Phillip Lopate

Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Phillip Lopate
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
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Snowball Journal

to Carol

Our room, says the lady of the house
is nicer than one in a motel
and she's right
second-storey bay windows
a mushy double bed T.V.
and sportsman and gun magazines


We'll take it
But not the meal plan.


It turns out she is an alcoholic


Those circular curtain rods
are a nice personal touch
she must have put a lot of work
into this house...
we settle down to make love
on a chair
the dependable thrill of foreign rooms, positions
violating good people's rugs


I stroke your legs and breasts as you straddle me


We bring out the Polaroid
take pictures of our bodies relaxed
Just lean against the radiator, your back to the sun
a smile of bones dissolving
I squeeze the knob until it says YES


But you always manage
to take three more pictures of me
than I do of you


We must take a stroll in the woods before the sun goes down
you slip out while I am reading
and drive to the country store
bringing back Vermont cheese,
bread for sandwiches, Utica beer
and Tasty Cups
For this I love you

you even get undressed again
so we can both snack in bed
with the crumbs falling between us


We'll never see Vermont this way
up and dressed for our 5 o'clock walk—
the hills above us make us laugh
they're all so pretty!
and we don't laugh that easily

with my arm around your waist
it seems child's play to live with you
breathe in the electric air
what has happened to all our demands
don't even think about them
if you kiss my left ear lobe
and lick the other one
I'll be as happy as


The sun is dying on the sharp points of the tree-tops
not just disappearing
soon we'll have to go back to the car, it's
getting cold


I can't resist—I surprise you with a snowball
The snow dribbles onto your
bare breasts
now you have ‘snowy breasts'


Dinner is delicious! We compliment each other
for walking out of that expensive Auberge down the road
and saying no to The Reluctant Panther
This one is moderate but certainly as good as the others!
We listen with delight as people in the next room
are being turned away

Thank goodness we made our reservations just in time!

‘Try the banana-loaf bread'
‘I can't believe these lamb chops!'
greasing our teeth and fingers into the bone

Families of skiers clomp into the dining room
study menus, talking about the slopes
Most have fat asses and need the exercise
But they are ordering everything! lobster with roast beef
and pie
What could be more fun than eating! they cry
a hearty meal after a long day outdoors
is justice.

Mother and daughter look-alikes
That girl could be pretty if she lost fifteen pounds
Now you know what she'll be like at forty.


At night you fall asleep
and I stay up to read
nothing on television


The next day—clouds, a little somber
we wake up leisurely
and dawdle over breakfast in the trucker's diner
you seem apprehensive
while I play record after record on the jukebox
that morning you came into our room
I was stretched across the double-bed
"Guess what?" you announced—beaming, dramatic—
"I started my period."

Now you're having second thoughts about it?

Very well, an honest discussion
let's take stock of our lives
by all means, say
what's on your mind...
this too is part of vacations


We have found a woods that is really private
Fresh-cut lumber, a carrot smell—
on the ground wood shavings, snow, pine cones
and animal tracks (deer hooves)
I want to go where it's completely hooded
away from the trail
live like an animal between the spaces of trees

you are afraid that the ice will crack
you would go, you say, if you had better boots

a difference of opinion

We sit cautiously on a pile of snow
What, are you shivering?
like a maniac I reach into your pants
with chilling fingers
so that you will be warmer
and you shudder
at the cheap power I have over you
to make you sigh


The good mood regained


Looking at the Green Mountains from a roadside promontory
Peru, Vermont—
The Woman Thinks:

This is a place to raise children
live correctly
come to peace with myself

The Man Thinks:

perfect landscape
of mountains, firs and snow
I toss a snowball into the purest fields
to see if this is a beauty that mars easily
or deserves my worship

18. Coda

When we were standing before the mountains
the sun leaking pools on the snowy fields
the hard quiet of the barn and the owner's house
the watchdog's bark
sky so intense we could only look through a crack in our lids
and yet everything was blue—

how little I've been able to take with me
back one week in the city

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4/20/2021 1:45:07 AM #