The Man Who Loves Better Homes & Gardens

is puttering, evenings, weekends, inspecting his gutters,
plucking out loquats, acorns, eucalyptus leaves,
so the still far-off November rain can leave
his roof quickly, with elegance. He hales forth
bindweed from the chinks between sidewalk slabs,
starthistle from the caulking around the pool
where gangster grasses shoot their way to glory.
Sometimes during high wind a shingle breaks
loose in the night and clatters onto the patio.
Could he see in the dark he'd leap out of bed,
climb his aluminum ladder and wedge the cedar
shield back in placebefore the roof rats
got wind of it. He lies there waiting for dawn.

Like model before mirror, he cannot sit on his deck
Sundays without discovering fresh enemies to Beauty.
There's a gopher hill beside the spa, sprung up
overnight like a mushroom; and on the lawn
a real mushroom he'd swear wasn't there
last evening. The forces of darkness have flung
a beer bottle over the fence. It's lying
among his roses, crying, "This Bud's for You!"
A shrike has eaten a finch or sparrow and left
beak, legs, feathers dangling from a twig
on his ornamental pear. His right hand flashes
forth in love and angerdrops bird in trash
can, bottle in compactor. What a war!


Poems by David Alpaugh:

A California Ad Man Celebrates His Art
The Young
The Man Who Loves Better Homes & Gardens
Hunger Artists
Impromptu Meeting in the Falklands
As We Watch McNeil-Lehrer
Electronic Epitaph

TIMES TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets