What Men Talk About

It wasn't the pile of dirty dishes
a week in the sink that marked us,
or the knee-high refrigerator
housing mustard, lunch meat,
fourteen bottles of good beer;
not the heap of rumpled blankets,
one in your room, one in mine,
wearing the robe of our smoke
and our sleep. In the moment
before she turned away, eyes rolled
to God, that's what my mother saw.
For her our squalor, and for my lover
the stash box in the kitchen cabinet,
and the dusty curtains drawn against the law
and the light, a line of empty bottles.

I can't find a nail to drive into the wall
and hang a picture of you and me.
These are only objects we lived with,
the dank particulars of our trailer home
where we blew a hundered evenings
I can't rewind, replay, reduce
to a list of dull and commonplace.

Listen: we found a hole. We crawled in.
We wrote our names on the walls
in ash and spit. We smoked ourselves
into wonder, heard our voices living
in our mouths, in the guitar, on tape;
wrote back every word we could catch
into a book of hiroglyphs. Laughed,
knelt on the wine-damp floor, foreheads
touching, circuitry enmeshed, aflame.

And just for a moment, flash-stamped
ont he motherboard of our brains,
we didn't need to talk, and our scars
didn't signify our rank, and we were just
two men, just there like constellations
or thought flashing along the circuits
and into the body, like two fists meeting
in something other than anger.