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Fire w/ fire

a poem (collection?)/ essay/ compendium/ correspondence by Michael Saunders & Amy Carlberg



BOOK ONE

Oil and rose Anointed, New blue bra, Reading Ashbery From the bathtub. You broke the wineglass Stepping out.

bathside wine time baby blue push up & a ream of Ashbery.

It seems you are _____ to ___ of glass.

yea, me drunk on strength.

lattice & oil me.

indoor sunglasses bunhead & wooden earrings a ream of you & the unrolling of a candle

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SO DAMN SENSITIVE

Like nighttime Highway porch-light,

i. o Michael, billionaire of the heart.

The intimation of a home.) iv.

which is the correct bone used for plucking the heart? the intimation of fury— a. the multi-tool b. the colander c. the hand job d. the pill ii. the almighty meat-tree of sadness has won again. hang from it hocks of insults. it grows like a brick wall. this is why happiness is so great: (iii. Somewhere he waits, Your lover, 3 TWO JACOB POEMS

4 It was like a sunset or whatever, Backwards, diurnal Your crepuscular touch. Someone said something about Barnett Newman’s sex life, But I really just miss the city.

Top of her head, wet neck tie up Friday morning monument your panoptics. come bold, reflect back Liverpool, suck on neck bones black out whatever. terror it backwards. come bold it arranges Your city, it leaves out her whatever who knows how spatial fuck is for spiral down inside?

The architecture, the first lyrics of ―Time of the Season‖. Winter horticulture on her lips, Whiskey-less, hot rasp of breath. A bending tree. The same sunset You don’t even remember. And we fucked bold or whatever. A disgraced husband. Play it Like when the Baltimore Orioles Lost in 1999, the game I could never see. Klimt Baseball sonorous. Play it broken.

Bitter. Tongue. blood red Blush.

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teri – you never cooked a meal for yourself in your life, and besides, you always eat alone. you tell angelina jolie she wouldn’t make a good bond girl. you are ignorant in all matters subtle and african. you dye your hair. you are a desperate housewife. you are mean to your mother. you ―write‖ a whole book about it. you slurp your fettuccini, you talk too loudly on the phone, you drink too much red wine, you complain all the time, you get botox done, you can’t even heat up leftovers without worrying about your nails. you always look at me like that. and I like it. you don’t do shame and your name, Hatcher, is william tell’s arrow. but the apple’s in your hand, baby, my ball will forever be in your court. 7 or are you just scared you’ll ruin the pot roast? that this or that line will turn out wrong? that when you try to tell me how you really feel it will come out hackneyed and typical?

time stops when you stare me down and your thighs, like two ripe pears, mesmerize uncloaked by an apron. let’s get baked, teri. let’s rip into joan rivers and pierce brosnan and cameron diaz and how bad they all look in high def, ream on britney’s two-pack a day habit (while lightly sucking bitch sticks). I’ll wear the most expensive lingerie anyone ever gave you and you can take a little dig at me for not being able to fit into your high heels. we’ll roll in mounds of tabloids, laughing ourselves silly, I will caress you with cold pages. we will use scissors, clip pictures of old enemies and I will tell you how each one is puffy where you are plump, bony where you are elegant, craggy where you are dignified, bloated where you are mature, disaster where you are example, girl where you are woman – but teri, did you really become one? 8 Dame Judi Dench, You are wandering down a hallway Past boom and cameras, Halogen lights. Signature of chair. You nod. You tender your touches. Sad-eyed technician of the theatre. Eyes the colour of a Montreal Window reflecting Soft arc of clouds.

teri – I know you’re bad tv, chips and soda and a ten-litre styrofoam tub of chow mein, but I want to chow down on you. you’re my main squeeze. I’ll juice you till the cows come home, make you banana cream pie, trouser jelly, pigs in a blanket, the works. I’ll make you anything you want.

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CRISPER

FRAGMENTS

the air is perfumed by us. despair flowers on the bottom floor of us. dark green melancholy springs right back.

A Frankenstein mechanics Of windmill burning. Wild horses, mildew. Sugarcane and trading vessels.

track snapped bones, brittle tones of tiredness in longdaynomilk territory. the story of scent lends itself to this place: shredded medium-fat on plump bread, two-dollar won ton soup or sushi, damn pizza.

Things we numbered, Like in ―The Prisoner.‖ Somebody said something, You thought they said ―black plague.‖

the freezer stays closed. we can’t be sober for old pasta or ready-made-months-ago samosas, but we keep seeking that scent, that dent in who we are, the full feeling of a city or the circle of another’s arms.

