Calendar Poem

Carlos T. Blackburn


Sprinklers strafing a gully
full of palms. Slick fronds
and little rainbows.

No discoveries. 3 fish tacos
in the car, in the dark, listening
to the news.

A ghost in the glare
of the supermarket, a ghost
with a credit card,
buying shoe polish.

                     ~ Rosemary Miller, October 1915 – January 2002 ~

The body the center
of a crush & spray of flowers.
The mouth wrong, the eyes
not quite right – too taut. Not
to say that the body is not well done –
but done.

Rosemary, the dress is bright, a
continuation of the flowers;
you wear your glasses. We
look at pictures. Secretly staring
at the body.

Cookies from Edith,
from Allen a sip of coffee
as we hustle into the cemetery.
Thick roots hang out
into the space
of the fresh grave.


“I dreamed last night
I got so stoned
that my tattoos disappeared”
conversation drifts out of earshot.
Vote; get a sticker.

The harsh light of the taco stand
the tamales. Old man in cowboy
hat, with cane.
2 dogs attack a mole.
Owner intervenes.
We watch it burrow, dazed.

Waiting with the half-moon
at a lengthy red light.
Get Jen on her cell
in a Holiday Inn
in cold, cold Michigan.

Caught in pen-less epiphany
I buy a pen, sweating
in the hospital gift shop.
It comes in a wrapper
in French & English,
the little dapper bic alien.

Mooseheads & missed bank-shots.

Great pine, pair of palms
snap into composition.
The crow, the puddle, myself.
The city a set. Night. Drive
empty streets
to an ATM. Then to a second.


Kiss the old librarian goodbye.
Give the boxes ribs of packing tape.

Warm streets cooling in the dusk.
Houses, lights on, like fallen fruit.

Downpour & lightning
outside Baltimore. Bus driver’s kid
in the front seat sleeps through it.

Huge fans in downtown bus depot
move the heat around.
The cactus heart of poor cities.

Hot, disappointing afternoon
turns into a sculpture garden.


The man with six empty beers before him
the demon nestled within.
4 tables and a payphone.
Silent flickering t.v.,
the news: men
run with guns.

Little dog,
excited as I pass,
hits the end of his leash

Verrazano span
freighter tops in the fog.


Someone at the post office has written
on a tape dispenser in black magic marker.
My letter 12 cents short with the blessings
of the clerk: two quick stamps of her stamp.
“If I say it’s enough, it’s enough.” Pure fact.

A Dollar? (my winnings)
I’ll take a Quick Pick. No, that’s all. Thanks.

Same old ground, read the paper
on the way home.
Erin Go Bragh & and a sprinkler
starting up.

Hot night, woman weeds her
front yard in the dark.

Red moon setting over
Hunan Palace, indifferent 3 a.m.


Fucking June beetles,
fleeing June I guess,
into my place, rattling around the lampshade,
dive-bombing the bulb.

Lawn mower upended for repairs,
tools laid out in its shadow,
not a soul.

Flicked around by the ocean.
Sand in my pockets.
Glistening gulls converge,
attack a bag of potato chips.

Flounder landed, covered in
sand, not much
time left. Someone’s
got the knife.


Walk the tunnel
15th street station
to Ft. Hamilton Parkway
with a cut flower in hand.
Sleep beneath the bed,
in my clothes.
Hang-over with sparrows,
attentive & hopeful.

Traffic in spades.
Glorious lines at the pump.
Urinals & fast food.
Escape velocity at Trenton.

Fog & rain. The streets
are empty. The stations
are empty. The train
is full.

Cooking lamb chops
bought & frozen
by Rosemary, moons ago.
Marinade sparkles with fat.
The meat blackens.

Blue cradle of light (canal view,
white wine & boat wakes) the
night vista an interior.


The religion of continuity.

Pool, evening.
Ant line beneath the heel
of her shoe. One yard over
a white barn splattered
with leaf shadows.

Motorcyclist crosses himself
as he eases past Holy Redeemer.

A day of finding the target.
Blue crab
fridge magnet
an odd fleck of beauty
in the wasteland
of the airport gift shop.

“To talk
press, release
and wait for
steady light”
– Car 6662, uptown 2 train.

Pigeon feathers and blond asians.
Fall day taut as a guitar string.


Soriano leading off first, bottom of the eighth.
Weber pitching for California. Fakes
a throw to 1st, once, twice.
Soriano fakes returning to 1st
once, twice; fake fake.
Eyes locked on Weber, cool,
t.v. at the window, lip
of the first
October night, antenna out
among leaf shadow.

The dope. Dawn, and he’s
running with a bag of fish
to catch his train, late
and overdressed. Sits at the
station, sweats & writes.

Outside Penn Station
a man asks for directions
to Penn Station. No English.
No Español.
Pulls a hand-written note
from his wallet.

Little witches
crossing lawns.


Out the train window, darkness.
In it, a flood-lit hockey rink glows.
The goalie alone,
checking his equipment.

Thrift store, swimming in winter
coats, some beautiful but too big.
Bamboo shelves from the Philippines.
Roach falls out of a shirt.

At work, my succulent little

Out the window a mash
of fog, headlights and riot
of yellow leaves.

New boots, in a box,
a box from Queensland, Australia.
A box come from summer.

Walk downtown after rain,
air cleared, light barking
off wet streets, buildings.
Knit cap over baseball hat.

Sore feet and bright moon.
Looking for a house without a

Thanksgiving stars; Winnie
the Pooh loops on t.v. for the kids.
Muscular dog, thirsty for love.


Sleep late – late!
Winterized with sleep,
ready for cold. Pay my
video fine. Stooping for
a penny.

Bloody sky, toward 5,
gets me out of the house.
A day shut away
a mouse fiddling with

The game, Glasgow.
Perishable as a meat pie, perennial
as the cups, a labor of love
in the cold. A Palestinian flag
in the Celtic section,
hot drinks.
They play to a tie
under the slate sky.

A children’s slide –
wide loops spiralling
down around a color-burst
tower. Behind it men drink
their super-strength lager.
Native night.

A balding man with mutton chops
and vague grin pulls into the petrol
station, his back window stuffed
with fake flowers and teddy bears.

Christmas shopping, Sauchiehall St.
Drunk woman slings pint glasses
down the street at phantoms.

Mild night. Canal doubles
the orange street lights
hanging in the dark.
Woods silhouetted
against a train galloping east.

Blue Lagoon chip shop
Blue Lagoon chip man
busy busy
with his black eye
and split lip.

Boat life. White swan follows us,
forages around
the dark hull of a burnt-out ship.