Reading Joe Weil’s New Book

I’m glad I bought your book, Joe—
It’s filled with old favorites and new gems,
Bounded by a bass player
Hand-colored in a pink zoot suit,
The moon and a huge apartment building
Brightly lit up behind him
While Harvey Peckar
Croons with him your praises on the
Back porch, and in between those covers
The Pursuit of Happiness,
Jefferson’s promise to us
Declared large
Through failure
And collapse
And honesty
And gentleness
And mercy
And hatred
And self-defeat
As the purpose of life—
Never the preservation
Of the self, but the
Selfless end of self—
So at the last,
Whether fake Christmas trees,
Bluebirds, frozen William
Weatherspoon,
The Blue Woman with
Moth-wing lips,
The insane violence
Of dissolution
And crushing desolation
At the Elizabeth Arch,
Newspapers for blankets,
The broken prayers
Scraped together at
Graveside,
Sue Rapeezi loving you,
Or Roberto Clemente’s
Leathery glove,
Your hand works grief
Effortlessly,
Gracefully,
True as an ancient
Chinese poet’s soul
Catching glimpses of eternity
Between flakes and azalea branches
In the falling, gathering snow.

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