For lack of reason I cherish a plastic flamingo
cousin Kasia hit me with when I was thirteen.
It reminds me of blood soup and brown bread
and a pot of rancid sauerkraut. Never am I lonelier
than sipping instant coffee
at home, walking to the mailbox
and looking into its empty rusting mouth.
My chronicle of life on the dead-end street
is abysmal, circuitous, bound with scrapes and bruises.
In one dream sequence I’m so close to the stage
the accordion player’s bellows blow me over,
his every wave suggests the old country. I see
accordions in the background; their streams of notes
fly above folks who have no good looks,
whose love lives are thrown into impossible polkas.
And there’s my mother coming at me with the broom—
I wish I were dreaming now—to beat admissions out of me
long before she’s dead. I’m blessed. She misses my head.
Reality’s a nightmare leftover: it can make you small,
call you an escapist, a loser, a simpleton, and it never
leaves you as an accident; it will haul you away
to the back lot of the junkyard, or the sludgy pond
where oil slickens your tongue in its poisoned water,
where you can never wash away the gashes that weep.