SNOW ITSELF ARTILLERY
My Elitist Exile
PREEN IN THE ROOFTOP RAINS
ANGLE OF THE CURVE
LOOK FORWARD TO SPACE SUCCESS
BOMBING CHINESE SATELLITES: ANOTHER AMERICAN PAST TIME, SOMETIMES EVEN CANADA INTERVENES. EVENTUALLY SOME BODY HAS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERIC SPACE DEBRIS LEADING TO WHAT UNKNOWNS? 17 RECEPTION
FELT FREE BEING THE BEAR
ENTRANCE OF RINGMASTER
SUMMERTIME & THE LIVING AIN’T EASY
BROCHURE OF APPEARANCES
EVENING PICNIC IN A VALLEY
HENRY PARKS A BICYCLE IN THE SPACE GARAGE
ACCOUSTIC COFFEEHOUSE POEM
DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS CHAPTER NINE
To Divide or Not
FOOD MONEY FOR BIRDS
WHERE HIS BIKE LAY FLAT
WHAT SIXO TOLD ARJUNA
The long road drawn long like an arrow.
“I CAN’T ESCAPE UNHAPPINESS,” SAID AUTHOR
“IN MARRYING YOU I WOULD TRY.”
Epitaph or Epigraph
THE GENERAL OF THE CEILING FAN FACTORY
To the Killer
A Delirium of Aesthetic Wit
Preoccupation with Ascent
The Uncanny of Stretch
Address to the Pinion
Piece of Sugar
Oh My Ellipses
The Wood Veneer
The Plane Taking Off
Instructions on Origami
Sir Walter Raleigh
Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle.
BPM 37093: Diamond Palace
I was always terrified of bears, limited in their genius
The Voice from the Pier Speaks
The Furthest Star
At Age Three My Adopted Niece Arrives from India
A Taxi to New York
As a Child
I AM NOT SKY, NOT TREE
THE VOICE FROM THE PIER SPEAKS
Gilt the ribbon white the Christmas snow. In the neighborhood you can hear the whistling of the carrousel. I can hear you listening. Shhh. Lie back. It well tell you everything. My jewels grow like islands. Like islands, they drift along the ocean, floating through space-time until the Earth becomes a series of tiny canals and wooden bridges, a world of archipelegos. 112 Where His Bike Lay Flat
HENRY PRACTICES SPACE SUCCESS
Hunger Was Coming
Skipping Rocks, Dream of Fishing
Passengers Entitled to the Stars
Love in the Ruins
Girls on the Edge of Water
A Wife on the King’s Death and Her Succession (or Horse Teeth) 125 Mildness
Being Accused of Genius
Her Winter Rite
Scholar of Feelings
Instructions on Origami
If tin disguised glass
Sir Walter Raleigh 1
Sir Walter Raleigh 2
Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle.
Stabilizing Effect of Collaboration
PROCESS I. When my eyes blink cleanly, as if by this gaze I’m occupied with serene sense, the word “process” from the spine of a book obtrudes, and is taken in, I leave that space move hence, to my bed, reap into parts the head of the story, the arms. In dormant space, where light piano keys call my ears away into the other room, closer to the other door, where the birds are, where rain patters still, pattered earlier. I recall the ribbon of violin strings, intermittent, by the hedgerows, the creekbed, one spring, remember Henry. II. If I overtake time now tread back into time I see clearly a ruminant cloved-‐animal. A word in the dictionary meaning: to chew cud, turn over in the mind. III. How stomach and mind be linked. Methinks upon this happenstance. If ever love cleaved the gut and mind and led to violence
in that union, if ever the lover did reject the contents of her lunch into civilized porcelain, while thinking of betrayal, visions of his leave-‐taking, the departure of spirit, even before his body did leave. Gallows draw a boundary around his steel trajectory to unknown space. IV. Who are the enemies of process? I ask, laying down my pink Huffy, walk to the shallow bed where a crawfish lay. V. Claw. Unbroken then broken. Claw. Unbroken then broken. VI. In Tennessee I saw a jar. The jar was me. I held it where my heart was, as a metaphor for heart. It was still as any still thing, as still as a painting. Of a painting, we do not ask it to speak. Of my longing for Henry. Ellipses. VII. And that is where the vatic went. I called to the crab. To the lonely turtle. I wanted oneness with seahorse. Surcease. Wanted to cantilever upwards on that carrousel horse. Of its enigma, I ride regret having to dissect,
tear into pieces the crawfish head. arms lay in bits where Henry may-‐as-‐well lay dead. VIII. I want to tell you about the look I get sometimes wandering past a shelf of books, how a single word decodes the illusory of my moods, how a single nightmare can emit a thousand lyrics of repair, and skip along the water’s surface as the pools clear out again.
Most pleasure piers looked distinctive however. They pointed determined fingers into the sea. They were designed by engineers not architects.
