Glen Armstrong

Midsummer XXXII

Glen Armstrong

We could dress up in gowns
             And get married
Dress up in wings and commune
             With owls
             Undress Bathe and towel off
             In the midday sun
We could straighten our ties
             And crunch numbers
             Until five o’clock
             Then come home to drink
             Martinis and crunch
             Colors and shapes until it’s time
             To once again start crunching
             Each other between the sheets
We could dress up as January
             February Canary and April
We could take a vacation
             And stay in a castle
We could dress as the floor
             That Julia’s nightgown replaces
The empty room through which a single bodily hair
             Has its say
We could dress as fingers or legs
             And run
             Through the carefully
             Reconstructed ruins
             Looking for hands or torsos
             To hold us.

Requiem for Milton Bradley

Glen Armstrong
It’s easier to let December
             remember for us.
It’s easier to let the television be.
It’s cold this evening,
             and each of the plastic pines
             slows its otherworldly heartbeat.
In our churches and our shopping malls,
             with our children and what’s left of our parents,
             we raise our voices from the white,
             woolen blanket that customarily smothers song.
             We embrace defeat.
Not that it’s easy, mind you.
             It’s just easier to roll the dice
             with our pockets turned out
             and our shoelaces broken.
The unspeakable can be sung.
             The little ones can intuit the rules
             of games that will do them in:
             wooden soldiers, Mystery Date.
             At this late hour, let us fail.
             Remember the sticky side of the tape,
             the scraping sound that cardboard makes,
             the second verse of the hymn.

GLEN ARMSTRONG is a Detroit-area poet and musician.  He teaches at Oakland University and co-edits Cruel Garters.