Identity Redux

(Paved Paradise, John Kelly, 2009)

The first television program put
into re-runs was “The Lone Ranger.”
-a Snapple bottle top

A frame. Two keyboards, a bass,
a dulcimer, and five guitars
set the stage for “Dagmar Onassis.”
Kiss. Kiss. What? Has it been
sixteen years? What does
it matter that the roses upstage
on the grand piano are red?

If you have been asked
to wear the dream,
what difference does it matter
if the dress is white or blue
and the shoes shine red? We park
the day’s carousel
and heed whatever
falls out and captivates.

With ghosts—Damia? Hutch?
Jacques Brel? Judy
somewhere nearby–the evening
nears its end: John Kelly’s guitars
and Joni Mitchell’s plaintive
melodies about longing, sex,
our Frankenstein technologies,
science’s tunnel vision.
Tunnel vision.

The wingless moon floats
beyond the encapsulating
spotlight, and each one
in the theater must find
each’s own way home.

Scott Hightower is a poet living with one foot in New York City, one in Texas, and one in Madrid. His third collection, Part of the Bargain, received the 2004 Hayden Carruth Award. His translations from Spanish have garnered him a Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. He teaches at NYU, and has taught poetry, non-fiction, and translation at Drew, F.I.T., Fordham, and Poets House.