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Daniel Coudriet

Parade Daniel Coudriet

Blue Hour Press 2012

Blue Hour Press • 641 Illinois St • Lawrence KS 66044 • © 2012 Daniel Coudriet. All rights reserved. Book design by Justin Runge. Cover art by Joaquín Coudriet.

Contents Expedition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Lollipop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Sleepers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Care Must Be Taken. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Nudes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Making Hay. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 How Many Pass an Evening. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Everyone Nightgowns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Crosswinds Evaporation Gasping. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Which of You the River. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Imprint. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 La azafata. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Breath. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Clumsy Wind. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Pregnant House. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Among My Life. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Murmursleep. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Nudes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Allowances. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Citas con transeĂşntes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Noche americana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Acknowledgments Grateful acknowledgment is made to the editors of journals where several of these poems have previously appeared, often in different versions: Boston Review: “Breath” “Lollipop” Court Green: “Making Hay” Denver Quarterly: “Clumsy Wind” “Everyone Nightgowns” Fourteen Hills: “Pregnant House” Handsome: “Among My Life” “How Many Pass an Evening” The Laurel Review: “Care Must Be Taken” Octopus: ‘Expedition” “Nudes” “Nudes” Ploughshares: “Crosswinds Evaporation Gasping” So and So: “Citas con transeúntes” “Murmursleep” Typo: “La azafata” Verse: “Allowances” “Noche americana” “Sleepers” “Which of You the River”

para Mariela y para JoaquĂ­n


Expedition In disembarking the tallest of them swallowed, now we use that gesture to refer to this country. When you swallow you do it for us. The insects were birds nesting beside our eyelids, at night their eggs pressing like pregnant tearducts, the soil as we touch it peels into a tapestry trailing behind us. We will never build a city because it would eat us. We need a use for cobblestones we’ve brought a legion of masons. Leaning on shrubs they keep muttering how natural everything must look, they stack stone walls any heath would envy, just now sheep nuzzling there. Except we’re in a cold forest. The masons practice angry hand signals, you can tell



them by the crevices in their knuckles. The sheep are soil we forgot to touch properly. The stones slide over each other like a lover’s vertebrae that morning in winter. But how is it winter when we disembarked we never had a ship? This doesn’t bother us.



Lollipop The strawberry is a large enough temple. I clothe myself in doll-mirrors while the vehicles move raindrops never touch each other. A door floating towards shore is where we’ll draw these maps. My wife’s belly is resembling something of us. Child like a strawberry swallowed & my mouth is a candle. When is the yard not spraypainted anemones? You can tell by teasing them open with your finger. My wife’s belly is a clenched fist. If they are sleeping you may never discover where you live.



Sleepers Whenever they’ve stopped you reaching your elbow and asking, don’t tell them you have no stomach for uniforms or the marching. Don’t tell them of afternoons spent dragging spades behind us, aimlessly dragging them through soil trampled into sidewalks so deep that they may not be sidewalks. At night they’re out laying railroad tracks along the furrows we’ve made, without asking, without need for invitations to sleep and we’ve forgotten we were actually walking through a small town, a town now engulfed by railways. No one knows where any of them lead, or which of them might’ve hung there the flags now beating themselves or urging the children to illustrate, repeatedly, a building and all of the drawings collected to build a façade, a larger version. Will you be there, as is expected, in the town square, nearly-naked and goose-pimpled just after dawn, the shops closed, ridiculously waiting? Will you watch the too thin woman drop her cloak from her child’s stroller, stepping forward to claim it? “There ought to be a parade,” someone will say and everyone else will look around for who said it. And we never know which of them are out in the nights, wandering the tracks, lying down between the rails to sleep, the blur of passenger windows, shut blinds, reading lamps a constant strip dim above the land, the motion of the wheels brushing just above their cheeks.



Care Must Be Taken How many of them working to name the town square after you. We’re getting ahead of ourselves remember that it might rain and snow as you are driving the road dissolves. Mounting a flatscreen above the dessert tray like duct-taping a father-in-law to the yardarm to keep lookout for unfamiliar townspeople. If I were twenty inches tall, we’d adjust our dancing posture. They’d serve gazpacho and wine to exam-takers, a mannequin with the evening gown portion of a violinist. Her apartment. The balcony. Naked people across the way. Quiet as they ponder the breadoven. There’s something to say about giving birth into your hands, quietly. Something else about tugging the hair and slapping during sobremesa. We’ll busy ourselves. If we dig up the garden and replant it



we’ll appear to have the freshest displaywindows. No one will ever mention produce again.



