I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
— “Daffodils”, 1804, William Wordsworth
Organ-serrated, frilly flutes the orange monks prefer, pleats’ blonde fringes
Grazing ground, I have allowed the tiny daffodils to stand in water.
Poets know how to be alone: see they don’t become assholes with their gifts of
Self-sufficiency, a loneliness requiring only grief.
Way of folk:
God gives you a great smile, & you use it to get laid, even unto
Old age, tempting Time to un-teach you forever—
Would you miss it?
Mark the death of the clumsy albatross ‘X’, celebrate with pancakes on The Victory,
Sunny country starry-side-up, a single porthole lugging an anvil made
For Space—skyscraper-sized coffin headed for the Milky Way, a city-
Building fallen on its side.
Would the crush bloom with memories? For the first time we hear surprise
& it is deafening. Faces, real, open their mouths.
From the moment I discovered my mistake I drained the soil.
Now they are all looking toward the thin winter sun. They nod.
If laurels my lions could be sunlight, we are not only music, but birds: if birds,
stars: if stars, all the pearls in the sea, every drop of sweat.
A Lucite kiosk.
An invisible trophy.
My calves have not forgotten green rolling hills but never, since flesh
covered bone, has that been my day’s fare.
II Only in California
Will you find in your in-box “Wine Saves Lives.” Only in California would
London Breed challenge parents to turn in their gun-toting kids: “I know it’s not popular
to say.” I have never seen a more veneer-less people, hoping Light will drop
his bangles ‘gain ’round them in an eternal pierce. Who could afford to see such beauty
wasted? I did it again, I left all the little flowers out in the cold, ditty
mind-erased. Petals: rasping pods, flames dryly twisting.
My beautiful father, of the great blue eyes & sea-platinum’d curls who married my Indian mother,
wrote letters from a Sacramento prison, promising a Hobbit-land of Redwoods, speaking
inexplicably intimately, about adjusting temperature in showers there, —& even as a child up on a roof
I questioned the veracity of it,
prison presenting a barracks of confinement sans even that simple luxury.
Hot, cold. How he derived pleasure moving between the two, his only spectrum
for the lost analyses of love. Upon meeting as adults almost the first thing he made clear
was he couldn’t love us like his step-kids: he hadn’t been around us.
What a gruff, shy boy, though, near to us. Sitting ruler-straight wildman of the Volkswagen van.
Of course it was yellow, or blue. We went to the San Diego Zoo. I sit on his hip.
We are conjoined at the torso, wedded at the waist, a guitar in smoke of morning.
And we will never be anything else again, pointing: no days to repeat, no football on the beach,
child’s hands & man’s. Crabs in surf. They met guns with flowers in those days, threading barrels
at airports’ smiles. Who passes, who fails, in the thunder of applause rolling up in machine-
volume, when it’s our life the lights come down on, our minds the lone occupant
in the theater. California, New York. Sunflowers, Gentians. Big & blue. Big & golden.
These tiny daffodils speak from another time & place. Their clouds are more gentle,
options fewer, & more limitless.
Sign for Rain Two-dozen Wind-shield Wipers in Unison
Wedded now, the aisles too, of black, white, the red & the brown, purple & yellow—
lappings’-interlap. The black clover, the white sword, red rainbow, brown earth,
Treed & sunny with violets. The stranger’s face. You broke down all the walls of my refusal
of metaphor & let in daily life. Two things hurt me. The amphitheater of the ocean mused belly-up.
And I saw the end, finally.
No crystal for focus. And it was: dame daffodils: superabundance.
More particles in the dirt than your little mind can wrap around. Who murders these
murders their own joy. There is no light in the upturned & laughing. Dark pools are your eyes
& the new-planted trees in stints wait by the washing marble, hovering between falls
& death, severed, oh my busy postcard, oh my configuration of heaven, America.
There’s a Zulily ad next to this text as I type, a coat for the Highlands with an invisible dancer
animating hunter’s-color, still. Maid Marion might have worn its cowl-neck lined in python,
or is it fur, pixels deliberately vague. I claim now my childhood’s invention, which makes obsolete
climatic sales: in fjords you’ll see people bopping in Bermudas, phone-booth-inspired Person-L
Force-field temperature-controlled! Talk about the dawn of personal adornment :). We will
make green rolling hills over cities’ structures, & the great bee deliver honey of civilization.
Battle-wear: cornucopia garlands, weapons: tongues. Soon, we will sing, & densified, dance—
then flit as flame, camouflage of heat bending above roads, their arterial race somewhere preserved.
Rectangles may merge. Many construct cathedrals & wear there the suit that allows
no harm, a garment as if made by Grace. —Then we will be free to walk the Earth
in the seriously outrageous grief the day demands, spray-painted in Lapis, hair to the ground.
Our feet are our own hover craft. The immeasurable extinctions live with us. We have
an archive, & it is possible to float up its walls & enter time—you yourself sit here now, there.
Is it everything you dreamed? Beloved hand, Golden Bridge, brimming harbor, arm in arm.
The last flute opened so slowly we slept. Pollen-colored frill stiff as the first circular-
saw tubas right in the pit, ear to the foghorn.
Photo of daffodils in vase by Jurga Jot, courtesy Shutterstock.