Poem for Leo Baekeland and John Berryman

Mark Neely

Before the moon landing they asked a poet what the astronauts

should say up there. “How about fuck you all and your idiot war,”

he said, adding that anyone who made it to the moon

would do well to stay there.

Leo we will take your answer. You know what it means

to fiddle around until you get things right.

Do you see how the hummingbird dances in the butterfly bush

like a rogue election? How refugees cling to the wing of a taxiing plane?

Can you hear the wretched ocean hacking at the shore?

Do you have dogs? Mosquitos? Extra sexual positions?

Monks robes? Choir boy uniforms? Have we managed to trash the place,

to tear down all the golden gates for pretty necklaces?

Down the street, an iron bedframe perches on the second story

of a burned out house. This is the new pornography.

A young woman sits across the table with a sharpened pencil,

ready to put her eyes out if she has to.

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