One day, the horrors
Spill-O had seen or imagined,
were mercifully dimmed
to his eyes.
"Not that thought, not that one either."
These are his careful days,
when to act is to awaken every insult
that came before.
Grace omits emotion,
while old voices murmur murder
on the periphery.
Spill-O became a new man.
He took that new man for a walk
through friends and flies, around streetcorners
where the traditional confusions reign.
He boycotted the telephone and the park.
It felt like his last days on earth,
between the collapse of his resistance
and the collapse of the rest.
He swayed mutely down the street.
He puts himself to bed,
carries the bag, helloes the good morning.
These acts can be made new only carefully.
The obvious man
still longs to lurch at the lurching carrot.
A doorman wearing a hat and a medal shouts
"When will you see you're not welcome?"
at him. What sort of conclusions
can the obvious man draw from that?
But above the obvious man,
in the high weightlessness, Spill-O can see clear
to Coney Island's parachute drop
and he can see there are no parachutes left.
The obvious man indulges his character,
says "Why not?"
and eats himself alive down the street.
Like he's got forever to act out
his uncondemnable offenses.
The obvious man thinks it's a blink,
but a whole year's gone blind.
Careful. Spill-O relies on subtle reins
and careful days.
He stops the crying engines.
He stops everything except a kind of quiet.
He pens apologies to the women he has wronged
with his temper and his tantrums.
It hurts, but the pain feels
like a promising experiment.
Grace is the continuity of a squint now.
It's the Subtle Spill-O's chance,
if he does have one.