Noelle Kocot

The Newlyweds and the Funny Papers

It was an anagram for something,
Misery I think, that made me want to write
These really eighteenth century-sounding phrases
Like, "The sorrows of the learned"
Or "sleep is emptiness’ punctuated sentence."
Anyway, the jumble of bubbled letters was printed in red and blue,
And I found that for the moment it blotted out
The sunny wreck of a morning,
An ax of yellow foam languishing among the circulars
Fluttering into a sea of slow dust upon the stoop.
Wait, I’m lying, I must be, weren’t things beginning
To turn around? Please excuse me for one minute
As I must use the toilet. There.
You see you hold the key to my skeleton’s forbidden loom
On the days when nothing arrives on time,
When a gaggle of idiots proceeds to laugh
At a broken dream-child in a mirror.
Admit it, it is of no use to anyone, hurling
Those quizzical ashtrays against the wall,
Followed by the parted pleas of ecstasy
Intruding on the paisley light
That is, so to speak, an end in itself
Like a tray of teeny sandwiches swaddled in a tropical subtext.
Can’t we just slip it all off like a cat-suit?
What do the sprinkly statues of lawn animals think?
God these typewriter keys are dirty.
And there you go, drying your hair on the bedclothes again,
As if such magnificence could be said to ricochet
Off our bleakest hours.
Quite possibly, I’m musing on subjects of no consequence,
But I will remain hunched over like this
Until I am encouraged by sleek prophetic words
Seeping under the door like liquid cats.
And this morning further evaporates my worship
Of you, and even its delicate streaks on those bright, huge pages
Display more stamina than my certainty that we asked to be born.
Oh, you have me pegged all right, you who would have me
Fastened to the breastbone of a beggar tufted
All over with a fine down, and surely you would then exclaim,
"Hey, that’s no beggar—that’s my wife!"