G. C. Waldrep


Color the wildebeest a Vendler mallow.
Trip-trap. I am waiting for a small boy to come along the railroad grade.
There is nothing about separation I haven't already swallowed.
It pleases me to think mine is a blueglass aesthetic,
that in a small town at the edge of the mountains
a festival is being held in my honor.
Still I wait. This is one way of rediscovering the small motions,
of extending the music. To my left a horse with a face like a bitten oleander.
To my right the onyx of the trestle.
Between 3 & 4 p.m. I make up names for bars:
There's a steady demand for nomenclature.
My scripture is Linnaeus's thyroid, rescued from the Saracens
by the mugwort blight.
I read it like a Hammerstein waltz.
The boy I am waiting for is at the movies, a double feature
in which all the actors wear each others' scarves.
He is not sure how he wants to proceed.
He is awaiting clearer word from my weather balloon.
For personal levitation he has borrowed a cretaceous esplanade.
At this point in the chamber opera graduate students sing Oklahoma! in blackface,
Helen vacations in fashionable Troy; the Saracens
take back Calgary. I am no longer sure about continental drift.
There is nothing left for the interpreters to do, nothing left to interpret:
dejected, they take up various tasks in the garden,
trimming, weeding, bearing away.
The overpass is my therapy, the underpass my feed.
When the boy comes I will leave enough of him to send home to his parents.
I will argue the inevitability of the Dixie Highway.
I will whisper a dialectical critique of the muscles in his shoulder.
I will place a coin under his red tongue.



This poem is my valentine to John Yau.