The Cat Burglar
The cat burglar He steals in Holding a weak knife In his hand. He sneaks into my mouth When I’m eating lunch, Sneaks into my heart When I sin. Long I wait For the burglar alarm But all I hear is A ticking in the night. The cat burglar Steals in Though my eyes are Open wide.
For my father You have filled the room with Hungarian music. None of us can hear ourselves think. You sit in your big brown chair smiling. You’ve made us involuntary Hungarians.
The Salamander Speaks
“Everything is the same, except it’s like being 2 inches tall.” — D.T. Suzuki, on Zen The stone is the stone The river is the river Misery is misery To me, there is no realization There is nothing to be understood When they send the rent I rip it up When the landlord comes I throw him out the window When the police come I surrender A trial is a trial A cell is a cell Out of prison everything is different A stone is no longer a stone A river is no longer a river When the rent comes I pay it When the landlord comes I bow I am no longer 2 inches tall I am someone in the next room.
One day a guy delivered a television set to my house — a little wiry guy who smiled a lot. I offered him some apple juice and he accepted, and we sat in the kitchen and talked.
“Do you ever go to the Village?” he asked, after a while.
“Sometimes,” I said.
“You know that place on Bleecker Street?”
“The place where you go downstairs and sit at a table and get a blow job — for free.”
“Yeah? Who gives it to you? A man or a woman?”
“I don’t know. You never see them. But it sure feels good.” He smiled his brightest smile.
I haven’t been able to get this out of my mind. I can see this man so clearly, walking down those steps, sitting at a worn, brown table, placing his hands palms down, throwing his head back, smiling, walking out. Such trust, in the face of such mystery! As if Jesus was washing his feet.