I’ve Missed You, Irene

months seem like years
a whole summer almost gone
you’ve been my connection for decades

to a sculpted world
and missing link
to branches and branches

of pedestrian and bicycle highways
that stretch across counties
and desire to run uninterrupted

by stanza break
or choking
on polluted yarns

hiding John Ashbery’s words
beneath a giant tarp

draped over you
has tortured me
unveiled and back in business

you are the most welcome
sight I’ve seen
since the flashing LED

Central Park Car Free
sign / his words now reclad
in overly ardent metal / a flash

I hope will settle down
with time and weather
Minnesota is certain to deliver

wish it would
get very cool / and wet /

to put out the wildfires
burning across British Columbia
and California

smoke spreads across the country
drifts over the Atlantic Ocean
3,000 miles away / this is no joke

buckets of prayers
and crocodile tears
pouring onto corrugated steel roofs

covering farmers markets
spilling through gutters
to sympathy gardens

will not suffice
the handwriting becomes hyper-legible
like never before / and red walls

do smile
in that droopy way
red walls do

as I cross safely over lanes
of lethal engines on wheels
on your freshly laid boardwalk

I see the warm dead
but not scarred
wood smile too

tiny particles in hazy air
plumes seen from outerspace
those drawdowns

in Jeffersonian yellow
elegant baby blue / darkening green
nice paint job / Irene

bury the lede (and the lead)

it begins with

get off my island

passes through euphonic perfection for

beware the Johnny Cash poster
hanging on the cellar door

swings around a cul-de-sac of

no more masks

pauses for a layover of false alarms at

last stop Van Cortlandt Park
242nd Street

charges ahead over

you can all go
look at the fuckin’ stars

makes a u-turn at

Central Park car free

speeds up to capture

Papa aren’t you gonna buy me
a skunk lock

slows down to record

are you experienced
with Rhode Island lowlands

crosses a bridge after

the caterpillar does all the work
but the butterfly gets all the publicity

reaches its destination just in time for

how many more signs do you need