What bleak beauty to this place, like tramps chewing
onions open-mouthed in a field of rye. Already you see
the timber train high on the track where ticketless clouds
jostle and board. Stars out here some nights; some nights
just the locals lit. Your yeses much too many for all
the naysayers about. Some common sham in the air inhaled
as covetously as second-hand cannabis, and what of it?
They say the undertow here accounts for much loss, while
the pastor patches up the rest like any good corner man.
No one ever taught you how to swim or even how to be
a man, thus you paddle like a mutt and live like a fool.
In the kiosk on Main Street the magazine covers
announce twenty ways to make her tingle; a dozen ways
to keep her guessing; nine ways to say you’re sorry.
Such backwater. Houses still dark with thuggish love. Stars
smart to leave, while daybreak heralds the threadbare faiths,
their old and pleasing hymns, the creaking pews God
never winces at. Your own raw hands pocketed, fumbling lose
change and bits of lint. The offertory bowl rising and falling
on a tide of pious palms, half empty, coming your way.