Nudes The skin in our hands we imagine connecting something green sprawling alive or buried by our feet, naked feet. Too many resemblances inside arteries only the pressures coal feels or asphalt families scree to the coasts. Even vineyards sense salt in the air. The horrible noise of footsteps in sand, undercut reverberations of wires and concrete, hitchhikings, Mar del Plata. Buzzsaw, buzzsaw. Our toes bivalve and fuse themselves little clampings. We suspend them in pools.



“Ama solamente lo que queda,” written in spraypaint or blood in an overpass, an artery I’ve forgotten boundaries a glimpse of thighs brushing each other, gearshift, a skirt in the passenger seat. What message does it send, washed laundry strewn these bucket seats? How small this fabric, how it fits around you there. O, that my eyes spheres nestled orbiting in softest fabric, sun’s heat through linen. If I painted them, a soft voice exclaims, “the flower beginning this moment” and begins tunneling into the wall with objects at hand.



Eventual sunlight in flecks or lesions. I’d want to lick plasterdust from your skin, one who is shouting, who is a tongue of warm salt.



Making Hay The branches swelling in odd shapes & knives sprouting from the trees. The shadows are letters folded unevenly into sharp edges. The local water won’t be safe until they find the far shore. I remember streamers swelling with humidity, music from a bandstand although the town never had a bandstand. Someone is cutting branches like swollen teeth. So many letters, I stopped caring about letters. I didn’t even open them. They kept piling up inside the mailslot. No one told me where I live. I only think of fires. The knives quiver whenever anyone speaks. I wanted to love them but they never stop moving. Inside the stalks the hay waits with faces like typewriters.



How Many Pass an Evening No avenidas leaning forward to sip her anklets. A burst of trumpet a blossom beneath tongue a quaking, neon soft, departure. The were, were, if you. Were, were if you.



Everyone Nightgowns The town square growing & people banging pots & singing to try to make it slow down. Beneath her nightgown villages began. Would every mouth on your skin feel the same? I’m holding a match inside my lungs when I speak as if a rainstorm boiled the leaves. People carving staircases into the trees, jacarandá flitting around dropping the sky everywhere. I am the dog following the stroller home. The nightgowns resting on doorbells. I’m making a shed around a staircase & not thinking the soft glow of doorbells. They are the flowers I’m growing inside. I can see them from here.



Crosswinds Evaporation Gasping If I bisect my head what grasslands might I find, what flecks of plaster what walls. What genuflects cracks to these streets, vacant lots. There was a sandal, a child standing in it, & dust. Each sequence a leather strap creasing. Each crossroads with arrowsigns, distances, placenames crossed out. There was a tollbooth the water had overtaken. “This is hardly the way to make a civilization,” she whisperstrains in the backseat, my hands heading where sweaty hands head. Which are the proper questions to ask. What days might I find, the beginnings of if I bisect my head what grasslands. Entire childhoods the crying at dusk & tasting mildew in pillows, swallowing, swallows & the beautiful air ballooning in lungs. Which part of the dirt might be leather. If wilderness, I’d want rickety wheels, gypsy caravan & I’d sprinkle tiny earbones all over the soil.



I’d string my guitar with water. Arc my foot forward, lean into my solos. I’d never eat before playing. You’d hear hunger.



Which of You the River Empty the mouth of its air, quick handfuls of fronds. In the carnicerĂ­a, no aprons flutter aside the saw whirring. Why the butcher again cannot his handfuls bloodflowers. A wedding hangs in the air. The fish are small & flat when they wake in the square. We drink them the water they bring us inside their bodies. We call them grass & girls lounging small pools in yards legs like fronds. An open mouth, an armature the air making its own sound a throat. Thin legs like smoke.



Bicycles with rims worn inflate warm balloons in our ears & when we step we don’t stagger. Hold this, what is it, a tongue & tell it the house broken & overgrown pulses the stars are lips we wish to open.



Windowthrushes. Rosario. Plaster. Fists flattening breadcrumbs to meat. The last days, did they ever lift you on their shoulders carrying you to the river to sing something?

Groups of little boys told to wait peeking out at the water are pillars, the saws stones beneath benches, we know the shoreline because we stop there.



Hands love things as snails. When her lips open my skeleton is a warm balloon.

