Keyboard (Sarai’s 9/11 poem)

A keyboard,
a Raggedy Ann doll,
a clock.
Two days I watched,
the first without interruption
except for what
biology required.
The second cleaning
house with the t.v.
the only thing I
could concentrate
Sick from watching,
my head swelling
from images,
firefighter #9468,
few people telling
the real truth,
of body parts
or if they did,
edited for our delicate
The doctor who siad
what you see on t.v.
is nothing to what
the devastation
The man who saw
thirty to forty people
Two days I watched
bootleg footage
of freelancers who went
where they weren’t
supposed to go.
Long, slow close-ups –
all I could make out
a keyboard,
a Raggedy Ann,
a clock.



There is no point
in going to the doctor
with trifles,
the stress will do
more damage
than any cure
might do good.
If I collapse
on the floor
with a heart
give me an aspirin
and take me
to the hospital.
If I break a leg
I’ll probably
have to go.
If all my hair
falls out
take me to
the doctor.
If there is one
hair left,
until it drops.



Biting cold,
rain close by.
People imagine
this doesn’t happen
in California.
The result of successful advertising.
The same ads that always
scared me,
beaches littered
with bare flesh.
I could not fathom
being in such a crowd.
It has kept me away
from rock concerts
and New York City,
especially Times Square
at New Year’s.
And European travel
that necessitates
tour buses.
I have an aversion to groups,
always say I am not
a pack animal.
I like room
to move around
Need air
and space
and quiet
to know what
I am thinking,
the right
to sit down
and stare
without intervention.



Driving along
on our anniversary
I say, “talk to me,
so I feel like I’m
in a relationship
instead of a truck.”
I can tell by your
face you want
to steal that line
and tell not to.

Later, sitting on
the bench
like old people –
and enjoying it –
I say we are
the big movie.

You like that one
and ask what
the earlier line
was, but by then
we have both
forgotten it.



I see a baby in a stroller
who looks like he will grow up
to think like Woody Allen –
if he doesn’t already.
Sagging jowls before the age
of one, and eyes that say
it is all too much trouble
to care about.
I picture a kind of Borscht Belt
humor about poopy diapers,
a two-foot world view
taking Seuss sardonically.
His mother does not seem to know,
pushing him about as she shops for books,
he is probably ridiculing her in his head
for what she is reading.



I hope I die
when the cupboards
are clean,
not today
decades hence.
Still, at their
worst, I take
a certain pride
in leaving a
pretty tidy life.
Not the kind
with floors &
floors of the house
stuffed & crammed
with unnamed secrets.
The only secrets
I have held
were in my heart
& what they were
I’m not sure
I could say
even now.

Some people
don’t care
what is found
out when
they are gone.
But I do.
Not so much
what is known
as how it’s
treated when
I am not here
to ferry it
about in life.
The way they
read the uncle’s
love letters
which he had
I hope that I
have time
to dispense
of things as I
see fit,
or dispose of them
I haven’t any love letters
to worry about.
To sad a fact
to think about.

A woman I know
does, and thinks
it best
her grown sons
not walk into
that hidden room
where her life
lived before
their birth.

I wonder
if there might be
someone I will
never meet,
who will want
to know me.
Finding my journals
in some dusty box,
perhaps my favorite
pen down at the
all dried out.