February 2000

Philip Dacey


Philip Dacey Philip Dacey 's sixth and seventh books were published in April, The Deathbed Playboy (Eastern Washington University Press) and The Paramour of the Moving Air (Quarterly Review of Literature). He's currently completing a book-length sequence of poems about Thomas Eakins. 

Car Love    Click to hear in real audio

Is this knob organic or not?
  You're shifty. I'm quick to brake
for love, for room to maneuver.
  The history of the car in America,
the history of America in the car. The smaller
  the car the faster the windows steam.
Imagine a policeman's beam, two
  transfixed moths and a candleflame.
The advantage of knees bending
  like a chicken's. The tight squeeze
of heavy traffic. Only one person
  can steer at a time. Passion
amplified by speakers in stereo.
  We're on the road, somewhere between
here and there, believers in process, change,
  not the square solidity of beds,
that illusion for squares, but arrival
  where the light is always green.
What's coming up fast from behind?
  Deer crossing. Steep grade.
The memory of upholstery, personal weave,
  some checkered pattern on skin
a temporary love tattoo or
  industrial product mythologized
comfortably into a moral universe.
  Through the windshield, that transparent
forehead, a mad scientist could study
  the sparking brain of the monster.
Above us, the little eye of a god, switched off.
  So where's your operator's license?
No certification, though my daddy
  lifted his hands for seconds from the wheel,
me in his lap, and I thought I was driving.
  We've been dreamed into existence
by this sleeping car. Isn't the gauge
  on empty yet? More air, more air, the price
this summer night a whining audience
  who love blood. If you stretch back
far enough you can see the cooler voyeur stars.
  To be each other's lit dashboard
in a Great Plains dark surround,
  let's shift into this moment
forever, what people do
  to get a ride. Even our ghosts
will have their thumbs out.



Laudate    Click to hear in real audio

When she flicked
honey dust
all over
my crotch
with a brush
made of feathers,
I felt like
the Virgin Mary
at the conception
of Jesus,
the Holy Ghost
a flutter of wings
between her legs.




Philip Dacey: Poetry
Copyright � 2000 The Cortland Review Issue 10The Cortland Review