Excerpt from 'Your Time Has Come'


By Joshua Beckman

Verse Press

Copyright © 2004 Joshua Beckman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-9723487-5-1


Chapter One

Come up from the subway and there it's just glass. Light from the ferry's window mixed along the floor. Alone we wait to be delivered. Two new sparrows- the tourists don't know they're new. That Russian boat goes everywhere and then sits here still and peaceful. They'll spend the summer crushing the garden- a steam let off slowly. Seagulls beside ferry boat. They're people-watching She thought there were too many poem- now she's lonely waiting to write one. Mr. Crazy stands in the elevator wanting my opinion. Up on the fire escape I was thinking how to live another day without a job. He died so young, I should tell him what happened. Oh atlas look you forgot my island. They keep calling but I'll just sweat it out here in my little apartment. Antic motorboat we're not impressed with your speeding. Lightning hit the island so I left with the birds to watch it from here. A quiet rain soaked my books- even the dogs didn't see it coming. Late at night the TV flashing. No money left, then just tell a good story. On couch, searching for nickels, storm echoes. Too tired to write and this hot apartment keeps me awake. Mice in walls. Better there than here. I won't miss that gnawing but I probably won't forget either. Rain over Jersey we watched you from the roof. Cigarettes will kill you. She said it so sweetly I wanted another. They could take over the place, but the mice can't tell when I've gone away. The sound of children outside my window- come and listen. One song after another, those singers seemed so lonely. Why want quiet and then keep asking that question. Mouse on two feet, your time come! On boat with umbrella feeling practical. Indians swimming in Manhattan Bay years ago. These poems won't work with memory, so why won't you call? A Filipino freighter filled the city with Filipino stuff. Ferry moving quickly, blessed fish's memory. Over Kill Van Kull Jersey stacks smoke all night long. Yeah I live here, but so does that rotten television. Sweat all day- the sun doesn't like you either. Rotten pad, you're too small for so many poems. Manhattan, gathered by water, you are useless buildings and only slightly salty. Sure you're waking up somewhere strange but I do that every day. The air is always there and my fan knows just what to do with it. Those people were like ants, waiting for me to say something stupid they could drag back home with them. I'm no better than anyone else, but I could be less afraid. Don't be concerned, live another week and then be concerned. Chris can't even remember what he said to me, and now he wants something new. Hum of the universe I'm trying to sleep. Sad story, my shoes sitting at the end of the room and me looking at them. You didn't know me so why did I think acting like someone else would be more interesting. I wanted contemplation and foolishly grabbed for my pen. Now that I'm older the hot sun reminds me of other hot suns. Years ago it burned. The missionary on the boat was so beautifully patient, but it wasn't his God that made him that way. After dinner the missionaries don't talk about God, they talk about us. I will sleep and you will tell me about it later. Spring in sandals. Summer in sandals. Who do you love? Mr. Crazy knows it's summer- why else sit on the corner. Jonesing all day and kids on the boat playing with a dime bag. It's a chill and a rain beyond the island, mostly a chill. That memory is so crushing, why write me letters I already know. Foolish boat ignoring the water you push through. Getting mean over quarters, then tearing the chicken apart, is it really me? Light darts about the cabin. Out from the coast waves play, unprepared. I keep thinking of that one time over and over again. Is that shallow or deep? Plants in hallway near empty elevator I'll save you. He imagined a satellite passing by nightly. I'll look too. Talking about the weather became trite, which was sad. Someone planted all those flowers and I like them. That's perfume. I'd know it anywhere by its smell. It stopped raining. Now let's bring the moped crosstown. Mike's late to the bar. The park is warm and empty. He better not be there. Foreign kissing couple you could have done that anywhere. The bird was more interested in them than I was. And I knew what they were doing. Even the mean waitress feels the breeze. I think you will hate the neighborhood, but visit anyway. I was early and watched the people rushing. Be early more often. Some man on bicycle playing his radio. What world doesn't he rule. No one sleeps above the water. Let's try this summer. Behind the building summer's bitter grasses and afternoon approaching. Tiny plants slightly folded- a stream let off the sound of birds. Twisting river, from up here your deception