Notes for the photographer

Don’t push too hard for fidelity
because looking at a photograph
you really have no idea
what it felt like to be standing
just this side of that sky,
feet in the mud, those foot-sized
bricks framing your heart.

Avoid the light in polar places
and try to catch the drip, drip, drip
of reality disappearing just off-camera,
those eyes aged into history
while no one was looking.

When you dip roses, even roses
into the frail cold of liquid nitrogen,
“J’accuse!” they shout.
“M’amuse!” we shout back,
sometimes in anguish, sometimes despair,
as they lie shattered around us.

Coffee

I sit at a table riddled with worm holes,
As manufactured as the chained and slashed
Surface on which I write, burn marks
Sealed in polyurethane gloss, all for

A borrowed twilight, an impermanence
Enshrined for eternity, or as near it
As artifice can come, fuzz-box guitar
Scratching through the conditioned air.

Outside, the latest mercury vapor lamps
Dressed up gassy, the rhythmic flicker
Punctuating the entrance, everywhere
Authenticity for sale, at a premium.

I examine my coffee, dubiously.