Cornelius Eady is the author of five books of poetry, most recently THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A JUKEBOX, published in 1996 by Carnegie Mellon University Press. His previous collections include YOU DON'T MISS YOUR WATER (1995); THE GATHERING OF MY NAME (1991), which was nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; VICTIMS OF THE LATEST DANCE CRAZE (1986), which won the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets; and KARTUNES (1980). His many honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, and the Prairie Schooner Strousse Award. Cornelius Eady is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Poetry Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
\n'; win.document.write(content); win.document.getElementById("articlecomments").innerHTML = ""; win.document.getElementById("debugtext").value = win.document.body.innerHTML; win.print(); } function doComments() { document.getElementById("articlecomments").style.display = "block"; document.getElementById("disc_name").focus(); } function showComments() { document.getElementById("articlecomments").style.display = "block"; }

First Mug Shot

- by Cornelius Eady

So, the thing about Skip Gates’ bust,
You know—from Prof. to back-door man,
Cause his front door is jammed.

Cause he’s just got home from China,
And some one’s been messing
With the locks! In the blues,

This is never a
Good sign: it’s usually means
Something’s going to break

Your heart once it’s opened,
Or: something’s been fundamentally changed;
Your key is no longer

Your key, your house
And the things you love
Gone or touched by

Contagion. When the
Next-door neighbor
Calls it in,

Skip’s funky walk,
Toe to cane from the front porch
To the back,
From the back,
To the front,
It’s a mid-night creep,

She thinks she has seen
Damage roll up the steps
Of the proud yellow house.

Skip and his buddy—Cold Heart?
Skip and his friend—Take
What I Want?

Skip and his pal—the mid-day
Parade of them, dusky,
Ageless, on the porch.

Skip the Tenant and his driver,
The stuck front door,
The direct approach—hard shoulder

To swing it free. Many a blues
Is housed in domestic bliss,
And the singer

Never sees it coming,
Would sooner believe
The sky was going

To fall from the heavens
Than see what’s coming
Up the walk.