Satie

Between Walt’s scab and the corner

tobacconist is a purple plywood airplane

in someone’s backyard and three brushstrokes

by de Kooning circa 1983, a single day

turned into ribbons of red and blue, the blue

now and then scraped down to white

or a shadow of buried yellow,

morning in Springs. Or morning in Morgantown,

where Joni Mitchell spent a season

listing reasons to leave until his

name appeared on the page (shh: Jackson Browne).

Who else is buried at Springs?

Walt fell while being chased on the playground

and keeps losing his Band-Aid,

which is like breathing heat into cupped

hands until you’re dizzy and spinning

in flurries at afternoon’s end.

De Kooning forgot his name

but not the moment his wrist should turn

and end the stroke, the easing of

pressure as the brush softened

to air and a few bristles then nothing,

though he stood there for hours so full

of forgetting the canvas began

to dry. Walt says, “One more Band-Aid, please”

as Amanda dabs Neosporin with a finger,

now smudging with her thumb

to keep the scab from cracking, from

starting to bleed again. I’m off

to the corner for more Band-Aids and

cigarettes, and to see if anyone’s

won the Lotto. What to whistle

when the weather calls for “Je te veux”

but all I’ve got on my iPod is

If You’re Feeling Sinister? Oh, well (shrug):

“Like Dylan in the Movies.” Good enough.

About James Harms:

James Harms is the author of seven books of poetry including Comet Scar, to be published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2011. He is a recipient of an nea fellowship, the pen/Revson fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes, among other honors. A Professor of English at West Virginia University, he also directs the low-residency mfa program in poetry at New England College.