I Keep Trying to Tell You
Wary of the thunder passing
into me, scrambling past the fissures.
Home savannas shouldn’t roil
at the dawn of man. Please,
listen! We don’t joke that the volume
goes to eleven, the bass to eight, the treble
to twelve. How many fingernails can scrabble
for purchase on the scalp before I fall
off my head, before you push me
onto my feet? These storms, they were
your grandfather’s. He kept them locked
in bottles. It’s your fault
I prefer to call them intangible. The usual gales
whip even clean laundry across our faces.
Yet no one can scrub a day’s labor of greasy grit
from our pores. I’ve been digging for oil
with a shovel better suited
for clouting, which I do,
and apologize, almost. I spasm
in fear of the crack of doom.
Come to the yawing table, lash
ourselves to the common bench, send up
a flare to the other side of the ship.
These flames spell primogeniture.
I only ever wanted to become
the most adored stowaway. I hid
in a barrel of pitch and rum, not
the right answer, a rolling and spattered,
a cacophony by the time I was done.
John F. Buckley once again lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his wife after twenty years in and around California. His publications include various poems, two chapbooks, the collection Sky Sandwiches (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012). He and Martin Ott collaborated to create Poets’ Guide to America (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012) and Yankee Broadcast Network (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2014). His website is http://johnfbuckley.net.