You smudged my paint job, slurred
the perfect enamel I layered
on my favorite stick of furniture.
No pomp of speech can resolve
this insult. No manner of cloud
can occlude your guilty pleasure.
The last of summer’s thrushes
dangles a bit of song, then wheels
south with ambitions unfulfilled.
A pond of giant carp withdraws
into its mud bath, the fish dreaming
those dreams we reserved for ourselves
when we briefly owned the cosmos.
Not much play left in machinery
grinding itself into chaos.
Not much data left unfiled.
You enjoy smearing the paint
because Milton and Stevens
and even your hero, Melville,
abraded their patient wives.
Your fingerprints will testify
that imperfections precede me
into whatever next world I step
when oblivions blurs starlight
and voids the most recent eclipse.
Your disdain of Milton fails
to note his elegiac youth
when the great moments claimed him
in spangles of ruminant Latin.
Your distrust of Stevens ignores
the one of fictive music who moves
still on the same waters on which
you walk with insolent glee.
As for Melville: your quotations
from Moby-Dick seems ersatz,
but I’m too tired to research
and convict you of insolence
you already flaunt. The last thrush
percolates past the horizon
and leaves a smoke-trail of song
credible as a blues tune hacked
from a lone disgruntled chord.