Wednesday, September 19, 2007



Prayer of Benediction

Clara May Kaufman
Clara May Kaufman
Clair M Shoup
Mother of two children
Clair, smell of washed linens––
kind, lonely, not enough money
well-read and so naïve
supported me through powders and cages
and embarrassed and hurt and
calls me in the evening
to tell me what’s on PBS
especially if it’s about musicians
or history of Asian countries

Clair Clara Clara May Kaufman
Clair, by the Illinois River
who lives on a horse ranch
where they kill chickens
and swim in chlorine-filled pools
across from an appliance store
who hated every girlfriend I ever had
¬––and your blue couch
that is ugly but not
as ugly as the Illinois River
with its dirty bored Midwestern current
that doesn’t reflect the sunlight

I pray to you,
Ever-present-pulse of awareness
that manifests in human suffering
and makes patterns dance on my eyelids
and is like an orgasm echoing
through space for all eternity,
rushing into moments
and galaxies
slowed only by its own ridiculous speed
and distracted only by its own brilliant colors
that got caught in human form
for an average life span
and billions of times
to make nuclear bombs
and cupcakes
and dig up dinosaur bones––
as if we were not those bones
and stars that make the bones
and crickets
of bone star dinosaur
and play accordion and dance around fires
until we get sucked back
into the one-breath
that is not outside us, but of us
may She protect you
when you drive to tutor disadvantaged grade-school children––

may the ever present pulse of awareness,
that shape shifting denim demon,
protect over your silver Hyundai
and keep it from running into the guardrails surrounding Kickapoo Creek
where some drunk guy died
floating on a makeshift raft

may the ever present
Clara May
you stick to that diet
that you haven’t followed for fifteen years
since dad left you behind
in a pickup truck weighted down with tools and microwave and clothes
who you hate
because he knew you
and didn’t accept all of you, all of you
the parts he couldn’t use
became the focal point
Clara May
may she guide your writing
which you left behind in college
because you didn’t think you were good enough
but really
you were just overwhelmed with the universe
and knew
that mirrors would only show more mirrors
you could have been the best
and now
you read my chapbooks
but I only make the in-betweens that hint at larger forms
that we only graze across
Clara May, who instilled a sense of resignation
into my macaroni-grin cartoon always dreaming five year old self
made me think the whole world
would wait
Clara May
like you, in rapt attention
to my earliest little melodies
with a cheap guitar and bullshit teen-angst lyrics
trying so hard
to sound like I wasn’t trying

Clara May, may the ever-present pulse
take the last vestiges
of the carcinogens
that claimed your glands and hair
and will to live from you
I love you so much
please don’t die
we are little genes
in spiritual hallucinatory mind-light
and you are so good
to your children
and grandchildren

the Christ and god that you so explain
is the best choice
via Kirekegaard
––if that can be the little moment that sustains
then I’ll pray:

Jesus Christ Dinosaur Star Bone
please give Clara May Kaufman
your servant and child and
who was the ‘you’
of your father, of we
to the peoples
that made your love
for our dirty little flesh race
so completely
beautiful and unfounded
but that is perfect
like sorrow
like the smell of fabric softener
Yes, oh yes
Oh, dinosaur Allah star Gautama Krishna teddy bear smelling salt Moses grand surreal
of tress and nervous systems and DNA and drumbeats and cantaloupes
let her samsara end
and rejoin before the entry point
makes another fleshy mirror
to deposit its image into
to live by a shitty Midwestern river
and divorce an engineer
and be a receptacle
to fear of really seeing you
without your clothes on
Clara, Clara May
may you be protected
--the sound of rattlesnakes
--nothingness without music to accompany it
--the bats that flew in the cabin in Wisconsin in 1992
--breast cancer
--black holes, in all their forms
--nuclear bombs
--mass media
--foods high in saturated fat
--the 1980’s, in general
--silence that isn’t chosen

Clara May Kaufman
of Gainesville Missouri
which you ran from and the black holes of your stepfather
then Herman, then Columbia, and Peoria where you dropped me
into a shiny little hospital
where they removed some skin
and gave me my father’s name
who appreciated our art only as an expression of mental illness
Clara May

protect her,
Dinosaur Star Bone
and Nexus too––
the mean gray cat I convinced you to take
and only lets you pet her with your feet and hates children
in your infinite nothingness
let the years pass
without fueling the undercurrent
of neurotic hyperawareness
that is the of you
that is she
keep it from exploding and being more
than a hint of darkness in the whites of her eyes
protect and inspire your child
who is a woman of suns
and is the hole of the universe you decided
in your infinite nothingdom
to inhabit
and call Clara May Kaufman
c’est une possibilite
la mere

The Hollywood beefcake
of your unending eternal run-on-sentence
of salsa dancing and empire building
––thank you for nothing, everything
you silly little schoolgirl of sorrow
version 3.0
in your names
I pray, La Dee Da.

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