Angles of coffee cups, Milk and calyx. We thank mild rainfalls, In light of ratios and waves. The earth shifts. You run through hallways. Leaves palpitate, wind

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Cohered. You leave

PERFORATIONS

The circumference of arms For another unknowable city.

dracula & don quixote rise & shine. wild horses, mold. jimsonweed and gateway drugs. things we were supposed to be orbiting but instead struck, like in outer space. somebody said something, you thought they said ―black hole.‖ angles of mickey mouse, milky and callous. somebody thanks courteous waterfalls, in light of recent citations. the lawsuit. you scramble through discrepancies.

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deadfall. john hancock palpitates, then coheres. 14


heaps of peach sleep in jean,

here’s to our middle names. here’s to another unknowable city.

leap into dreams. reams of cream. the low seam welcomes finger, lip, trips out on licks harder than a Hendrix groupie. the butt is the end of a pool cue, maraschino cherry of the body, last sentence in the novel of lovin’. shoved into pants like paper into back 15 damn I could smack that ass. doesn’t

16 And it is kind of dark out again, and yes there is the threat of violence in the way the city breaks your arms. But you think of her, lying face down, and you think of minarets and forests, and pubic hair, the curvature of her spine and what it leads to. You think of how, after four flights of stairs, or that elevator, or that probably haunted geometry of tiles, or moving aside so geriatrics can dissipate, or how after four flights of stairs, poorly lit, you will rest your head against the base of her supine body. You think of provincialism. You think of apexes and breaking waves. Of a bluish deer wandering through a bluish forest, leaping over a ditch. You don’t know why you think of this. You think of the soft territories of lamplight revealed hair across the small of her back. And yes, you have always been a poor Nabakovian. You never loved your cousin, and you haven’t given much thought to this dark out again city’s imminent cessation of water supply. And alcoholics and Kabbalists rest on doorstops like waylaid question marks, and yes there is a threat of violence; but pulling the bottom of her striped skirt over the curve of her body, and yes farther up, is kind of worth it.

lack class, whether pancake flat or a land mass.

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Michael stumbles over a dream.

Michael agrees.

Michael lifts an arm.

Michael slings me over his shoulder in sleep.

Michael drags the blanket across the bed, insistent. Michael has sleep in his eyes. Michael has gold all over his face. Michael grabs my neck. Michael rustles. Michael turns. Michael lifts an eyelid. Michael breathes deeply. Michael criticizes my stance. I criticize him. Michael smiles. 19 dedicated to beat you to the punch

20 When did you become The unfinished contours? While I waited for your Spiral, your basilica, Your cathedral, Your spire, and priorTo-this unimaginable geometries.

when did I become the unfinished contours? when you made me them, you sly artist! you brainiac! when you shouted me into existence in the presence of a typewriter you should have known I would come back to haunt you, rattle those old chains like any good bit of literature.

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LETTER OF CONFESSION

You make me feel like Stevie Wonder’s in town.

You make me feel like a big fat planet of amazing.

You make me feel like the Last Waltz.

You make me feel like WHAM! on speed and Red Bull.

You make me feel schmaltzy.

You make me feel like the Beaver on a Saturday, stuffed with trannies, vodka and OJ, low lighting, cock rings and bar stools.

You make me feel weak.

You make me feel like a fool.

You make me feel like Dionysus.

You make me feel like Garfunkel asked to play with Simon again.

You make me feel righteous.

You make me feel like Greek civilization.

You make me feel like a winner. You make me feel like the creamy filling, the liquid centre, the sprinkles, the jelly, the caramel, the nougat, the icing, cherry, fudge ripple crunch core.

You make me feel like a champ. You make me feel like an off-ramp leading to L.A.

You make me feel like fifty percent more. You make me feel like your ace in the hole. You make me feel like score! I just found the old Fiery Furnaces album with that song an old friend showed me and the only one I know and the only one I like and bag it please. 23 You make my soul feel ethereal.

You make me feel like a bowl of cereal at 3 AM, 2%, no skim. 24 use flowers in the day.

You make my soul creepy-crawly. butter bread with hay. use flowers in may.

You make my soul drawly. You make me sleepy, drooly.

no, waste flowers. bake towers of cakes to watch them tasty melt, lovely deflate.

You make me yours truly.

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Amygdale. Light Veins through a dale.

o mike i gotta say it: you slay me with flamey essay titles, ravish me with poetry, kill me with your snores. you have a whore-mind, mike. you are not bad mike or other mike, or even good mike or naughty mike. you are spike jonze but a thousand times less cool. you never play pool.

