Once the day, #234

Once the day gets started late
there is no catching up,
no making up
for the productive
early morning hours
when the sun
is out for its run
and making its way
up the long hills of the course,
over the dale and the dew
on the ground, spurred on by
the early morning sounds
of busy squirrels and baby robins
starving from a long night
of dreaming.
You are still dreaming.
You have not found
the wherewithal
to kick off the cotton fibers
that keep you pinned down.

Once the day has begun
and the long pendulum
its swinging, you must
simply try to work your way
against the worst,
fat, bitter feelings
of having wasted
something precious
that can never be retrieved.
Try to fill the moments
with a dedication
that can not be
questioned. The work
is all you have,
the furrowed brow
of the moment
that proves
you were pushing,
that you were willing,
able and ready
to leave something behind
at the end of the day.
Tell a story,
no matter how insignificant
and what gibberish,
that shows
you are not simply
a newborn,
fresh out of the egg,
with your beak up in the air
and your larynx blaring.

Once the day gets started,
once the sticky afternoon
has come, the grass
brown and burnt,
the dandelions
bending westward,
there are no easy runs,
no easy lines, no
easy tables or classes
or closing hours at work.
All the levity
is in the morning,
like the best dreams,
the ones where
you find yourself flying
over a field of heather,
the tops of the brushes
just nipping
the underside of your belly.
One never dreams
they are flying
in the afternoon,
when the dumb geese
are below you,
squawking about
on the golf course
about a bad lie
or the divots
or the ball marks
on the greens,
pooping around the pond
and sliding in their own grease.
Never, not once
has a man dreamed
of flying low to the ground
on one of those
high humidity days,
days where the asphalt
below is melted like clocks,
days wheres the air
breathes like tissue paper
and the mere thought
of moving your body
calls to mind that horror
of having to wade your way
through a dark room of cobwebs
created by the phantom beast
who no longer appears
to roam these dank
hallways, but who
could be lurking
around the corner,
and so each movement,
may well strum
the string that will summon
the demon out for lunch.
With each breath in this air
you are being spun.
If you have had that dream,
please, don’t tell me.
Don’t tell anyone.
Don’t ruin the slanted image
I have of the morning,
the mystique of a sun rising.

Once the day gets started,
in your cocoon of blankets,
with those first few
winks of decisions,
you are done.
The day has come and gone
before you even mustered
the strength to wipe the sweat
from your overheating forehead,
to reach over
and kiss your loved one,
to slap back the buzzing
of the digital clock.
A bowl of cereal waited,
drowning in milk
grown stale on the counter.
While you were dreaming
your mom dropped by
and made
you a sandwich,
placed it in a plastic bag
in a paper bag
and left it on the counter.
It will be gone
by the time you reach for it.
By the time
you are truly awake.
It is halfway gone already,
the day eaten.
The arm of the round one
on the wall reached
its apex, its erection,
and you are still
a ton of rigor mortis
dead in the bed, just now
beginning to rise.

Once the day is done,
once the sun has surrendered
its lust to the moon
and stars, once it has
painted, in its last throes
the great masterpiece
it set out to paint,
at that point,
you may just as well
go to sleep.
Sure, some artists will sing
that the nighttime
is the right time.
Some will say
they have spent
many a good night
up with friends,
Jose Cuervo, Jack Daniels
and their compatriot
Captain Morgan.
But the words are slurred,
as is the paint they used,
and the clay.
There’s is a word
that has rejected
the crisp and the fresh,
the clean
for the abstract.
All that black.
The unending night
trying to be cool.
But the aerosols
we’ve let loose
have ruined our chances
of cooling off
and now we must
live with these long
humid summer days.
The old south has risen
again, up the gulf stream
and into the mid-atlantic
and slowly up
into the northeast.
We can debate
the causes
and the reasons,
industrial revolution
or natural forces.
Either way, we have begun
to burn the bodies
that lied dying
in the ground,
a disease of the brain,
like mad cow.

Once the days gets started,
if it gets started without you
as a part of it,
there is no turning back,
no rolling over, no invention
that will come of it.
Remember Ben Franklin,
history’s great early riser,
perhaps, an insomniac.
I wouldn’t put it past him
nor any figure of history
to be that deceptive,
to tell the world he woke early,
when really, he never slept.
Once Ben Franklin dies,
we as a nation
have nothing left.
No motivations, no heroism.
Once Hemmingway left
and Clemens jumped ship,
once Keroac dowsed himself
in kerosene and lit the match,
once Walt Whitman
closed the book and Warhol
passed his fifteen minutes
it was noon. The day
was on the downswing
by the moment each of us
woke up to meet it.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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