for Judith Rosebird
in memory of David Berman
Dear Judith, my father left before I
was born. Knowing very little
served me well. They say, I am The Author
but it’s lasting fabrications
for the lastly celebrated and the
forever unemployed. This is
the last night in the pub—tossed out on our
much disappointed asses but
happy to be alive, satisfied by
the clock. And the wretched still live
in the whale of time, speeding through the whole
thing. Do you forgive me for what
I’ve not yet done? You’ll know more than we’ll give
you credit for. Bewildering
to take it for so long. Eating the same
food that we eat. Hungry in the
way other people are hungry.
A Jewish cowboy sings strangely to his
daughter. Flipping through pages of
excremental heat, in a pink bathroom—
having just ate rat. I would not
do it again. And authority has
next to nothing to offer you.
They’re busy selling their narcotics that
work for only a little while.
Don’t cry in their bathrooms, better to go
outside when you weep. Stay as far
away from them as you possibly can.
My mother was under their hold
and the real father did not stay silent.
My song for you is made from waste
but it’s what I have to offer—shameless
as that may be. Ashamed with my
clothes badgering and begging the question:
live or die? Your mother’s song is
stronger. A weeping mother is a kind
of divine cinema and the
familial call attached to a kingdom.
Yes, my real father disappeared
and yes, I once planned for execution
but he’s not to blame. His nightly
humiliations are like ghosts without
sheets. Love is an infinitely
conjured mirror. It would be ridiculous
to posit against basic fact.
But I am no founder. The trellises
hold a mammoth weight on their backs.
Judith, remember the loving exchange.
So sayest the moot patriarch.