John Godfrey

Blue Blue

Lapful of cumulus in
_______French-blue sky
Pink baby pendules
_______do not rain
Sun conks out
All guidance pre-lingo’s
_______petty shawl

Wine stain infests
_______in some wise
the ramp I re-dream on
Few specks
_______not of light
Every August
_______nose falls
Many ticks
_______Now’n then tock

Times behind me
_______lose factuality
Vigor in memory
_______pleases some
Feels as if heaven
_______is open today

Heavy air sticks
_______to hot body
Living room tree
_______pleads water
Too-tired minuet
_______Mosquitos kiss
Blue __blue __ dark

Nifty Walls

Harbor so far
_______Night in a jar
Lightning will be
_______lightning afterall
I wear my pants as well
_______as pants people do
My sarong says where
_______I sleep

Wets me not, the sky
_______Streetside trees
too, too dry
_______I replace my bib
with a spray
_______of fireballs
No shit, what a night

I been wonder
_______kwaz the name
you looking for?
_______It’s Burns?
From what I still see
_______rayon velour, nifty
walls in these halls

Wouldn’t butter melt
_______Fie on your mopeds
_______Fie your snot
At sea, me
_______unfocused desire
Stairs make sounds
_______not my pogo stick
Inside the door
_______my teeth are gold


Trees less filthy after violent rain
Ships ride in moon rings
All of Olympus the Vedic crew and relativists
swallow soft matter
Safe house stinks of Shinola

Some noisome relic behind my eyes
Panty line of blue dips between street facades
So few children braid street door numbers anymore
Matrilineal dialects gone makes bugs in my head
Vapid mainlanders unaware walk on hand-helds

Make me merciful O Dog in pandemonium
integrity and ill health to forgive those
who do not know they are surrounded


Breath-temp gust moist lips late with runny hours
Pre-existing borders I can’t tell from
rhymes I hear in a vacuum
Roscoe comes on after dark air heats waves up
Let’s say my next step is finality and
the one after is empty staves

By autumn I don’t mean powdered bones
don’t mean uproot olives
Decline tells in a tarnished yellow on masonry
Shawls in late afternoon fruit plucked with insight
Multicolor ladders wait for frost
How many earth days equal winner take all

Horizon at your-guess-as-good-as-mine level
Leery dissent of the glut come to rest mid rotation
In all directions unhoneyed speech
Table shines under your hand that spreads like
a puppet airman on the last planet he would ever expect

Granite Bowels

I count lit windows
Less dread sparkles on lapels
Water whirls by river railing and
first-quarter moon clings
like an off-white crawling man

I cut myself off at the Sunoco
I imagine myself sun-baked lizard
When I am young and flight then
is more than survival
Now it is to defend pillow case
and boudoir of a goddess
Trace of black lip gloss
in her granite bowels

Acute feelings of my body
don’t come from my body anymore
Glass and steel without glass humors me
Die or cover my head with scaffolds
Foreboding is a comic kind of reckless

So, I want ululating grief?
Far from frontlines far from peace

Photo: John Sarsgard

John Godfrey

John Godfrey goes back a ways. He led workshops at the Poetry Project in ’76, ’82-’83 and ’13. He was a mentor ’16-’17. His last collection is The City Keeps: New and Selected Poems 1966-2014 (Wave Books, 20016).