Moxie

First of all, I like this
[says my email pen pal, K
And I tend to I agree]:

I guess I'm beginning
to accept the idea of
trimming down my voices
to the ones I like, and
I guess I'm beginning
to accept the idea of
trimming down my voices
to the ones I like, and
this one is insufferable:
obnoxious in / for words.
But here it is anyhow.

this one is insufferable:

Here’s two legendary old men—
here’s to Dad, whichever or both--

provenance of mythic sperm, mythic donor
in 1943. Counting backwards

from October, nine months, give or take,
we get a rumor of conception

on January 3—and I do so count, barely

distracted
by Romare Bearden calendar prints such as

SHOW TIME, 1974 : Collage with acrylic and lacquer

on board, 50 x 40 in.

What I’ve learned recently from Old Dog’s
Mom: The first Popeye disappeared

in the War. Then his
dogGone dad married Mom—to fill in,

In the spare room, on the cot.
Which one had the drinking problem?

(page change)

Dad 1 or Dad 2 ? Which one took
the photos
in the Tetons?

Cubbie bear?
________________

I invent that Dad swam out toward Catalina
just after or before Pearl Harbor

having heard of an inoperable tumor
somewhere beneath the breast bone

between heart and lung, Cast his fate
to the deep.

Hey -- in absence of reports,
the makeshift

story
will just have
to do.
_________________

I despair, je ne sais quoi, knowing unknowing
of what? Atonement

with despair?

Voice of Dad 1,
Dad 2

Voice wraithed by smoke rings
From misty past enquires, -- Lucky Strikes? --

-- What “I,” chum?

And if “what I ?” --
then what despair?

Oh, it’s insufferable,

surely, but I have a theory: the bald old guy
I saw hitching through Salt Lake (where Dad 2,

I guess, was a desk clerk, the death certificate
Said in ‘63] was Dad’s Irish Yiddish Chinese

Ghost. Sort of a mongrel cross between
Popeye and Henry Miller, but not

Politically incorrect. Beyond the pale
Of what you say, correct, in-

Correct, obnoxiously free------------"

And did you know, dear invisible friend,
that Phil Silvers wrote Nancy

for Frank Sinatra’s daughter? I don’t
have the date. Paul Desmond

Recorded it on June 14, 1963.

v

M O X I E

for Diane Wakoski

The wait-person has
that Dietrich
half-glance and slouch
down cold. Coil’d.
Ironic deferential.

Suicide is tacky,
And so is a faculty hog roast.

Moxie
was a soft drink,
1925-1930.

What became of moxie?

Fiery rains, catalytic
converters, monstrous
dew grunt & moan.

Thy furred cusps of
overlapping steelgray pregnancies.
Zapping—-sparking--shorting out.

Allergic to what one needs
(contentment of slaves)
he blames the masters above,

floating in babyclouds
of blue Iowa sun.

The blues wif fronds,
he thinks,

Only in Davenport, Iowa.
_____________

Inaudible shimmer of snares.

There is no knowing the self
save one send out invitations.

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