Transit of Mercury, 2019

Remembered dream: we are in great hall or auditorium, walls
paneled warmly in pine, typical folding chairs in neat rows. 

Before the assembled, a figure rises up. Its body is glass
shining and transparent. And full of stars—brilliant, hypnotic.

Look through its shape into a vast jeweled darkness and see
the dance again, the tiny planetary shadows cast one body to another,

subtle shades passed across each vastness of space
no one else in the endless crowd would, could, possibly notice.


My loyal devices address me
by my first name, they know me

so well. “Vamanos, Ron!” Fitbit 

encourages me. Together
we head out into the cold day.

Later when I hear the bus tires
spin on the morning

snow, I think, no one really
has a  thousand, or even

a hundred, words
for snow. And should 

snow want to be known
as “Snow,” or “Ron,”

it’d have to fight this
morning traffic to make it 

happen. And configure accounts
for its own array of devices.

Eventually a thin film
of briny mud coats the 

bus windows:
it’s beginning to look a lot like

a proper noun, a lot like
a seasonal mood

or other, this roasted barley
and apricot sort of day, 

like every kind of self-
referential feeling 

you let pass without considering.
Call me cynical, call me lost.

Look out from the cavernous
hood of a parka with me

and make your apologies.
That unshaven artiste who

stood on the corner
brandishing his bells and whistles, his

hells and thistles, his
made-new turns of phrase and

nameless selves
moving busily through

bourgeois labyrinths of identity,
just the same as you and me,

breathless with keeping up
with the busy busy hipster makers,

he’s gone to his great reward.
By which I mean he’s

spending winter in Boca
and getting a lot of golf in.

His underpaid caddy calls him
by his first name, when he dares.

But he’s in your Contacts.
He might or might not 

return by Memorial Day.
Some say he left 

one last note. Read between
the lines and see everything

we thought we knew about him
was a lie. Bah! I turn off my phone,

feel vaguely seasick
by the motion of politics, or the bus.

The day surrounds me like a great
desert. Like an endless ocean; 

like a vast landfill. Like any number
of unpleasantnesses avoided

as topics at family gatherings. Love,
death, the changing of seasons. I mean, 

religion, politics, and death.
Or was it sex, drugs, 

and rock n’ roll. Maybe
simpler to keep quiet during 

all holiday celebrations. And –
oh shit, I think I missed my stop. 

If the political is personal,
or vicey-versey, then 

we in trouble deep, friend.
Trouble, strife, grief. 

Gloom, despair, and agony
on me! Would I 

have ever thought
back in the day, that I could

miss cleaning the cats’ litter pan?
Oh, my lost little friends, oh.

I recite each of their names quietly
to myself.  

                    It’s quiet for a while.
Wounds re-open without warning.

Heal again; just breathe. Later on
as I’m still crossing 

the great frozen desert
of the day, someone

calls out my name.
Without looking up 

I assume they’re
talking to someone else.