seems honest. Every time I leave the house I write a poem- but I was there all day. She was so sweet and happy to see me- all because of some little story you told her. All day on the ocean without finding anything. That will help them sleep. Sun off the heads of a thousand cars and one white van in a ditch with sun shining off it too. Mad happy swallow where'd you find that friend? A new boat sleeps in that place each night. The current there must be mild. To watch you open and to know you'll open and close again. All is flora. It felt so good to get my sunburn, but now I've got it. Flying a kite off his roof- I'm worried he'll fall. So hot tonight even the cops eat ice cream. A bad accident preparing to meet me, it knows how I think. The fan keeps me cool and outside light burns all the dead weeds. Sun, today the smart made shorts from pants. In my new apartment this morning someone different. Fog horn and empty freighter. Along the coast a mild sun. Train rushing to Chelsea is thinking like me. Waking late in the high gray morning, traffic passing. What's so funny about peace love and understanding? Good question. Some barge called The Maya pushed through the bay. Our promenade was the sweetest promenade. Don't be mad, I'm in bed thinking of you at work. Are you enjoying getting in trouble for what we did last night? It's just a season- they always come back. Leaves rotting out beyond the city- a dog resting in that heat. Storm waiting for her to leave, then raining. They think school will make them smarter. I like how they think that. Some guy trying to get the game on the radio- now we all want to hear it. Did everyone skip work today or is it just me? We could power a city with this energy, but it'd be a waste. They let me out of the bar to think but I went right back in. Long night and I'm crying for home, wherever that is. Those drugs don't have anything to do with our happiness. Now I really sound like a junky. In the hills light filling the hills a moment before I meet anyone. We went on what we had to go on. The sun and thoughts similar to older thoughts. Clouds casting small shadows on fields. Behind my parents' house wind moves ferns in chorus with singing birds. Hidden in low shrubs the stream still flows, though now it's the birds we hear. They say the sun will burn the fog off. Long days of that happening to come. River by highway, year after year I forget you, but someone doesn't. Before she returned I stepped slowly through the yard as if to say, here an entire hour passes. Morning and deer quietly crush herbs as they walk to the river. Branches down in harmless bunches. Phone lines and rain. The smell of them painting boats and of damp shade, moss. From this car we watch everything. Acting crazy after rain the birds just like home. What if the fog is gone when I get back? I'll probably forget, that's what. If a tree falls in the woods etc. and so too with friends. Hour after hour of hot sun, all I have left-ideas. When you return and perfect your stories it seems so sad. Quiet birds- we still have hours of sleep and of wakefulness. One layer after another, lush trees set the stage for some green play of birds. Today they waved at us for fun. I wouldn't have any of it. That's me, all self-important and lonely. I need to get out from under all this thinking, where've you been hiding? Returning to Staten Island and that weak moan- a foghorn miles away. They let the TV go all night and just sat on the stoop ignoring it. Are you gone or is it just me paying attention to roving drunks and laughing with them? Two bikes in a pile. I've been away and they've been waiting. Clouds gather over Wall Street for lunch. Some hippie thought I was an accountant. Maybe he's right. How strange to be fighting this voice when it spears. Friends meet in the city. I'll wait here for two days then start writing. I love how people keep dying and I can spend all day thinking about her petty comment. Everyone's got a lover waiting to come back mystically changed. So my day is set, I'll smoke something and walk around. Who knows what everyone's doing tonight. Well, I'm in bed trying to write these poems. The phone just waited there to pull me in to your sad complaint. Sore feet. I was so stoned 1 walked all the way home. Twice a day distrust, twice again tomorrow- no wind can blow it away. Hot concrete after rain. Today I'll spend the day stopping myself from doing what I want. Arcade of light laid down on water. A sea of strangers stand around. I don't care about anyone else this week, but I'm not complaining. Back to the city the cool wind and the cleanest air seemed so temporary. I wanted to stop writing and the poem said it's a beautiful blue night stop writing. (Continues...)

Excerpted from YOUR TIME HAS COME by Joshua Beckman Copyright © 2004 by Joshua Beckman. Excerpted by permission.
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