We were young and in traffic
He offered work for food
We had no work to offer
We barely had an apartment
Embarrassed in our Chevy Citation
By our conspicuous wealth
We gave him our strawberries
Which he protected with the shade of his body
Older, wiser, and better off
We look forward to a prix fixe menu
He offers a balm to our consciences
We offer cash in large denominations
I write with a quill pen
Pulled from the backside of
A male cross-eyed porcupine
Who has known love only
Once. The pen is dipped in
An elixir, sublime and notorious
For its pigments processed
From the milk of the female
Green-spotted octopus. The
Only paper that I use is
Carolinian tan, produced by
A family of Cuban immigrants
Who harvest reeds on the Outer
Banks and bake their smooth
Sheets on the dunes of Kitty Hawk.
(after Isaiah 63:2-6)
Why are your shoes so red
Like those of a man who treads grapes?
“I tread out a vintage alone.
The people were not with me,
But I showed them my anger
And trampled them with my rage.
Their life-blood ruined my pants
And my clothing was stained.
I had planned a day of vengeance.
My year of achievement had arrived.
When I looked, no one was there to fight.
I stared the people in the eye,
But no one offered their son.
So my own arm brought a draft
And my own rage filled the trenches.
I showed the people my anger.
I made them drunk with my rage.
And trumpeted my glory to the heavens.”