Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tom Beckett and Jonathan Mayhew, "Hurricane Season"


The cop sweeping glass
from the street.
What has happened here?

It's the high acrid smell
that makes one
forget where one is.

I feel very bitter about that,
actually. Bitter and resentful.
I'm taking a battery of tests
tomorrow. To see what ails me.

Only to circle a block
before entering an office
where one wonders, the Good
Doctor prompting, whether
a block fits in a hole.

That corrosive,
substance stuck to your heel.
Wipe off before entering.

(An inadvertent dance
at the threshold
of a laboratory and the street.)

Should I think today
or feel?
If you gotta ask...

then I just ain't prepared
for feeling or thought, or
intimidations of mortality,

or for the tact of the bully:
his refusal to beat on Sundays,
his scruples and niceties.
His redundancies and scowls.


You gotta believe, doncha?,
that every got-damn thing
happens for a reason.

We used to have beliefs,
now we have "belief systems,"
but is this an improvement?
Hell no!!

Improvement, schimprovement!
"Underneath the pavement--
the beach!"

The "sad commentary on our times,"
the "alternating current"--
these are not what you think.
Don't stick your hand into that.

is what I think. Would you
watch where you're walking?

Look, I want to buy some dress shirts,
strike out the side.
Is that the proper tone to take?

Dunno. But take it from me:
I'll swing at anything
that looks like high heat.

That’s why there’s nothing in the freezer
but chicken livers.
You never saw a black cow.
How come your leather jacket

…pleather? Oh, I see,
you were answering
your own question. Clever.


Against the grain.
A thousand fonts at your disposal.
The dullest one is always the proper choice.

Dwell too long
on the proper
and you will
come a cropper.

Not the dwelling, though,
but the to and fro.
"Feel free to come and go,
but not to stay."

(All refrains it's plain
are mainly in disdain…
My gorge, you've got it.)

What could be lamer
than that disclaimer?
A rhyme in time
saves eleven.

We could
talk about the weather.
Is it ever
going to stop?

The growl in my stomach says no—
an appetite for storms and

Stirred, shaken,
but split between the elements,
by an air guitar.