When I say shoreline I’m meaning an arm falling across something lips, brushing a sound a snail’s brushing. I want to say tonguing. I want to know something touching flesh inside my mouth a careful bird, a tongue afraid of being crushed like smoke, even a crumbling of shutters, a tattered gate a mother’s house when a girl her footsteps leaving cloudless mornings a box of sifones on the doorstep.

There are gardens behind short walls, beetles collecting shreds of plastic, deflated tomatoes their water flitting over the Andes, & whatever we bury & wait for churning a swarm to sting us.



The children’s impossible locations will mothers recognize them by the breadcrumbs spread over the floorslats?



All of us crouching to the ground & slurping it to sand & greeting the company with sifones hanging from the rafters in every room of the house.

We never meant for a city to happen.

For our mouths to clean themselves, feverishly, when we open. I taste you. I taste you in small swallows gasps. I taste you are not a country, I see it now, smaller greener from the window. An Argentina, a texture in swallowing beside a window is the rain as close to us as it feels the streetlamps shimmering through it a skirt, thin legs.



The children find their fingers by opening the fish, the resting ribs. Candies bobbing in the vinegar cruet. Cutting boards retain boundaries. My tongue is the rain.



My tongue with nightclothes with crocheted slippers. Cloudless my tongue shivers. It doesn’t know better. My tongue stains wallpaper & is painted over. Which of you, in the crosswalk, carries this song on your shoulders? Your footsteps are a bloodstream entering and exiting my body. Pebbles from the Andes clug through my arteries & small stones left outside each doorstep.



the railings. for a birth.

Groups of girls told not to touch Each time a house is built waiting

The first a child sees is through water.

If the city falls asleep it will wake as water.



Girls crossing their arms are damp cigarettes & a lamp lit late at the panaderĂ­a. My tongue swarms. An arm resting around shoulders, hips, a hand holding a photo of this gesture with streetlamps shimmering through it. Thin legs cigarette smoke through teeth. I am tasting the air holds voices as tiny strings reverberations. This is how a voice encloses us. The girls touching the railings.

The cobblestones we walk on bulge like eyes with wheels inside them. Little things try to nibble us. The nights we move through a warm breath around us. Your ribs rising collapsing—



Imprint I come from several hills. I am horrified to have just said this. The landscape digests the ends of everything I am thinking. Detached sweater arms knitted together are an esophagus. We find our way home by patterns in our skin. I can experience you laughing this way to another corridor, glass walls surrounded by sleet. Let’s stop tongue-kissing the radio voices long enough to hear the etching. A valet carpark, a held door, a glimpse of skin. They never mention binding, only pages sifting off balconies, slick and sticking wet, the alleyway a throatful of branches and wires. We learn the pages’ lungs by their landings.



La azafata The new terminals are enormous daycribs that keep unfolding with padding and covers for the bars. The contracts call for a rendezvous in the gazebo overlooking the asylum’s streams. The university purchased the streams decades ago and relocated them. The streams drink profusely and then whimper to whomever listens. When la azafata smiles her teeth are milk in the rain. Wanting her is like rain. Or the fog forming on the conservatory walls. Her hands teasing me to taste her disheveled hair.



Breath The tiny dirigibles we cannot see, a soft fluttering over lips, have the most ornate wrought-iron lattice work, are beautiful in their curvatures as the edges and spirals place pressures on balloons like lips’ pressures. And the nightnoise of all of the whittling, those hands carving marionette versions of the dirigibles, the shavings we sense as nightgown slips sense lungs, the stillnesses of faces they paint. The intricacies of strings, the machinations of each silk, are the intricacies of reaching soft against the dirigibles’ fluttering fabric, the edges, the kiosks, dangling spiral sidewalks of Recoleta, the artisans whittling, the nightnoise nightgown flutters, all of it beneath the pressures of the trees’ leaves, beautiful lungs in thin-strapped gowns wandering, their eyes, the strings, the streets beneath wrought-iron balconies, fabrics wandering the curvatures of bodies like lips.



Clumsy Wind It fell over, a heaviness like dye in the wax used by sobbing ambassadors radio sounds like tips of your hair inside anything being said. A face. Its skin. Its musculature evaporating the second it touches the grassblades roiling on tiny gurneys. Everything started bubbling. It became awkward to be naked. We began calling ourselves a family to calm down. The air we needed to speak was lost in the bubbles our mouths moved as the sun would move if it were hairy & had a need for shade. A touch like lights going out at the hospital.