SNOW ITSELF ARTILLERY To intrigue your ear, I would throw my words around those antelopes, reign in their horns, who in our private lore always thwart your carrousel, but end the mention, well before the bicycle crash, which closed that chapter of space success. You were so distant, still out there. I tried to detour this anecdote to our most outside layers, least monster layers, to my umbilical, blue shivers run down, my birth rite emerging, a memory of what I also heard.
My Elitist Exile What if existence really is repeated? As I do this again, Am I on repeat? I keep four fingers down and touch my thumb. In the future will I keep my fingers down? Opening already, turned around at a checkout counter, another detour. No big nuisance— Anapestic salutes: bring me bananas, or, milk, closer to chance occurrences. I had employment, then quit, editorial delays connecting day to day, had no money-‐outcome. Whereas the stars were already out for my newborn eyes to see. Elitist exile, in this nether ice, where Henry locks me up. I will go home, again. I will return. What happens if existence really is illusory? Changes, sweep softly over cloudy complaints, laughter, already opening, rippled shadows through wide trees caress their dappled fingers on the paved roads we sometimes drive, on our way back to the prairie houses where we were schooled. Doing this, for now, I keep my thumbs opposable.
PREEN IN THE ROOFTOP RAINS If you live on Henry James’ INKBLOT. If the curry fit to work on Saturday. Hamlet, rest ye. An’ no hurry e’en fit’in For that lass. By the time he turned in her RX, she Was buried beneath Earth’s glass. Without PLOT, without riot. If you live on Henry James’ Street, how’s A carrousel rescind Its golden promise? Directly to you, or me, and once lured Us before—How does this explain the bicycle lore? Lay your bicycle softly on unsubstantial asphalt, And if you have to, let him go, As you see your angels’ stalemate rising. Henry’s half of the sky’s already defined, and darker.
Practice of the Art Conditions Metaphor As empire hustles, the romancer evokes the crisis. Still I believe in nothing answering back, in your harlot's uses, any prosthesis, believe in whatever pries open the face into its vestige of smile. Or do I? Assume Sex as product's end, via process. Its aims repudiate, never worth the gossip. Sex's obvious as the rhythms of oarlocks.
EXPERIENCE I poked my stick, responding to orbs of a sister pool, Echoing southwards. Just to show me my reflection Gone.
ANGLE OF THE CURVE It’s the stagnant, longest spell of silence on my sender/receiver device. Office closed/now open. Operations of little flowers ruminate in the greenhouse of Henry’s science school. All of a sudden it’s May. My eyes float, and like me little mice horde copper pennies and like me, they cuddle for pink cameras in the tiles. My winter euphony rose sweetly. The streets, skyline empire’s signature, moved into the natural world. My buttress fable clavicle: fire, now gobbles white animals, and my dry-‐pressed rose. Even my rose. But then the terra was planted, a budding green, and the terra cotta pot, and the lips of its limbs into art deco curves. As I angle another form, another form of fauna, again as I hoist, add counterpoint and weight. A shelf of afterlives already contrives to improve the air.
LOOK FORWARD TO SPACE SUCCESS The ceiling fan’s all that’s left of Henry James’s bicycle. Every night I walk upstairs and close the bedroom door, to read for an hour. The fan’s revolutions: incessant, unscrewed, a metronomic rattle similar in syncopation but not in tone to Henry’s bicycle wheels, as the wind fled through the spokes, which it often did. This time, Henry’s a dead man. Or I mean, this time, he’s not. (Another alarm clock wakes me my antelope ring tone, another morning— the ceiling fan machinery wobbles) mystery had been—where— you were going—now, it’s—when have you gone. I count Chinese Sparrows—or— rise above myself into the fan blades. The way I lost my manhood was more like wrong sperm right place, so I put a little more fear in the cheer. Decapitation more lively, someday, with the loosening of grommets. Antelopes for breakfast, and all morning the carrousel whirrs again with threat of its annihilation, too soon after coffee, General Mercury’s horse whinnying, hoof-‐tracks made from coffee grains, over the surfaces of my living space. My living space, qua assassination. Or, another way
I lost my manhood: unloading the groceries, suds up my skirt. What I don’t get back mowing the lawn. Not this coldest me—though I once resisted all the fish in China. I am no communist, until I’ve had a good shave. May it be here, as well as anywhere, this hunt for the golden ring. On a carrousel, my female thighs (newborn legs)slapping against the horse I ride all the way to where? To what tune? YOU KNOW when the hand cranks and the tiny pastel (China) ponies, ribbons and ceramic bones, start to turn. What music did the maker place in the gearworks of the carrousel? What music did the maker place inside its microchip? (Da da? Tra la?) If Henry were here he’d answer me, or be able to tell you Something apocalyptic happened, in space time (remember). He had managed (to chase or follow the sound) by pedaling his bicycle around (the speed of light) so practical. O, no way, beyond no other way of reaching that voice taunting singing to him
from across the pier. Look forward to space success, I remember him saying.
