The poem below appears in What's My Zip Code:
And now John stands sun
struck in Phoenix, thin, shaggy,
fierce eyes hooded by greasy hair,
as I climb from the rental car.
We watch each other.
A Mexican girl, about six, asks,
"Are you his probation officer?" No,
only his brother. "Is he retarded?
He moves his feet and laughs."
At dinner he picks at black crack
blisters on his hands. "It's from how
we take it—the matches." Showered,
dressed in my clean clothes, skull
shaved to a buzz, he orders
the biggest dinner at La Cucaracha.
"Dachshunds. I shape-shift into
a dachshund. Sexually. All over Phoenix
they are disturbed. My energy. I'm
a healer." The waitress, pouring coffee,
tips over the catsup. "She's a spy.
They're watching me. Susie paid
some guy 400 bucks to beat me up.
He beat up the wrong guy. A luminous
being, just out of prison. Who'd
been baptized there." Baptized?
"Baptized. Butt-fucked until
he broke free."
We drive to his old neighborhood.
Rayjan, a hippie carpenter clean
as Pat Boone, tells a laughing John
he will kick the shit out of him,
stomp on his head like a melon,
should have already, if he doesn't
stop scaring his wife. Making her cry.
He means it. John, hunch shouldered,
shuffles and grins, spins to cosmic
humor, apes the Indian dancers on tv.
John asks me to buy him a gun.
If I love him. I am his brother,
aren't I? Or am I a spy sent
to test him? "Tell Mom to get me
a gun. If she does I will heal her.
Physically and spiritually. The gun
is not for killing people. No,
I can do that mentally. Think
them dead and they die.”