Mr. Rogers kills fruit flies
This is not the set with the trolley.
This is not Brockett’s Bakery
or Trow’s Workshop or Negri’s Music.
These flies malinger in my kitchen
squatting on my mangoes and my pears.
I should have thrown out those bananas
when they leathered, but I always believed
that everything has a use, even if overripe.
And all beings should have a right to live
in their essence, unobtrusively.
But these fruit flies are unclean:
they rust the wheels, they push kids
in line and extort quarters, they falsify
their usefulness for consuming decay.
I cannot discuss them away with delicacy,
especially as I speak into the glass lens.
I spin a paper into a funnel:
wide as sky at the top, narrow as necessity
near the bottom. I pour pinot noir
into the jar, set the thin trumpet in to fit
tight at the rim. Once the creatures
venture to the sweet smell
they will be captured, scrambling
on the glass looking out at more
ripe pears I have set in the bowl.
I think I hear them arguing. They are still alive.
It’s such a good feeling. I say this every day
from the other side. I am late for the studio.
At least the earl greywarms me.
I leave as small regrets swim
Sunset through the wires
I have taken pictures of the sanguine
descent of the sun behind Mt Jupiter and Mt Constance
from my back deck in blue-collar Renton. Not only
do the Olympics shrink and the novels of blood-cloud
thin to excerpts, but seven electrical wires bisect the frame.
When I am standing there at 9:30 with my wife,
the dew falling out the air with faint winds,
bare soles on the cooling wood, we can
imagine it without impediments, without
the five trucks on the lawn across the street,
without the tin glow of Benson Center.
We can imagine away many things.
We live in continual imagining,
either that horrors do not exist
because they do not cut us,
or that we are so lucky to actually
own a home we spend 5/7ths of our lives
working to afford. But more conveniently,
we can be content with the canvas before us
by editing it on the way from the optic chiasma
to the visual cortex to the cerebrum to the reward
and satiety centers. We choose, ignore, wash, reflect
any number of actual details. We have different
methods of dealing with discontent. I vow
to fix and clean and dispose and finish.
My wife plans whole new houses in France,
designs campervans with solar powered escape buttons.
But there are still black scars, children starving,
corporations and memes selling our peace
back to ourselves with interest, the peace
we were born with and have always had,
in and through our light. And if my wife
stands close enough I can feel her and can
frame it all: bile, arsenic, lies, compassion,
forgiveness, grace. And I can still breathe
in her neck and shudder and hold
and breathe again.
The green carabiner that has hooked my keys
to my beltloop for 10 years finally stops
springing closed, so it keeps clanking to the ground
in the gym, in the hospital hallway.
This metal oval has allowed entry into vehicles
and passages, through nursing school, my wedding
and almost separation, the birth of my child,
through a move to California and back.
I am reluctant to erase it: the dim green tableau
of worn rings and unhinged joints, a fist
of poor dialogue and dark laughtracks, now useless.
I finally switch it for a shiny tangerine one,
supple and disconnected to reruns. It frightens me
to know what the orange era will bring.
I’ll try to keep the soundtrack silent,
the doors clear as mourning.
(Visit him on ferrypoetry.com)