In Order of Appearance
morning happens somewhere inside you
don’t configure the adjacent night at all
morning happens you are not fully wrested
you are not pressed or washed or caffeinated
morning takes shape as an unintended bright
you pull the blinds to keep the darkness in
morning catches you un-breathed and un-stretched
you are not dressed or deft or delegated
morning happens as a staggered headache
you pull the sheets and expose your shadow
morning wobbles you on naked feet upright
toward the hallway the razor the enemy outside
How we have felt left in an alley from what we know
and do not know since coming here
we therefore seem to be plunked down
seem perturbed from know and do not know
what in this bourgeois figure blandly watching
one another in this neighborhood where names
of flowers and serenades are unknown to us clouds burn
off before lunch and the blandly watching begins
I cannot believe me in any vampire’s arms
limp and scrawny liminal and unshaven
cannot believe me surrendered off the pavement
swept off my unbelief and waxen stance
Into the post-midnight of this ishmael city
spidered and sucked into burned-out veins
infused with insectivorous impulses me
impersonal unassigned and vacant lusts
Ascending the fire escape into belief
in the small things that sustain us always
houseflies and fireflies memory fragments
no bigger than fleas stuck between my teeth
Got to admit it: your cloak of invisibility is wearing thin.
Wearing from inside out, musty with stale renunciations.
A moth-eaten intermittent flea-market spectacle of yourself,
A wannabe bargain-basement vampire, shredded into recognition.
Everyone glimpses: obscene filaments of you wavering and gaping
Between broken threads like you still know how to want familiar things:
The caress of a lit cigar, penetration by somebody else’s lack or
Lackluster ambitions, the routine kisses of approval and habitual need.
Time to pack your bags and head out to where it’s carved from bone-tired.
Cliffs made of abandoned earrings, autographs, and siren’s cauls.
Transparent with sea sounds and dolphin do-wop cast in glassy pitch.
Glowing with pure indifference. Antiseptic. Astringent. Beside the point.
You can let your hapless robe drop to your ankles in visible exhaustion.
No one will take notice of your aged nakedness, your grey exhalations.
Step into the tidal pool, Aphrodite in reverse—sag, dissolve, cut loose.
You’ll work out the details later. ‘Cause that’s what later’s for.
Bio: As 2015 begins, Robert F. Gross, writer, director, and performer, is still unsettled, in every sense of the word. He is preparing for the premiere of Extinction Thoughts in Philadelphia with Julius Ferraro in February. Recently, some of poems of his have appeared in The Birds We Piled Loosely, Carcinogenic Poetry, and The Camel Saloon.