I Am A Rock / What I Am


Neighbours never guessed that we lived in a lapsed

circus, tattered canvas disguised as a rowhouse.

Where there should have been marvels,

a circular emptiness.


I used to barricade my room. I made tapes

from radio, dial chasing the space before songs —

in the leap to record, a vestige of trapeze,

static resembling applause.


Imagine there has long been no audience,

and the ringmaster has evicted the clowns, uncaged

the animals, and lurks under the bleachers,

a sword in his teeth.


Maybe they knew. Possibly every home is a drywall

tent, rank with bewildered elephants, floors strewn

with popcorn and paper trumpets. The ring

of the doorbell the signal to sweep.


When Paul Simon and Edie Brickell married, I thought

that everything would be okay, because my mix tapes

were, between surges of static, skilled enough

to sway whoever orchestrated love.