The Author


"All these lists are so much dirty laundry."
James Schuyler *


(1)

I've written everything

I've written that no pens will write but mine, your silence is my word

I've written the rules; each begins with Why Not; each begins with You Better

I've written these windows and doors; walls, floors and ceilings are my words

I've written your most open smile on a stone tablet; we will obey it now as the deepest and truest commandment

I've written the names of your children, but each will be called Little Kid for a while

I've written precarious names for the parts of your body, names no one will ever use because they just don't sound like themselves

I've written on the impossible surfaces of glass eyes, deer spit, broken bottles, and steam

I've written jealousy on the soles of your shoes and you have gone running into the night screaming like a crazy person, not angry but certainly mad; my writing runs into the leaves and gutters, flows onto the black dirt and over cigarette butts at the curb

I've written the curb, its bend and its straight

 

(2)

I've written paper and plastic and this shiny stuff that looks like tin foil but isn't

I've written feathers and buttons and old gum wrappers, those there in the corner right now

I've written the last words anyone will ever speak and have put them in a blind man's pocket

I've written a small box of chocolate into every script

I've written dark hair and blond hair and rare red hair that becomes a strange bird just at sunset

I've written the death of television on a warm night not unlike tonight; no one cares; there is no corpse

I've written gasoline allegories, cardboard fables, myths of cotton

I've written your anger and the anger of your friend - you will never be able to forgive because I have written it

I've written weather and four stingy demons whose fingers drip careful words onto your lips

I've written colleges and universities, mistaking them for football games, pre-school pageants, the raspy breath of old men

 

(3)

I've written moons over Miami and Joliet; they each have a name, but it's a bloody secret embarrassing name

I've written voices in the hall; in a minute we will hear screaming, and then nothing for a long time

I've written the way your mind works when you are so busy and so worried and so full of pizza that you think you might just puke

I've written my nose and my toes, my thin lips and tongue; I've written yours in the rain

I've written the sky full of blue nothing and birds that hum old songs by U-2, the ones everyone else has forgotten

I've written the edges of this desk and of every desk I have ever known; I've written everything that falls to the floor

I've written your sadness, your fingers, your tiny red spots

I've written a song that goes "Oh baby, the morning torments your papa's bad mind with a thousand stupid questions"

I've written the beeps of a digital watch; they engrave tiny silver monograms on each second of my famous career

I've written the last two thousand sighs of the Lord Creator of Earth

 

(4)

I've written stop signs and placed them in everyone's heart

I've written trees and elephants, the ghosts of old books, farmers in their fields

I've written the ocean and seen it weep as it was read

I've written countless messages to dead people; they have always written back; their letters tumble from the sky

I've written catatonic romance by the side of a blood-red pool; the lovers dangle toes and fingers over the side; they forget about their jobs at the furniture factory

I've written from the bottom of the stairs back up to the giants

I've written love letters in maple syrup; bees and ants leap to my love

I've written libraries of religious science and scientific religion from the outside in

I've written the blasted skies of Bosnia, the wilted trees of Nepal, the vomitous earth of America

I've written ten volumes of rare slander, buried them in your basement

 

(5)

I've written the gods and goddesses of Injury; their pain sparkles on the back of my bald head in tiny beads of sweat

I've written willows and oaks, apples and pomegranates, Kentucky bluegrass and the anonymous ubiquitous lawn

I've written the instruction manuals, all of them, even the one Ashbery meant to write *

I've written hungry children with eyes full of light; I have written the obscenity of Beauty spelled out in vacuous Evil

I've written soft edges against your bruises, tough walls against your breath

I've written gazes into the blindness of old dogs, eyes like broken fingers that will never appreciate all that we have done for them

I've written your elbows and teeth, the roll of fat when you sit, the ache in your heel when you stand

I've written Hopelessness, a play in three acts with no villain.

I've written a house made of fire, a wagon rolling from ocean to ocean, the national debt

I've written foggy mornings with no coffee, no toast, and only the vaguest sense of direction; listen to those cars in the distance

 

 

(6)

I've written fathers and sons, and sons who would never choose to be their own fathers

I've written daughters like stones at the base of Mother's statue, a fountain of tears and recipes

I've written the saddest of broken balloons limp as a forgotten houseplant; there is no wind, no one passes by

I've written my name over and over again in my sleep

I've written the dream that arrested you in the corner of your mirror

I've written keys into locks, fingers into noses, knives into the cool hearts of avocados

I've written talking and talking and talking until every voice turned into my own and every idea fit my pocket

I've written weary days full of complaints and phone calls, full of regrets and recriminations and tired feet, too much money never enough

I've written blue stones in the riverbed, red stones on the mountainside

I've written yellow windows all over town

 

(7)

I've written all the ugly sentences, such as: "The Ghosts of Parsimony drift above us like precious, feeble suspicions"

I've written the answer to life's deepest question; I have boiled it in a tiny aluminum pot and salted it lightly; I have eaten quickly, and it has passed

I've written exercises for chubby monkeys; they stand long hours until the fat oozes from their toes; they whisper whisper whisper until the fat howls

I've written hilarious orgies and sold them to lonely toll booth attendants

I've written caresses and ablutions

I've written the lens of a camera open before screwed up lives

I've written the music inside a museum of stolen facts; it nudges your bones when you finally figure something out

I've written gremlins and poltergeists, a thousand bad movies, two or three novels that end in suicide and laughter

I've written the phone numbers you've forgotten every day since you started this job; just ask and I'll give them to you

I've written the public lives of elevators in crayon under white shelves - up and down - their secret lives in every other dream

 

(8)

I've written heresy and hopped-up sermons

I've written terrible lies that no one will ever doubt

I've written several golden eggs and willed them to my nonexistent grandchildren, Jimmy, Sylvia, and Al

I've written collapsible poetry that fits snugly between your teeth and springs from your lips at dinnertime

I've written hard eternities, soft seconds and the funniest lost time in airplanes; I did all my drinking there

I've written warrants for the arrest of Siskel and Ebert

I've written my cat's blank stare

I've written the palpable alphabet of children sinking into the cryptic harmony of evening

I've written piano solos quick and sullen, fingers relentlessly flicking off death death death death death

I've written the juice of fallen fruit as it seeps into the expectant earth

 

(9)

I've written mantras for old dogs in dangerous days

I've written programs for the systematic elimination of obscure poetry

I've written maps to get you out of this predicament, but she will never forgive you

I've written brassy rancor into the hearts of nations and peoples; strike up the band

I've written dirges and obscene haiku

I've written blood like old chili, old viral conversation, old lemon breath

I've written spiritual and technical confusion; it came to you last night when the radio sputtered; you thought it was God, but it was only my pen; you lay down on your blue bed and shook like a sonuvabitch

I've written homosexual champions working stupid day jobs, rushing home to tubs of melancholy apples

I've written acne and bad breath

I've written orchestras who play with no rehearsals, no conductor, with the thin resolve of ladies knitting useless mittens

 

(10)

I've written gorgeous piles of money falling through ventilator shafts *

I've written the exercise books, the marriage manuals, the trees in our backyard

I've written movies for insomniacs and cops

I've written the contents of your stomach and given them names no self-respecting writer should ever use

I've written horses and ridden them out onto fields where boys forget how to play baseball over and over again

I've written scars under your carpets and tiny blisters above bookstores

I've written the sad white song of a very old man

I've written true love's opening question: "No, who do you say I am?"

I've written a cough, a shiver, a tiny twitch, an itch

I've written The Art of Must Not, of How Come, of Well, O.K.

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