By Joe Weil

I scrapped the glue off my

Father's workshoes

Every day for thirty years


And when he was dead

And sufficiently prayed over


By the Knights of Columbus

And the Holy Rosary Society


I went to work:


I built his effigy out of glue

And he stood in the yard

A wonder to all the neighbors

The ultimate glueman,

A monument to glue:


His ex-boss came by

And he was impressed!

He offered me a thou

"Good P.R.," he said,

"We'll stick him in the parking lot."

I told him to give me a week to think about it,

And he drove away,


I had more glue

So I went to work:


I sculpted a time clock,

And constructed the mortgage,

The failure to pay the mortgage,

The extra job,

Driving a taxi

The severed thumb,

Heād lost to a compactor,

My motherās old dresses

From the Salvation Army,

The asses he kissed

Including that boss's.


And I made Uncle Sam

With the wings of an eagle

And the tail of a serpent.

Uncle Sam was well-hung and desired

To dick some poor boy

Up the ass,

So I made the draft notice

And the frozen landscape of Korea

And the shitty U.N.-issued rifle

That didn't work

And my dad, eighteen

Frightened, freezing,

And the corpses of Chinamen

Piled high on the border,

And I made the lungs of my father

Ruined by breathing

That glue for thirty years.


And a week passed

And the boss came back,

"What's all this shit?" he asked,

"I offered to buy the statue, not this shit."

I told him there was no charge for the extra.

"I just don't want it," he said,

"Just give me the statue."

And I told him I couldn't break up the set.

If he wanted the statue, the rest came with it

So he called me a fool

And he drove away.



By Joe Weil


You know the same odd comforts I do,

having grown up in ratty apartments,

ramshackle two family frames:


How a piece of torn linoleum

can feel so good

against an itching heel.


Just swing your naked foot

till it makes a breeze,

grazing the tear in question

(It's always under the kitchen table).


And there is my favorite

speckled sauce pan in which I make

cream of tomato soup, and the tea kettle

that produces a noise

like the wings of a mourning dove.


And, speaking of birds,

you, too, love the jay,

trust how he pierces winter

with his cry,

trust how his splendidly harsh voice

always arrives before he does.


But I'm stalling.

This poem will not out,

though I am both midwife

and belly to it,

though I insist on

boiling more hot water.


How can I write a love poem?

It would have to give off

heat and spice the way your body does.

It would have to raise the dead.


You make me laugh so hard

milk pours from my nose!

You know the suffering

that can't be tamed,

the river we live next to.


Your nipples are more beautiful to me

than the Sunday arts and leisure section!


I have fallen in love with you

at all hours of the day.

For instance, at the stroke of three

when you stretch behind your desk,and forsake the Russian novel,

your back arching, your yawn displaying

a single gold filling;


or how you stood last year at five oāclock

in a mint green trench coat

waiting at the train station,


and I was Robert Walker

stepping out from the train

rain pelting my leather jacket,

as you ran, bleeding Mint green to the puddles,

to give me one of those

cold and clammy rain kisses

that taste a little bit like clay.


I put my arm around you

and thought: Recompense!

Recompense! And Charles Laughton swung

from the bell of my heart crying: "Sanctuary!"

(for mercy is not the least of your attractions).


yes--Hollywood certainly

enters into this

Look how the long table of Heaven's brightest stars

applauds us:

James Cagney, Irene Dunne,

Saint Augustine, Ethel Barrymore,

They all approve!

Even Spencer Tracy winks

And the warm fuzzy audience of ghosts

proceeds out into the lobby

under cherubs and Greek nymphs

the men all wearing hats, lighting their cigarettes

in the manner of Charles Boyer.

how can I deny all of history

conspires to make me love you

Everything aids and abets my love

even that river to which I too often return

to see my face reflected in the water,

above the gold carp nibbling the muck,

a taste of clay on my tongue.

Volume 8 Index