|No Hunting sign on privy. Turn left at pheasant cage.|
As geese vee overhead and snowbirds flutter in the naked quince, i drag an old note with tight scribbles of
a lurching pencil and fading mind chronicling the ravages of neurotic frostbite.
this staccato poem has been performed in universities and between the black walls of cultural dives,
against spare musical background or guttural solo scratches.
here, alive and relevant, revised and insolent, a universal day by day tribute to indoor weather.
12 by 12:
White all over - heavy ceiling twelve feet high - the cold walls - sweating slimy lime - snow on the sill - ice on
the panes - cold on the news - smoke from the stone suspended in gray currents above stale air - pale -
pale white - pale gray - like your face - like my mind - do you like me?
11 by 11:
Gray couch - open to sleep in - blue blanket - you shiver - a chair - a desk - I ponder alone across the
linoleum we laid over the bare concrete - an insult to ancient walls - the spirits are restless - are you bored?
10 by 10:
The cat between us - I wish I were the cat - purring belly up - the radio speaks French - squeaks shortwave
noise then barks German - it’s dark outside now - you hang the shutters on the door - I close the curtains -
stuff rags in the cracks - shut - shudder - close - closer.
9 by 9:
Your tail just twitched - did you shut the stove lid? Today is Tuesday - yes, the thirteenth - mail must have
come today - I think - silence you read - a ball comes rolling across the floor with a cat on it - I grin as balls
fall off the holly twigs left over from would-be decor- do you love me?
8 by 8:
The front room shrinks as the gap across the floor widens - we inflate - Cerberus stands at the door
dressed in silent whites - can you hear me? - bladder calling - the back door is still there - the garden path
is frozen and the outhouse still stands - do you care?
7 by 7:
The house is reduced to one room - one wood stove - is this Alaska or Southwest France? A lush
temperate zone with a Scandinavian breath of fresh air - Ah, you stirred - fingers shaking - Eagle-Eye here,
watching for signs of life.
6 by 6:
Getting tense - radio wave off - cat on duty - outside coming in through the keyholes - white night moon
awake - coffee surplus - nerves astir - unspent - solitary confinement a deux - cozy fireside chats and other
impossible dreams - getting romantic - good luck.
5 by 5:
Seventh day like this - are there lots of divorces in Alaska? - do they bother to marry in the cold? - are we
in love still? - oh - you coughed - you are alive - you get up - find an English-speaking station - stir the fire -
you stir me - the stew smells good - I am alive!
4 by 4:
What? - what is it? - you can’t stand my constant writing? - I don’t hate your constant reading! smile? - oh
okay - is the air getting heavy? - is there any air? Air - I mean - full - the eyes - brim - the nostrils - soft the
sounds - did we die?
3 by 3:
Green eyes - still beautiful - I’m tired - going to be ugly - I can’t hide - can’t hide from your big green eyes
that hide from me - I am tired.
Eat stew till I bloat - till my brown eyes bulge - till the last crumb – the last word - till doom.
1 by 1:
You and I alone - together - is it love? Is it sex? - is it nerves or do you need me at all? I cry through dry eyes
- kiss my chapped lips - quickly before the mailman finds our bones.