Party Line, 1962

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Five Miami Stornelli

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Lens of Porcelain

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Suddenly Seeing in Absent Sandstone How It Will Be

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Nocturne

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Constellations

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Mosul Lives: Verbatim Poems

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Theologicals

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Safety

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

On the 2017 Man Booker Prize

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Sangfroid in San Francisco

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

One Hundred Parties for Mary Ruefle

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Hear Lies Andrew Baker: An Epitome on Figures of Speech

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

A Voice Tucked Away

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

You Could Only Know Us

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Minus the Supernatural

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Visiting Friends

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Letters, 1936-1977

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Unchosen

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

A Conversation with John Jeremiah Sullivan

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Pyrite

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

And They Lived

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Piecework

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Franklin Free Clinic

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Letters Home from College: The Making of a Writer

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Elegy with Drowned Sailor and Endless Horizon

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Evening Dogs

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Rent Manual

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Emerson’s Eyes

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Gravestone and the Commode

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

My Lawyer Said that I Should Call Her

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Anecdote

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

On Stanley Elkin

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Self-Portrait as a Body, as a Sea

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Brood

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Maurice’s Blues

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Quitters

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

One Hundred Million Years of Solitude

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

First Times

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Another Way to Say Hello

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Getting Good

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Something Like That: A Pronoun’s Life in Poetry

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

So Far

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

True Blue Time

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Horse Chestnuts

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Sound of My Father

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Ocean Next Door

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Al, Off the Grid

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Hart Island

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Goombahs

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Dragon

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Sloth

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Lyle Clears My Throat

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Dean Interrupts My Dream

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Old Masters

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

P is for Pedestal

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Five Love Poems

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Basic Reader

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

On the Man Booker Prize

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Ava Gardner Goes Home

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

What’s There to Come Back To?

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Postprandial

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Only Connect

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Two Poems and a Piece of Prose

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Poems and Pictures

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Cow Man

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Caretaker

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Slide

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Questions on Jane’s Birthday

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

S Is For Shame

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

J Is For Judgment

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Nurzai’s Odyssey

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Scenes From A Marriage

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

S Is for Something: Mark Strand and Artistic Identity

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

A Conversation with Jill McCorkle

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Good Lord the Light

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Peacock Feathers

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Lice

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Dutch Flower Painting from the 1670s

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Lover

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

P Is for Permission

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Diorama

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Advent

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Michael

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Going

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

M Is for Mouse

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

G Is for Genius

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Unless to Spy My Shadow in the Sun

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Eve of Janus Debutante Ball

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The State of Letters

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Engrams, California

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Machado de Assis at the Rio Olympics

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Rareness of Poetry: On Christian Wiman

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

From La Ribera

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

Fire Sermon

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The King of Dauphin Island

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

The Okiedoke

Voices from a cloud,
a few gods,
two or three, insistent!
—some wrong visited on them, a crowd

of squabblers coming through the mist.
The kitchen’s
nearly dark. The cord’s
curlicued like a pig’s tail. You bend your head and listen

to their reports,
to their snorts
and justifications and you can make out—
like birds following each other in the sky—some words

of Walter Cronkite in the living room.

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