Crowns


                            Things, beautiful        belongings are         spectators and own
                                                           secret crowns.

                       Rain then comes, revealing       like and that and       wanting to and
      seeing, wanting to see,          like saying hello,       like saying hello to          the most polite
                                    of strangers        who come to       live with you
                                        all of them,        every one,       carriers of
                                                           secret crowns.

                                           And the smart ones,        the ones who
                           know what they’re doing,        they just        look that way, you
                                                      trust them,      join them
                         making soup out of          flowers, their tongues          on your tongue
                                       so that bees         follow you          now too and
                                                 dance confused songs          on the
                                                           secret crown of you.

 

 

 

                                                                               Angelic Principals


               Dark, helpless little loosenesses:       you love them because        they’ve neither fallen nor
                 risen, they linger        and they’re cool.       They wear black        shoes and they make
                        black shoes cool.       They quit smoking,        they make quitting        cool;
                           they say rock solid       and you       pay up they say      wiped out and
                                you think the world,         it used to be       so much easier when
                                            they were around and       hung out, over there.


                              Later of course you die and       you wake up running.      You are in
                             this heaven and it resembles       an airport,      but you lack the ability
                              to be bored.        So it is economical       for God.       He can put you
                                 anywhere and you’ll be happy.          You’ll think       this is where
                                                                     you should be:

                  Not dirty but happy.        Not alive so       not about to be dirty.     Not dirty, so humble.
                              Then falling,         through the dark       where it rains,      happily you
                                         unto your body,         your beautifully unbearable body.

 

 

 

                                                                               Then Crownspace


                                              So not afraid of slipping,       not afraid       one part is only
                                                               loosely related.     Not afraid knowing
                             how, to act in what way.        Stretching out your rain:     from being restless
                                                              or to rise         in the manner of waves.

                                     Cling together, first month            of the year, shining cuckoo, brown
                                                 creeper,         little finger, little toe,          becoming

                                            a person, working temporarily for          another person, in
                                  a lantern factory,         one who notices        eight old lamps in a row,
                                           two of which         their shades are         water stained, they
                    stood under certain ceilings        and flickered,            amazing the           whole structure
                                                                   hasn’t burned            down.

               Then why not          a blue storefront       next to an orange          storefront, my            favorite
              bookstore,         the paint peeling back,        the place smelling of        cat piss,               always a
                                                                                 good sign.

                Then towards,         the act of,         from appearance to         recitation, from              staying to
               giving in, to         be very precise:          not roses, green thornbranches          budding forth out of
                      rosebark, black          speckled leaves,           compacted petals the size         of babyfists
                in front of        the window where          I sit typing this             while I listen to         you smoking
                                                                                in your sleep.

                         Then wear a hat.       Then wear a yellow shirt.             Then unbutton the third button.
                   Then say where you are going.        Then say I know where you are going.             Big wooden
                 doll on the coffee table.   Piles of books and documentation.        Then save as much as you can.
                                                          Then crownspace,         where you keep your
                                                                  holiest of thoughts         as you are
                                                                                  thinking them.

                 Or maybe stay up late after work.          And smoke with your manager.             Test for low blood
                   sugar.         Talk about Argentine manufacture.           Hats and scarves.           We’ll go to bed
                     and continue this       in our sleep.          We’ll earn              fortunes in our sleep, we’ll spend
                        fortunes in our sleep.      Unbutton my shirt and            we’ll go to sleep, I’ll be typing this
                                                         while I listen to you smoking          in your sleep.

                                                                                Then crownspace
                                             and how to act, in what way, centering        and stretching out
                                                                                     your rain.


Hugh Steinberg is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and Sorcery (Dusie).  His poems can be found in such places as such places as Crowd, VeRT, Volt, Spork, Cue, Slope, Aught, Swerve, Fence and Zeek, as well as other, more multisyllabic places such as Ping Pong and the Boston Review. He teaches in the graduate writing program at California College of the Arts, where he is the faculty editor of Eleven Eleven.