see everything

          before it passes,

and I forget

     there’s nothing

          to remember.

Already

I’m not used to endings
which is to say
I’m not used to beginning
things at least

I had no say
in the matter
I just arrived
in a manner of speaking

the same way
that things just come
and then they go away
for a time

you can tell
by the way when things
appear already
they are waving.

They Used To Call Them Records

Even as I wish
there were more time
like there used to be
to sit with a record album
and read the lyrics
while the music was playing
I still hold out hope
that I will get around
to bringing down
the records from the attic
and finding a spare shelf
to place them carefully upon
and removing them
from their threadbare sleeves
and lifting the needle
to place upon the circle
a few times because
I never got the hang of
queuing the record up
just at the start
where there’s nothing
but static and potential
and time to put the lyrics
in both of your hands
before they reach
your eyes and ears
and last as long as the silence
at the beginning and the end
and everywhere surrounding them.

Never Permit Relief

I’m the kind of listener
who keeps the radio on
even when it’s talking at me
asking for money I don’t have
just because it takes less effort
not to turn the voices off
and hope in a minute perhaps
they will return to their
regularly scheduled programming.

So Many Words

You keep saying that
not in so many words
but the general idea
irritates my sensibilities
by which I mean
I have heard this before
not in such a manner
but you can’t tell me
that no one hasn’t said
such a thing as this
in quite the same way
for instance at any moment
someone must be saying
exactly the same words as this
at precisely this very moment.

It’s A Living

I’ve been stringing together
so many jobs
that aren’t really jobs
like sleeping in
until an unreasonable hour
and struggling to see
the significance of getting out
of bed or the empty minutes
it takes until the coffee is ready
to say nothing of breakfast
which is always ready
just a few minutes before
I really should be having lunch.