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WATCHING THE STREET RUN AWAY WITH LAUGHTER

thirty four

Nathan Slinker

A few things keep coming back: a girl in blue, the rags of creation, an old hatchet embedded in the cusp of a lotus blossom, or elsewhere.

The difference between ‘a muse’ and ‘amuse’ is merely a matter of space. And yet, planets, with their hilarious attraction to dense matter, do not seem to fit here. Children I discovered in dusty school desks suddenly understand the infinitive ‘to run’ and I am left alone, pronouncing electricity to the untrained ear of the sky.

‘New boots won’t make feet better keepers of secrets,’ said the old man, busy building a tree house of suicide letters and sycamore leaves.

Thatch: an impossible word without both the hatchet and what grows despite its blade. Certainly the old man may have both the rags and the cut flower, but where does the girl belong? She is not his. South of Santa Monica, standing on a cliff in Ireland, the girl waves her shawl of sky at seabirds. She is always present. Or at least close by…

We were sitting around a campfire (I know) and had talked for hours when someone said, ‘All this time and we have not even started to talk about music.’

A flame of realization then: communication sin fin; and then a second point when you realize that what you are ‘talking about’ is mortality, and how trite the drugs we took would seem to someone else.

An owl says ‘dirge’ and the boy in the poncho reaches enlightenment. But the rest of us were babbling and didn’t hear the owl. Professor, is this a lyric poem? A lyre poem? A lick poem? If nothing else, it’s certainly a lie. One man wears the rags of creation, another prefers a poncho, but ‘the poncho of creation’ is not a good phrase to use in a poem. Fear of failure, fear of ungainliness. See how they come of themselves? Nothing so ungainly as the word itself— not even ‘communication’ or ‘enlightenment.’

Retreat, army of kelp, to whatever current bed you keep. Take from me my equipment of quip. And just yesterday, skimming the classifieds in The Bulletin, I come across this: Lost: blue girl, rags, hatchet. If found, please return.

Profile for Brushfire Literature & Arts

Edition 63 Volume 1  

Fall 2010. Brushfire is UNR's oldest literature & arts journal. Brushfire publishes biannually, check out our website for more info! unrbrus...

Edition 63 Volume 1  

Fall 2010. Brushfire is UNR's oldest literature & arts journal. Brushfire publishes biannually, check out our website for more info! unrbrus...

Profile for brushfire
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