Skeleton Crew

The best way to scare someone is to just
Be
Very
Still.

I was cast as a pirate
With burning embers in my beard
And my hand clasped in a hook
Stationed with my skeleton crew—
A motley crew of six, sparking pink sailors;
Deader than a doornail
Their mandibles and maxillas permanently
Fixed in a cackle.

I also had a treasure chest which was mostly used as a chair—
A throne to eat jerky and granola—
And a fence to mimic the side of my ship.

This was the sad state of the Jolly Roger.

I was supposed to squeeze myself in a bolt
From behind a wall to pop out in suspense
But I had all of the grace of the whale mocha
And flopped out onto my stage—
Tada.

Instead
I leaned right by the Wolf’s doorway and leaned on a pole
And stared until the boketto set in—
Eyes stiller than Ahab’s on the open sea—
And waited for my white whales.

Most people thought me a statue—
A will o wisp with a burning seaweed frame—
And waited for me to do
Something
Anything
Until the Fauve Devil dropped his screen
Making their knees buckle
And their larynges tumble.

My shift tended to end on the witching hour—
A time of true darkness—
Dragging my salty bones across the bridge
To only to scrub the barnacles left eating funnel cake
At the witching hour
Sunday morning
With no regard to my sleep schedule
Or any of the other ghouls on the bridge
On a Sunday morning.

You can stare down a barnacle covered in powered sugar—
Blooming algae mixed with iron’s rust—
And say every threat a hexed pirate can
Invoking Davy Jones himself
And be met with the most lackadaisical eyes
Confirming that the funnel cake costed $11.00.

Well, you can eat your $11.00 funnel cake on your own ship
Sailing towards the mangata illuminated
With your own demented pirate
But
You need to leave here before I put you in Davy Jones’ locker
Myself.

The Grass is Greener on the Wrong Side

The grass is greener on the wrong side—
In our garden bed choking our sleeping petunias
And obscuring our pumpkins and carrots.

The grass grows anywhere but where we want it—
In between the concrete poking out like an unshaven neck
And poking out of the red shavings by our trees.

The grass dresses itself in crowns of flowering weeds—
The banquet of the honey bees, the glen of the hornets
And feed for the hedge trimmer with its cord uncoiling.

The grass grows along the wall and the railing—
Flourishing in baths of gray water and storms
While our sunflowers are victim of a deer’s bite.

The grass grows like that of a prisoner with no razor—
It’s flows and ebbs like the tide brining in seaglass
Intermingled with the French fry boxes and bottle caps.

Where is our Hanging Gardens of Babylon?
Where is our Garden of Eden?
Where is our World’s Fair?

Why must we toil so hard for Cain’s offering?
Why must we toil so hard for Potter’s field?
Why must we toil so hard for Dis’ gate?

Dreams of buttercups and annuals
Are but rabbits in the shadow of talons.

Visions of grass and dandelions
Are the talons in the irises of rabbits.


Fort Kent, Maine

If you ever wonder where the highway starts
Before it snakes its way down the Eastern Seaboard
To dump out in the Florida Keys
Then Fort Kent would be the place.

You have to drive and drive and drive
Past the trees my Pepere talked about
Past the hills and lakes and rivers
Past where the cell phone calls America
To get to tippy-top of Maine
Bisected from New Brunswick by the St. John.

The signs read nous parlons française ici
In most windows of the emptied store fronts.
Everything that can be sold is on the border street
With fliers speaking of ployes and muskies
In the summer air with the sun dying down to the moon.

On the street there are two important buildings—
At least to me—
If you go towards the right if you’re facing Canada:
A fort and a house.
The fort gives the town its name and is run by the Boy Scouts.
The house right next to the fort was my Pepere’s —
La Maison Page—
It’s a B&B now and we took a tour of it while he pointed out all of the nooks that he grew up with
Before he went in the Air Force.

The town also has the memory of many Pages scattered about
In the Swamp Buck
In the Cemetery
And other places where cousins I wasn’t aware of met the end of their chapter.
We visited the boulder with our name carved in
With the litany of Pages listed as if it were caption of what the boulder meant rather than was
Á la that rock by Maine’s old capital.

I told often that I’m lucky that I am a Page
Because it is like a chimera of a generation
An occasion afforded a handful of times in a generation—
A direct line from France to the New World
And the Newer World as seen by a grandfather
When he was sent to Clair by decree of the empire to practice medicine
And saw a better opportunity in Fort Kent—
The place where eventually the highway would start.

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