The monkey alarm bangs its cymbals every morning at 6:30
for two and a half minutes straight. I walk to work
through a field of white picket fences and bounce my finger
along the planks collecting splinters, dripping
a vibrant red. A trail of technicolor behind me.
At work, the love letters and water bills mosey
from my hand to the P.O. boxes. I sell stamps,
bounce my finger along the little hills of their edges,
edging up to the cut. A trail of time behind me.
Lunch break is in black and white.
The waitress at the diner makes the coffee
stronger every afternoon. I pay for my lunch
in taste buds. The loop of static from the jukebox
cues the end of my break.
To kill time, I write and flip through photo albums.
Pictures and newspaper clippings and funeral programs.
Loose diary entries framed by jagged cuts and rips,
film reel chunks, headshots, scraps of scripts float
like leaves on to a cutting room floor.
My darlings are not dead, they are deleted scenes.
I Cast Harry Dean Stanton as My Father
I love Harry Dean
for the Kentucky roots
that crisscross around his feet and knot up
back behind his ears. I want horses in my backyard,
bourbon in my blood, a drawl valley-deep.
I want to be born
with a kudzu umbilical cord that grows back
no matter how many times you gnaw it clean.
I want him
for all things West Irvine and Western
movie. Love the dirt-dust in the eye, suede leather jackets.
Love the guitar that only knows a G around a campfire
and a movie rain that soaks me up into his arms
as he shouts over the thunder, “Don’t you worry! This hat can hold ten gallons!”
Move over, John Wayne, my daddy’s brim is bigger.
I remember waiting for a Tuesday night and then
the next one and then the one after that for something new.
I remember it like it was a dream, my favorite show
about these rabbits. Daddy Rabbit was the star—
all suit no briefcase. Mommy Rabbit wore a pink robe.
Suzie Rabbit sat legs-crossed quietly on the end of the couch. See,
now she is a good girl.
The live audience fell out every time Daddy Rabbit
walked through the door like he was a Beatle. He stood
still till each clap was through and each hoop was hollered.
Mommy Rabbit only got claps in her dreams. Always too busy
ironing, looking through the clean steam at Daddy’s back.
I remember laughing at their conversations like I knew what funny was:
“I saw it near the harbor after it happened. It was raining.”
“I knew that was what happened each time I thought about it. Where was I?”
The laugh track lit me up like I was the neon sign itself.
My favorite part, I think, was their closing ritual.
Like the way a big family group hug cues the credits.
Daddy, Mommy, and Suzie Rabbit would sit all cozy
bumping knees in a little loveseat. They’d sit still
till the cheers were over, and when it was quiet enough
for all the grownups to lose interest, Mommy Rabbit
would reach past her side of the screen,
shush my mind and pat my little head goodnight.