standard schaefer

 

from FORT

 

 

GALVESTON

 

recited the Lord’s prayer and was hired

to the town to take the pledge

to the honky tonk to take exception

in the morning to the fort with the teenage accountants,

with a surplus of munitions

hidden along the sea wall between the tall grass and cattails,

a whiff of brig, a swig of sleep

then bent again like the numbers amid tall hats and coattails

comes awake in the arms of a slot machine

but in the evening, smudged ledgers

and in the morning hedging the machinations

sometimes plagiarism, sometimes smarts

but almost always worth millions in parts

 

 

RED HEADED STRANGER

 

High as a derrick, and sometimes despised, 

the long thigh–more beautiful than a stolen horse, 

but behaving about as well and shallow as a heiress in the middle of a mood

but to hell with love as a dying ember or her face in a well

well, don’t mind if I do, don’t mind at all, 

hope that’ll do ya, but always remember, I don’t mind

 

 

AUGUST 21, 1971

 

Sierra, Tango, Alpha, November

ten pounds inspiration, one inch discipline

I’m a medium but the future looks hollow

around the edges, evaporation

the light shallow and the smell of balloons

the air of inflation won’t make no mind, 

don’t mind at all if it smells like home-cooking and turns out a river, 

each day, progressively more sawed-off

 

 

PINE

 

There is a justice beyond judgment, just past the trees, 

just us and these endless pines, tougher than barbed wire 

or the talk of rights while the rice is served–

a self-made meal–ice and scotch stirred in a sliding glass. 

The crash of the window as he put his fist through. 

The fist darkening the page, the first withdrawn

As if reaching for the salt, but the salt wandering down from his eyes, 

as he reached up for the roll of fifties and hundreds 

kept in the glove box with the golf balls and pajamas, 

but how many shows till he shows 

how many times he falls through that mirror 

the warm rear of the bird when reaching for the egg or lifting the limbs

the luster of the universe coming loose in the use and pulse of language

who can sleep with wind off the concrete

and las estrellas apagadas por el hurac�n.

The eye wandering aimlessly, indefatigably through the pines. 

Back and forth, sliding the glass, to the trees–to be crazy again.

 

 

OCCIDENTAL

 

Freon at last.

“I don’t have the television my se’f. Relations do.”

“We likes it often, but a little at a time.”

preferring a slow and tender swig to the syllabus 

which was Sally followed by Becky, with evenings free

do something free or at least break things

but really only chistes para desorientar la polic�a

allegiance to the agenda, but “just doing my job” 

pretty sure it was the same for Revere, 

said the Occupant who was absente whenever possible

knew full well there was no outside of the test

strictly an older knowledge as veritas simplex oratio est 

but blinded by some flash of new color, 

one black pebble on a calendar

but onward through college and oncology 

learned insects and intellect only sound alike

made a list to eliminate the country and city of your birth, the paint peeling away 

of what was left of Becky waving from the flowers, 

too red to be a cup of light, too stale to be a cut above 

although both described her lips when whistling dixie or reciting her Latin: 

otium cum dignitate, said this girl who liked Coast soap and suggestions, 

counted to three, and snapped the fingers before explaining: 

“There is no leisure without dignity.”