Purpleheart
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On the long lazy summer afternoons when it was one hundred twelve
Too hot to live, too hot to think (about anything but the air conditioning)
When even the pool could not hope to quell the sunfire
The lord of the corner of the sofa under the lamp perched
Enamored with every portion of a moment of seeing the peerless players
Come in under par on the malachite slopes


While I with my fascination-block, screen the same green
Piloted my passel of horrible creatures cartridge-bound
To yet another victory of my own


With his block of peltogyne (a fickle fluid,
it shatters and fractures with invisible grain,
never too much a challenge for him)
He would bring into being all number of wonders. Flutes,
Kaleidoscopes and soundboxes and doorchimes
Sense-makers — in the way of the lunettes between the universe and our insides


purpleheart.jpg

He was a magician. His wands and staves the lathe
The planer and sander and circular saw
Thatch-chinned and possessed of a power of charm
Purple-hearted, clay-piped,
Mind one world over by way of the emerald bowl


I recall hearing tell of how in the reckless invincibility of a childhood of glass
He would speed down rural country roads
Douse his headlights coming to an intersection
"In case there was a cop there," (this was always
some sort of fascination of mine, of the concept of priorities)


Or his bionic arm, steel plate
Grafted to bone with screws
From the time he wrecked a motorcycle ("Never again,"
he would say, so there was an uncrossable brink after all)


Or the clot in his brain when I was between
The spaces when you're between that space and a kid and that space and adulthood
Where they said he wouldn't make it. But he did, then


He was there for my capsong
Cherrytopping my circuitous journey
To valueless paper (in the classic sense
of the word value, but I would never trade a moment or undo it)
Cheering inappropriately while I played
Too full of love to be hushed


I always thought maybe he would build his own coffin
Take the measurements, fit and sand
Make his final saw-drops
Give himself an elegant bed
Buried with his clubs


But there's no time when all the actors in your body
Close the curtain
Take their bows
Blow out the candles
And depart all at once


The last time we talked was itself, forevermore.

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