Pregnant House There’s something sexual about the confectionary sugar speckled everywhere, the way it makes lip-prints over the pastries. I never imagined this a bakery. And such a damaged house, the walls crinkling and curving outward. Clearly those nuzzling vegetables, something sexual about them. Look at the eggplants, as if for a moment they don’t make you want to jump in a pan of oil to fry yourself. And such a beautiful wound, a gaping bus-shaped hole in the wall. The newest bus vrooming by blank fields at night.



Among My Life Her fingertips aggregations of alreadies a skin a pucker a nipple a pucker of alreadies crowding sidewalks with rucksacks, attaché cases the however of scantyclothing and hips I’m wanting skintones in this light of casements, easements, lightswitch then skin. Bodies are whatever we’ve seen before. Skywriters signal the moments you are naked I am not with you when I see them. Power lines crossing over streets. Everyone wondering to even speak. I am not with you.



Murmursleep The sky is drunk. It wants to breathe on us. The clouds the hands of late phonecalls my fingers pastry paper folds into pink gladioli birthmarking my tongue. In a green night, I could be your bootprints in the silt of Río de la Plata. A procession of deflated parade balloons I’ve named my face after the river’s enormous pregnancy opening to swallow us. New mornings the same ripe bedrooms like closed mouths hanging over the street. I have the wrong hands. Río de la Plata has its fingers down your pants. The hidden ramps bringing out trafficlights, meats grilled at every corner. Trees spilling themselves to neon. I would convince them it is a marvelous machine that helps raindrops search for us. How it is to drink this light a child falling into a bedframe, dried dried blood and eyes. You should not marry a river. Because you will have too many faces inside you, you will never. They’d beat me. I can feel this already.



Nudes There is a small hole I cradle myself inside the wall of my stomach, no one hears me and the gestures only I can feel them there, it’s one now. My stomach is a bird, see her, see her enveloping the tiniest rare birds with names or commonness, dozens of canaries darting an oil slick melted into concrete. As repetition, there were never answers ankledeep as we are the suddenness of current when our ankles— can burrowing be a gesture of affection, starburst a swallow’s touch in landing, ovendoor closing. Never answers. What we find is ours, we say to whoever is listening, you the pointlessness of my touch, horneros humping vigorously, unabashedly on the playground,



are my stomach, the children shielding eyes, covering ears from frenzied moans there are never enough hands, hollowed mud sounds. I’m washing your skin I cannot, this image, I cannot. Handfuls of dirt into my mouth, & still the croquettes. A mouth around fingers feels bones.



Allowances I’ve spoken water many times never certain of its gender. It may be normal to rend garments in the lake. It is always night when you’ve offered to walk & I’ve not gone. Daffodils never had a chance to be naked & squirming. It may be normal to rend garments in the lake & find a set of mirrors, small doll-like. I’d want the faces they’ve held in small envelopes. I once made a body from bread & placemats. I remember parking lots as lakes I’ve neglected you, stitching the dresses together. Always the rain as corridors of daffodils we’d find dresses in envelopes. The moon is inside my head. We are inhaling a bindery of petals.



Citas con transeúntes Each footstep a given birth a dry scarf knitting itself corners. They’ve ground far off rocks to mist for us to stand on. I’ve no explanation for why wet leaves are not our shoes or why we don’t gather them as envelopes for our documents. The tree is a face licking me so that all the café’s patiotables are uneven. I still think of the bricks with open mouths. Taxis give birth noisily. Anything about a train the carfuls of commuters having sex with each other. Headlights cluster as raindrops being swallowed, and pause. Each passing hand adjusting your scarf moments a different family you might’ve tucked in, kissed lightly. Wandered.



Noche americana To the water below there’s a saxophone low melody frozen below somewhere else to the water. If you were & if you were streetlamp resting incandescent eyeliner my eyelids are childmouths like an apartment swallowing itself like her voice reupholstering ceilings. Even in photos the lips leaving make their own mornings of unfamiliar nudities. No way to get a mouth around city, how you city me.


Daniel Coudriet lives with his wife and son, and the family divides time between Argentina and the United States. He is the author of Say Sand (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2010), and his translations of Argentinean poetry have appeared in many journals. ——— Text is set in Adobe Garamond Pro, designed by Robert Slimbach and released in 2000. Adobe Garamond Pro is a contemporary typeface family based on the roman types of Claude Garamond and the italic types of Robert Granjon.


A chapbook by Daniel Coudriet.