Piano-Shaped Radio

The Tigers game on the radio
is a particular
even if you do not
to the words
or care in the least
about baseball.

Pappou had a small radio
in the perfect shape
of a miniature
upright piano:

tan wood
of skinny legs
grated metal.

The patio furniture
animated into an amplifier
of lazy
good-humor voices
speculating sonorously
with the occasional statistic
when we'd play gin rummy

taking a new card
each time
Pappou would say
too casually

I'll speculate with that
oh hey
I'll speculate with that—

the good-natured hustle.

The good nature of an impossible
of summer green
semi-sick with over-brilliance
and love
is a thing of uneasy balance

wafting in and out of the property lines
of perfection
and illness

sun-poisoned smoke
of burning radiators
of their first shop
somewhere deep in Detroit
near the old stadium

or the sweet living breath
of their hottest-day-of-the-year
cigarettes that killed them in the end
but decked the good-time Junes
of their day
in flowerbeds and watermelon slices
garnished in

A ballpark
a backyard
more like a field
with a long slope to the
pond where as in dreams
unthreatened deer came to kneel
visibly on the close-by bank
of the small island across—

their bodies
gliding to rest
in the pneumatic slow motion
of playing cards sliding down
cushioned by air.

We went back
to the split-level mansion
as we remembered it
of course

and the backyard field
as it always goes
much smaller—

the property lines
clearly defined

the grass
not so bright

the multiple patios
by footsteps.


Woodlawn Cemetery borders on
being too bright—

each blade of grass
or metal
radiates at a maximum
to suggest that afterlives
at least
in the glinting of mirrors.

The Greek section
is vaguely defined
but apparent in the distinct clusters
of last names—

words holding smaller
telling clusters of all the right letters
from the alphabet.

Woodlawn Cemetery borders on
the State Fairgrounds
across Woodward Avenue.

Were it not for Woodward Avenue
and its splitting agents
pained buses approaching combustion

and murderers
with unbalanced checkbooks
and housewives
with cuts on summer feet

Woodlawn Cemetery and the State Fairgrounds
would blend together strangely
without mediation
in conflicting modes of
desolate visitation—

different styles entirely
of pomp
and pulse
and preference
of floral arrangement.

The State Fairgrounds
in empty day
shine evenly—

the nothingness
reflects backward
like infinite rows of
aluminum cans
whose returnable deposits
have long since

and the cemetery
matches this energy
or charged-up lack
with an infinite assortment of buried

wallets and discontinued cosmetics
and sadly decontextualized

I could experience this transaction
every single night
if I so desired
in the middle of the road
like a conduit
holy and broken

and some nights I do.

Though most nights I just stay home
with the April windows open
after dinner
attracting the night birds
and news anchors

but tell me
from time to time
doesn't enjoy just to
sit in a room that's
burning its brightest
and let it all pull away
strand by strand
darkness is
visibly growing
inside the glassy lamp
beside you

like chocolate
settling in milk?