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Best Famous Thomas Lux Poems

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by Thomas Lux | |

The Man Into Whose Yard You Should Not Hit Your Ball

 each day mowed
and mowed his lawn, his dry quarter acre,
the machine slicing a wisp
from each blade's tip.
Dust storms rose around the roar: 6:00 P.
M.
, every day, spring, summer, fall.
If he could mow the snow he would.
On one side, his neighbors the cows turned their backs to him and did what they do to the grass.
Where he worked, I don't know but it sets his jaw to: tight.
His wife a cipher, shoebox tissue, a shattered apron.
As if into her head he drove a wedge of shale.
Years later his daughter goes to jail.
Mow, mow, mow his lawn gently down a decade's summers.
On his other side lived mine and me, across a narrow pasture, often fallow; a field of fly balls, the best part of childhood and baseball, but one could not cross his line and if it did, as one did in 1956 and another in 1958, it came back coleslaw -- his lawn mower ate it up, happy to cut something, no matter what the manual said about foreign objects, stones, or sticks.


by Thomas Lux | |

Lucky

 One sweet pound of filet mignon
sizzles on the roadside.
Let's say a hundred yards below the buzzard.
The buzzard sees no cars or other buzzards between the mountain range due north and the horizon to the south and across the desert west and east no other creature's nose leads him to this feast.
The buzzard's eyes are built for this: he can see the filet's raw and he likes the sprig of parsley in this brown and dusty place.
No abdomens to open here before he eats.
No tearing, slashing with his beak, no offal-wading to pick and rip the softest parts.
He does not need to threaten or screech to keep the other buzzards from his meat.
He circles slowly down, not a flap, not a shiver in his wide wings, and lands before his dinner, an especially lucky buzzard, who bends his neck to pray, then eats.


by Thomas Lux | |

A Little Tooth

 Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
and four, and five, then she wants some meat
directly from the bone.
It's all over: she'll learn some words, she'll fall in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet talker on his way to jail.
And you, your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue nothing.
You did, you loved, your feet are sore.
It's dusk.
Your daughter's tall.


by Thomas Lux | |

I Love You Sweatheart

 A man risked his life to write the words.
A man hung upside down (an idiot friend holding his legs?) with spray paint to write the words on a girder fifty feet above a highway.
And his beloved, the next morning driving to work.
.
.
? His words are not (meant to be) so unique.
Does she recognize his handwriting? Did he hint to her at her doorstep the night before of "something special, darling, tomorrow"? And did he call her at work expecting her to faint with delight at his celebration of her, his passion, his risk? She will know I love her now, the world will know my love for her! A man risked his life to write the world.
Love is like this at the bone, we hope, love is like this, Sweatheart, all sore and dumb and dangerous, ignited, blessed--always, regardless, no exceptions, always in blazing matters like these: blessed.


by Thomas Lux | |

A Kiss

 One wave falling forward meets another wave falling
forward.
Well-water, hand-hauled, mineral, cool, could be a kiss, or pastures fiery green after rain, before the grazers.
The kiss -- like a shoal of fish whipped one way, another way, like the fever dreams of a million monkeys -- the kiss carry me -- closer than your carotid artery -- to you


by Thomas Lux | |

Torn Shades

 How, in the first place, did
they get torn-pulled down hard
too many times: to hide a blow,
or sex, or a man
in stained pajamas? The tear blade-shaped,
serrated, in tatters.
And once, in a house flatside to a gas station, as snow fell at a speed and angle you could lean on, two small hands (a patch of throat, a whip of hair across her face)- two small hands parting a torn shade to welcome a wedge of gray sunlight into that room.


by Thomas Lux | |

Plague Victims Catapulted Over Walls Into Besieged City

 Early germ
warfare.
The dead hurled this way look like wheels in the sky.
Look: there goes Larry the Shoemaker, barefoot, over the wall, and Mary Sausage Stuffer, see how she flies, and the Hatter twins, both at once, soar over the parapet, little Tommy's elbow bent as if in a salute, and his sister, Mathilde, she follows him, arms outstretched, through the air, just as she did on earth.


by Thomas Lux | |

Marine Snow At Mid-Depths And Down

 As you descend, slowly, falling faster past
you this snow,
ghostly, some flakes bio-
luminescent (you plunge,
and this lit snow doesn't land
at your feet but keeps falling below
you): single-cell-plant chains, shreds
of zooplankton's mucus food traps,
fish fecal pellets, radioactive fallouts,
sand grains, pollen.
.
.
.
And inside these jagged falling islands live more microlives, which feed creatures on the way down and all the way down.
And you, in your sinking isolation booth, you go down, too, through this food-snow, these shards, bits of planet, its flora and flesh, you slip straight down, unreeled, until the bottom's oozy silt, the sucking baby-soft muck, welcomes you to the deep sea's bed, a million anvils per square inch pressing on your skull.
How silent here, how much life, few places deeper on earth, none with more width.


by Thomas Lux | |

He Has Lived In Many Houses

 furnished rooms, flats, a hayloft,
a tent, motels, under a table,
under an overturned rowboat, in a villa (briefly) but not,
as yet, a yurt.
In these places he has slept, eaten, put his forehead to the window glass, looking out.
He's in a stilt-house now, the water passing beneath him half the day; the other half it's mud.
The tides do this: they come, they go, while he sleeps, eats, puts his forehead to the window glass.
He's moving soon: his trailer to a trailer park, or to the priory to live among the penitents but in his own cell, with wheels, to take him, when it's time to go, to: boathouse, houseboat with a little motor, putt-putt, to take him across the sea or down the river where at night, anchored by a sandbar at the bend, he will eat, sleep, and press his eyelids to the window of the pilothouse until the anchor-hauling hour when he'll embark again toward his sanctuary, harborage, saltbox, home.