Forget the year, the parties where you drank too much,
said what you thought without thinking, danced so hard
you dislocated your hip, fainted in the kitchen,
while Gumbo, your hosts’ Jack Russell terrier,
looked you straight in the eye, bloomed into a boddhisattva,
lectured you on the six perfections while drunk people
with melting faces gathered around your shimmering corpse.
Then there was February when you should have been decapitated
for stupidity. Forget those days and the ones
when you faked a smile so stale it crumbled like a cookie
down the side of your face. Forget the crumbs and the mask
you wore and the tangle of Scotch tape you used to keep it in place,
but then you’d have to forget spring with its clouds of jasmine,
wild indigo, and the amaryllis with their pink and red faces,
your garden with its twelve tomato plants, squash, zucchini,
nine kinds of peppers, okra, and that disappointing row of corn.
Forget the corn, its stunted ears and brown oozing tips. Forgive
the worms that sucked their flesh like zombies
and forgive the bee that stung your arm, then stung your face, too.
While we’re at it, let’s forget 1974. You should have died that year,
or maybe you did. Resurrection’s a trick
you learned early. And 2003. You could have called in sick
those twelve months—sick and silly, illiterate and numb,
and summer, remember the day at the beach when the sun
began to explain Heidegger to you while thunderclouds
rumbled up from the horizon like Nazi submarines? The fried oysters
you ate later at Angelo’s were a consolation and the margaritas
with salt and ice. Remember how you begged the sullen teenaged waitress
to bring you a double, and double that, pleasepleaseplease.
And forget all the crime shows you watched,
the DNA samples, hair picked up with tweezers
and put in plastic bags, the grifters, conmen, and the husbands
who murdered their wives for money or just plain fun.
Forget them and the third grade and your second boyfriend,
who loved Blonde on Blonde as much as you did
but wanted something you wouldn’t be able to give anyone for years.
Forget movies, too, the Hollywood trash in which nothing happened
though they were loud and fast, and when they were over
time had passed, which was a blessing in itself. O blessed
is Wong Kar Wai and his cities of blue and rain.
Blessed is David Lynch, his Polish prostitutes juking
to Locomotion in a kitschy fifties bungalow. Blessed
is Jeff Buckley, his Hallelujah played a thousand times in your car
as you drove through Houston, its vacant lots
exploding with wild flowers and capsized shopping carts.
So forget the pizzas you ate, the ones you made from scratch
and the Dominoes ordered in darkest December,
the plonk you washed it down with and your Christmas tree
with the angel you found in Naples and the handmade Santas
your sons brought home from school, the ones with curling eyelashes
and vampire fangs. Forget their heartbreaks
and your sleepless nights like gift certificates
from the Twilight Zone, because January’s here,
and the stars are singing a song you heard on a street corner once,
so wild the pavement rippled, and it called you
like the night calls you with his monsters and his marble arms.