Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When Nuns Bring Beer

Sister Barbara poured two perfect-head MGDs
Just as the sun’s neutrino vomit hit the upper atmosphere
She wondered out loud about reeling in the contemplative sisters
who dismiss the warmth of the barroom.
What fishing lure can return them to the necessary breath?

I reminded her that every Stylite needed to eat and shit
Even if it took a diocese force-feeder ascending that column.
The breath is here, the choice has been made.
But then again, Catholics always proved better at works.
A new crowbar might be required to pull a Calvinist ascetic
from the bubblegum stuckness of prevenient grace.

Not stuckness, Barbara smiled, stuck-in-againstness.

We could feel the corona spillover while we watched the condensation rings
warn us that the necessary breath is a closed circle.
Accept the gift, accept the terror of each anonymous death
without once averting your eyes.

What if the astronomers were wrong,
I thought as I got up to leave.
Maybe that walk to the car, a seach for auroral lights
would leave my bones pliant.
She wondered if a squid was any easier to reel in,
and reminded me of dozens of assassins, closer than the sun,
that might lurk in those last two hundred steps.
And besides, she said, you must finish your beer.

Loring Wirbel
August 4, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Eating Habits: Two Poems for August Harvest

Sparse Nutrient

for Mitch M
iller, whose death helped me remember Ray Heatherton's crucial role

monsoon timpani thunder cracks
dreams to Dolby 5.1 surround
as I sing of weevily wheat and cake for Charlie
lightning splits Ponderosa pine,
a revelation that Agnes of God was covering the Merry Mailman
all along
making manifest your tears during intermission
that left the leaven far from neat and far from sweet and far from dandy
Merry Mailman sang of heirlooms basil fingerlings
Big Rock Candy I am sure of these hymns
but only the next track played for the hailstorm shuffle
“I don’t want to play in your yard.
I don’t like you any more.”

Loring Wirbel
Aug. 2, 2010


I. “My mother is toxic.”
Her hiss unwraps to a scream to be heard over warm bath of scramjet
as the waking me insists F-15s are not cropdusters.

Our Amelia makes no such distinctions
But an Adderall, any SSRI
is the minimum needed for biplane stunts
With second-seat status I sit back for the show.

First Mach 5 swoosh over fallow heart
counts back one –
the May morning a stealth bomber stammered my attic
counts back two –
a day before drones silenced aerial bombing forever and always
counts back three –
the fine dust of pleas, doing the best that she can, and her brother despised her, and it’s only
one payday and it isn’t dependence

Navigator claims no ancestral, antecedent poisons
only the pilot, only the pilot

The fence line approaches, pull throttle phallic and

Oh the genetically-modified hearts still in want of this dust.

II. In Mach 1 days Schwinn brigades
raced the town pesticide tanker
Pride in the Jack of Spades clothespin spoke and
Pride in the white sticky shower
Unaware then, molecules clung like a lonely biphenyl
Got milk, got dread and longing but we live Mach 5 now
Scramjets blast dust, sandblast tears, pulverize tangential bloodclots
to a featureless surface from a year with no corn.

Where boom resonates was two betrayals ago
She has breached the horizon for a soybean approach
counts back one –
foreclosures layoffs leave vapor-trail scarring
counts back two –
the broken doll for Green Giant desire
counts back three –
when dust cements thumb and index together
there are no pilot prayers to eat locally
only a pilot chant you never called you never called

Until the cropduster defining the maps of your own restraining order
has broken the sound barrier
leaving every combine sticky to the Iowa border
finding grain silo, missile silo jointly unsound
only then will her chemtrails
disclose the latent pull of what
all the local wheat farmers call collateral damage.

Loring Wirbel
July 17, 2010