Plainsong issues From the world’s smallest church. realized

electives

you are so nervous. you are so calm. let me be a balm for your poet-ache, your stomach shake and gender rage, your age. your li’l candle on the stage.

amalgamate my inner sun propagates when the chromosome of spring spins, lingers in thin veins, profligate.

27 silly sloppy sanguine heart-breaking: heart-making. floppy thighs and sure smile, heh heh heh somewhere up there.

We're half of you. One-quarter on a bad day. Your flesh is rational, ours a sextuplet birth of horror flick reincarnation. We do not take shit from your lawnmower blades, baseball bats, cooing guns thrumming in your jacket like snake eggs. My child is hidden in my throat, my only organ. We two are free of your systems, digestive and cardiovascular.

where you get your beard hair, where the old spice plant grows, where they first spotted a six-pack, the sight that changed it all for abdomens and beer: where you must have come from. did you live next door to heads hung low in apology, poo jokes, boners, boxers and briefs? shots of jager working the till at the corner store, aftershave serving breakfast, cufflinks jogging in pairs? did you really see these things? are they you?

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When the shell cracks inside me and she slides out black as rain, I will not suffer her fangs. She will come quickly, as blessings should. 29

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DARK FOREST. SMALL TOWN.

Cartography of starlight holds The secret of your resurrection. You feel the black Bundle of her Kick. Don’t worry. The distant light Of a homestead Beckons bearing Our dwindling numbers.

A translation. Dark forest. Small town. You carry her inside of you, Black bundle of her, Unwanted urn. What instruments Do you flee? What movements Can you not stop? Shackled to your one call. Savage belle. Heart-stopped and wordless Daughter of some Minor holocaust. Some virus. The trees Surrounding you no Longer make figures, No longer bird Song. This forest Is no longer the memory Of other forests. Above you the dead 31

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ELIZABETH

MARY

Elizabeth, Manchester flung, Machine and smoke and clemmed, The ash you held inside Of you like a breath. You never wanted your ―Sister’s‖ Crystal Palace. Her cut glass clemency, Her veils and altars and Albion. You held inside things You could not alter – smokestacks, Cotton mills, two children Running beneath engines to collect Cotton fluff like spring flowers. Like it could fill the hollows of their bodies.

Mary, from the Caribbean To the Crimea. Seacole, Daughter of highlands. Your healing rejected By nightingales. You are lying in the dirt, And hear mortars Fall like heartbeats Through a lover’s chest. Somewhere men huddle Into bayonets. You feel the tug of your medicine Like a threading, an ache.

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JULIA

VICTORIA

Julia, you of black Silver nitrate,

Victoria, your Hyde Park, your jubilee, Your enjoyment of arranging funerals, Your husks of factories.

Slant of house, Dark room. Laborious,

His razors and foam, Truefitt and Hill, You would arrange every morning After his absence. Spring flowers

Subjects shrinking from the light. Soft focus, coated, exposed,

You placed on your own grave. Victoria, Prince consort-less, Your foreign teas, his funeral mask,

Wet plate. Arrested beauty. In your photographs, You left room for nothing But the angelic.

You cut off a lock of his hair. Your own flower placed, handpicked. Your children's choir singing 'God Save the Queen,' Out of tune. Still singing, still foam, still flowers.

You removed everything not-angel From your subjects. The darker rooms You sometimes walk into.

35 crazy wild lonely victoria. ain’t no one can close your doors. you’ll be out flapping naked under trench coat or nothing at all, asking for change or playing feminist songs on the fiddle and squeezebox (simultaneously). socks and a hat.

36 lucky bar. hush, sugar and logan’s, upstairs and the ledge. ditch records and old nick’s. all ralphs in disguise. luxardo in the coffee cup. maybe if it were an imaginary assault, immaterial love. but it was a real one. I keep changing the word from lust to love to lust to love to lust to love.

vv and wannawafel, hunter gatherer, clothing swap and free store:

she asks me why I’m doing that. your anarchist marching band pulling an anthem out of their asses. still flapping, still lust, still asses.

victoria, rife with material. rifle through. papa john’s, laid with peanut corpses. 37

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I

Southerlies siphoned through tall grass. Time-lapsed barn, Now burned. Sunk to hooves. Always an idiot, In the Socratic sense. Clamouring and dirty, This presidential haunting. Fire singing. Strong hands to shoulders, Pulled forth, from Booth of singed barn. Looking up At the arc of clouds. Wilted Flowers, birds, Dark singing machines, Sparks, and head downwards to See the upside down Place of your final resting. Dragged out to die on the porch Of a farmhouse. Sinking down sleepwards.

