Light (an Ars Poetica)

for Basquiat, Wylie Dufresne, Bob Viscusi, Trish Hicks

We all do the same ol’ same ol’ same. 
(Some don’t.) Basquiat
Dubbed it SAMO©. The buildings made
Of bricks the poems about poetry.
Viscusi said the hyphenated can’t stop yapping
About Nonna, gravy, the Old Country.
At St. John’s Rec Center, all the fathers
Are missing poems and all the poems are missing
Fathers. When the sun dies, so do the birds 
And the trees fall fast as a butcher’s knife.
So I don’t eat food anymore, I eat light.
The saying goes: you can tell a good chef
By how he cooks an egg. What is the saying
For poets? When Wylie Dufresne 
Cooks eggs, they come out cubed.       
When Jean-Michel paints eggs, Joe’s red eyes
Are in the skillet. SAMO© left his darkness
At the speed of light… 
But who is The Truth, The Light?  
We don’t discuss these things in our family, 
And my mother 
Thinks I’m perfect. We’ve mastered burying 
The dark stuff deep inside. Mom breathes smoke 
To keep it at bay, I eat light, a stack of pancakes: 
A stack of light—coffee, juice, Gatorade: 
A mug, a glass, a bottle of light—spaghetti 
With meatballs: strings of light with ornaments of light.

Copyright © 2013 by Michael Cirelli. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 24, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.