In late October, warm air leaves the basement laundry settling in the third floor bedroom. The antiqued-blue chest, at the foot of the bed, juts from the topography like a granite invitation. Several species of shorts winter here during the kitchen's cold months. The nesting ground teems with cut-off denims, silk boxers, and one-hundred-percent-cotton chinos. Plaid baggies puff their pleats to scare interlopers. Mating pairs entice each other with floppy pockets. Bits of lint-like plumage, caught on the rough edges of old furniture, flicker in the humidifier's current. Nature provides this small chest and instills the instinct to return year after year. The shorts breed; they rear; they remain for months, fighting off wash-day trespassers, day-old underwear, wallets, wedgies, and wanderlust. In mid May, when the Bakhtiari herd their goats back into the highlands; when the Pennacooks hike north to Concord; when martins, swallows, terns, and warblers wing their way up coasts, my shorts and I explore the second floor, testing the breezes, warming to travel.
Winters The clicking of the new thermostats reminds you of crickets, me, of monkeys in a Pagsanjan River morning. They chirp at the dawn or (with a slight delay) at a wash of incandescence leaping from the bathroom. The comfort of carpet is evolutionary. A step up from the icy linoleum of the apartment in Cambridge. It seems like eons since your brick cave in Korea and my temperamental twin wood stoves in Maine. The ice age has passed. We have discovered civilization. We linger under the covers by choice, not from the fascism of frigid air. We can be lazy, like the corners of the quilt tucked under our chins. We can laugh at the sound of monkeys in the morning.
Dry Clean Only The suit is not wrinkled, it's rumpled. Its furrows and five o'clock shadows need no modern farmer nor the steel and steam of a woman's touch. No matter how carefully hung, attitude puckers the cuffs. Same day service is not as convenient as it sounds. Attention to appearance can be a noble path. When properly sized and tailored, sleeves drape like good towels from rods of natural shoulders. Linen compliments a fat man. Tropical nights dab the sweat from your forehead when cool, dry women offer to help with your laundry.
Jeff Roberts's Questions:
Are the opening lines sufficiently anchored in the real world to allow the
bodies of the poems to wander without losing the reader? Is the wandering
chronologically fluid? Do any of the images take you off the path? Do the
conclusions finish the poems or leave the reader hanging?