The trick is that you're willing to help them. The rule is to sound like you're doing them a favor. The rule is to create a commission system. The trick is to get their number. The trick is to make it personal: No one in the world suffers like you. The trick is that you're providing a service. The rule is to keep the conversation going. The rule is their parents were foolish, their children are greedy or insane. The rule is to make them feel they've come too late. The trick is that you're willing to make exceptions. The rule is to assume their parents abused them. The trick is to sound like the one teacher they loved. And when they say "too much," give them a plan. And when they say "anger" or "rage" or "love," say "give me an example." The rule is everyone is a gypsy now. Everyone is searching for his tribe. The rule is you don't care if they ever find it. The trick is that they feel they can.
Evening coffee, and my mother salts
her evening broth—not equanimity,
but the nick of her wrist—
and my mother bakes bread,
and my mother hobbles knees locked,
and my mother carries the soft stones of her years.
Fists balled in my pocket,
riding the century’s drift,
I carry a wish and a wound.
It's raining a noisy frost,
the inhabitants' cruel happy laughs,
their sighs and curses,
small upheavals that slide
from their bellies,
down to their freezing toes..
And the city trudges, and night
loosens its reins, a stolen bulldozer,
a tank full of clowns.
from the window now?
She touches her hair—
She caresses her beauty
like the coffin of a child.
O pen of late arrivals.
O knife of darkened temples.
O my scurrying, my drunken snakes.
I wash her hands with summer rain.
I remember the killed enemy.
I remember my good friends.