4 Poems Titled Chet Baker
When two people love each other it’s a sign
there are parts of the map we save for silence.
But that’s not Saturday night.
Your city puts its makeup on. It looks
at itself in the gun-mirror. It looks like it feels
when a great decade presses down
you shut your eyes.
You shut your eyes and think of going home,
of getting tucked in
by your animal companion.
Of being absolutely unrelenting about just one thing.
For hours I went up and down the block,
trying to decide whether to go in.
Eventually the wind came up and the traffic thinned.
I put my hand to the door.
Inside was an empty room, empty but for a white table
with a body floating above it.
It was my body floating above it.
I put on my glasses and stepped closer.
It was a stone being skipped and all its leaps at once.
It was a book being written in the process of being torn apart.
I know one house on the block is touched
by none of the others.
Unlettered, forever strikes me
as the terrible sound the bone makes
when it first kisses air.
All these years raving:
I was a bicycle on fire in a field
marked out for ghosts.
I was the light on that field, growing mild.
Or the thing some people call success
when there’s blood in their mouths.
The subway brings you to a room
where you are alone with the woman you used to love.
As you sit there unable to speak
she takes you in her arms
and softly lists all the things that have hurt you
in the last three years.
She strokes your hair and she lists them out in order.
When she is finished you can’t see her.
It is completely dark and nothing touches you.
You make shapes with your mouth.
You start to smell a history of smoke.