In the center of the small town they had A dark sinking machine. You know, a black hole. Pretty quickly there was no small town. II Dark sinking machine; Fabric tail all in knots, Black touch in lymph Nodes and braids and bird masks. Or else everywhere, More of the same, your father, My aunt, all the antic gestures. III Canine clouds chased rabbits Through a field in Virginia. Brought here by your love Of wheat and imprisonment, Dark sinking machines,

IV

39 Sinking machine. Eight beers, correctly applied, Will constitute a sinking machine. Submarines are ostensibly sinking machines. Your father's dark Southern brand Of alcoholism was a sinking machine. The south is a sinking machine. The sun is a sinking machine. Dark scary forests display a kind-of sinking mechanics. John Wilkes Booth threw Abraham Lincoln Into a sinking machine and subsequently Discovered a barn in Virginia was a sinking machine. Coffins are dark sinking machines. Your degrees in graphic design and small town decline, Were sinking machines. Cancer, In lymph nodes or livers or anywhere else, Is a sinking machine. Cities, Despite their upwards climb, Are sinking machines. Rube Goldberg machines are sinking machines. Autumn undressing is a sinking machine. Life, I am sorry, Is probably a sinking machine. Silly dark horses, you are not sinking machines, As much as you try to be. 41

Ghosts are dark sinking machines. Roland Barthes, walking from a party To be struck by a laundry van, flung Soft fabrics, encountered a dark 40 V One dark sinking machine calls out to another Dark sinking machine in the forest. I won’t lie, it sounds pretty fucking sad. They want to be singing machines. They want to be music boxes. Somewhere horses flee a stable Making gentle iambs. Somewhere song. You were never a dark sinking machine.

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i.

v.

I guess most people have had a quote real boyfriend unquote before they’ve turned twenty.

I guess most people are quote-unquote pretty fucking sad.

ii. it doesn’t matter so much what you believe is at the centre of a black hole. what matters more is that you believe that you, so weak, can stomp among tomato plants, hike bulks of clouds or sadness or little made-up towns in a place where even time has to take off its shoes at the door. iii. and does it hurt if I do not capitalize your name? iv. with all the fluid in your mechanics, no wonder you think you’re sinking 43 all must be sacrificed in the tango of the mind and body. you open with a hotel room where outside the window snowy missives shiver from a tree.

44 The girl of Polish descent, Of a Krakow she has never visited, But from which her history Avenues outwards, Her grandfather's poet;

all lines must be tugged in order to find the basest. Can write more poems. all fines paid for fettuccini, bed sheet, damp curl of towel, yap of wayward dogs.  you open fine smog. Hold softly to your last berth, To your broken up, To fallen sail and leftward leaning, Small orange vortices, And the blue and ghostly, Our sent forth to die From a safe city. As you know, our breaks Are already lodged within us, Traceries, wooden Muscle memories, Our frozen and fragile Ekphrasis. Hold this. 45

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INDEX

2105 Chomedey angel 7, 35 angelina jolie see fauna apple see flora Ashbery 1, 2 beer 29, 41 Billie Holiday see Warpaint bluish deer see fauna boner see hand job Booth, John Wilkes 41 Case, Tim 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 28, 35, 40, 43 church 22, 27 city 5, 6, 11, 13, 15, 18, 46 coffee 12, 38 dreams 16 envy see Teri Hatcher eroticism see Judi Dench fauna 6, 12, 14, 18, 23, 31, 40-43, 45 fettuccini 7, 45 flora 3, 6, 7, 11, 14, 16, 26, 33, 34, 36,40, 45

forests 18, 31, dark & scary see 41 geometry 18, 22 genitals see Jacob Spector girl 7, 8, 46 beautiful see Green, Dallas ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds 1, 40, 46 God-king 2, 6, 24, 27, 28, 40, 41 green 16 Dallas 27, 35, 39, 46 Eyes (Coldplay) 10, 19 hand job 3, 4, 46 horses see fauna line 9, 45 love 3, 18, 26, 34, 38, 39 Magicians, The see God-King McGoohan, Patrick 12, 39

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meat-tree see tree, boner mechanics 12, 41, 43 Michael 3, 19, 20 Nabokovian 18 peach see flora pancake 17 philosopher-king see GodKing ring 2, 10, 11, 23, 27, 32, 33, 36, 40 Shaun of the Dead see zombies small 18, 27, 31, 32, 46 Spector, Jacob 5, 6 S/Z 38 tree 3, 6, 31, 45 see also: forests Turner, J.M.W. 46 Victoria 36, 37 Warpaint 5, 6, 40, 41, 45, 46 whatever see Jacob Spector Who Are You (The Who) see Case, Tim zombies 30-32


Fire w/ fire  

a poem (collection?)/essay/compendium/correspondence

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