The ecstasy now
is simply my hand scratching my head
underneath what is left of my hair
and noticing the rolled cuffs–plaid–
of the man exiting the parking lot.
Or “the man existing the parking lot,”
as I just mistakenly wrote.
There is ecstasy sometimes in writing
exiting, but meaning existing.
Certainly the ecstasy now is the simple pigeon
flying through the simple sky
and my simply being able to see it.
It’s the blue car,
the red car, and all the rest
of the revving motors lined up
inside my heart: that they so want
to race until the end of time.
The ecstasy now
is the gray day growing grayer.
It’s even diabetes
with its bloody little pricks
delivering the glucose news.
And it’s that woman over there
in the billowing dress
on the purple bicycle, deciding
at the last minute to turn left
into traffic, and still, she lives.
And it is the stooped-over man
with the wide brimmed, too-heavy hat
in that Japanese movie,
the old black and white one.
He goes to the doctor and overhears, by accident,
he has 70 days left; 75 tops. God knows
what gets into him, but he finds
a shovel and a rake and makes
a little neighborhood park by poking around
under some old trees, I don’t remember, maybe oaks,
maybe ancient maples. But big ones, trees that understand
how to dignify the little world of his neighborhood.
Day after day, the scratching and digging. The rearranging.
He lives long enough to stand under those trees,
when finally the park is done. It is December now,
day falling into darkness, big hat in hand,
snow slowly descending all around him,
those fluffy flakes that only fall
in that dreamy way in movies.
Isn’t now the time to pick up your shovel and start?
That man running
along the river
wishes he were anyone
but who he is.
Even the man he was yesterday
would do, the man who heard
the train whistle
from the viaduct above him,
then felt the trembling
of the world all the way through.
Yes, that man would do.
Milk and Beans
Someone in the cafe says,
“But he’s fucking seventy years old!”
A table away I overhear it
and smile my silent fucking smile.
Across the street,
they are making a stage set
as they do every morning
at 7 A.M. I see palm trees
and two crossed swords.
A desert is implied. An oasis.
It is time, once again,
Passing my face
in the mirror, I raise one eyebrow,
you devil you,
then head out to buy the milk and beans.
Jim Moore lives in Minneapolis with his wife, the photographer JoAnn Verburg. His next book will be published by Graywolf Press. His work has appeared recently in The Sun and is forthcoming there as well. his work has appeared recently in The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Catamaran. He is also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for his poetry.
He lives part of the year in Spoleto, Italy.
Photo Credit: JoAnn Verberg