The century I once read about

We have come to need

ever-littler men

with ever-littler hammers

to fix things –

to climb through the keyhole

when your car won’t start

and shine a flashlight

on the computer inside.

Sometimes a bolt is loose

or a screw,

and he has a mini-

tool for that.

I’ve met these men.

One used to work for

Lucky Charms, a

cush job, but

as luck would have it,

he got downsized.

To our naked landlord, seller of cuckoo clocks

You were the first Dutchman I ever knew

and now I live among your kind, your

fishers and swallowers, ripping up

what they’ve built, running water where

they drained it forty years before,

legal and illegal-

izing their drugs, and letting

the masses in, though not really.

When I was ten I’d have told you,

there treading water in our mud hole,

that I knew a better way –


which won the big one

when the chips were down

(mostly) –

but even then, clothed and correct,

I’d have had to concede,

amid blown-out lives

(neighborhoods, brains, gutters…)

that maybe the promised promise

wasn’t always delivered.

So where does that leave us

(Are you dead?)

now I’m in your country

and you’re in mine?

How bout  we split the difference?

You grant me my mountain-prairie-

can-do horizon,

and I you your genius architecture

and painter sky.

Each can keep the people he’s with.

(They’re about the same.)

You’ll not find me, though,

swimming  in no hole.

And those cuckoo clocks you keep for yourself.