BOMBING CHINESE SATELLITES: ANOTHER AMERICAN PAST TIME, SOMETIMES EVEN CANADA INTERVENES. EVENTUALLY SOME BODY HAS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERIC SPACE DEBRIS LEADING TO WHAT UNKNOWNS? .There was no there, there. But there was a pier. The pier would cast the echo so well for whomever, the voice was saying, saying there, there, you are going to die, there, there. Henry heard the voice; I was busy on my equipage. What music did the maker place inside the microchip, in the gearworks of the carrousel? Rachmininoff? Meh. Too much depends on the pacing—what a nightmarish (cartoonish) horse ride that would be! and Bach? Ornate enough, but too lofty. These horses were becoming seahorses. Or I walk off this machine. Deboard. For my fear of descending below the nadir ice. Where I don’t want to be. With those antelopes again. I was chilling. General Mercury. He’s at home now. We could make beautiful music together. Every day, he’s suggesting Motown, Ziggy Stardust. Stuck here. He reformed like brings suggestions by every day; so old and only now discovering rock and roll; it’s always Ziggy Stardust and Motown. Stuck here now, in the American Dream, Taxi Driver reformed. But what he did to those families in France. The murder of innocents during the war.
RECEPTION Time was. We ferried back and forth. Cell phone signal faded whenever someone was about to say I love you. But Henry didn’t know anything about time, so preoccupied with ascent. I thought he might have been jealous, once, but how do half-‐ formed thoughts surrender win? I had no one. Henry was chasing that sound. Love was on the ground, and I kept on walking towards a better signal, listening for your voice, shutting the others off.
CAROUSSEL You were a star too, bicycle bursting out of the poster to see beams of light fall curving to earth from a huge eye that only sees under the canvas. Muscular strength is slow and serious in the bluish light giving us certainty in specific examples: the precision of the antelopes, while the horses tarry, glee locked into a perspective twisting the body's shape. How it floats like in a dream. Empire’s exciting in this light. Far from here, anonymous hands torture arms and legs of yellow prophets coming,steel-‐tipped— Inches nearer the surface. If the ice breaks out into semaphores, we wait. And ropes crack Along to piano music cranking. Ringmaster operates a great machine. He doesn’t want to show the world his gears.
FELT FREE BEING THE BEAR Music guides my attention, de-‐ natured, on the drive to the mountains. nightmares of bears plaguing my brother last night. A trailer of horses being pulled in the periphery of my right eye. he tells of ferocious bears hanging out in the moonlight. You can’t play dead when your dreaming. I say, so we’re driving to the mountains, towards that, listening to rock and roll on the radio. He had agreed with me straight off, which he never does, then asked me To repeat myself. You can’t play dead. The secret password that introduced me to canned you? When the igloo sun’s away . . . I-‐Ching revealed a signpost, divining this But his lips suggest a tragedy no heart can make clear. Does he think of his red flesh, falling in chunks? We were drawing near a marina where pine trees and chalets seemed indifferent, transparent and so the trip took us beyond hope and death, past community gates that rose up, when we told them the code. and the chill, the hurt? It’s where we are now, up in the mountains, theatrical, surveying nature. “Awash in a bath of moonlight.” Try looking the other way.
Semaphores can only be accessed using the following operations: Those marked atomic should not be interrupted. Notice that incrementing the variable s must not be interrupted, and the P operation must not be interrupted. The value of a semaphore is the number of units of the resource which are free. Differences between mutexes and semaphores are operating system dependent. Semaphores notify events. Mutexes are meant for mutual exclusion only.
ENTRANCE OF RINGMASTER of chocolate truth strawberries in newspapers we assumed too many corridors and trunks from signs on doors nervous confident soldiers from their novel expressions, so many I had not thought narrow layers of such strong air? felt so good for the night falling
SUMMERTIME & THE LIVING AIN’T EASY I covet in the form of desire (watermelon gin cooling on nightstand) my own entry into the cotillion, a decal of ignorance sets its own trap. If only the wall broke down as such, wherever it really is (the gin diminishes as it refreshes) and would deadly remain cool in conscience lament the fascist leaders, become depressed over this and its accoutrements such as war, or oil, or empire, until contained by the same Sweet Machine as Stardust, Errancy, disobedience, a new quarantine will take my place, et. al. Ce m’est egal. If it were only my place. Meet me at the carrousel, da da, I’m always headed there.
BROCHURE OF APPEARANCES I filtered water through potatoes in the wire net of relationships. We weren’t communists or comrades. Lay the bicycle on its side. Dark satellites in the sky. Is this really friendly?
EVENING PICNIC IN A VALLEY Water drains down the sink from a colander of potatoes. Morning as usual, offered a porous substitute for those criss-‐crossings of sleep. Only minutes before I nearly found you around a metaphysical corner. Only hours ago before daylight offered a different promise, a different discord. This is the ending I must have chosen, my pelvis pressed at Formica’s edge. So now I am here where a forest’s light sweeps through leaves, offers patchy allusions of a blue sky and its yellow bending. All this, combines with darkness, does not insist on separation. Hot steam rises from the colander, and I slice skins with a sharp red knife. Questions eluding me. What if I were the forest and you were the light, and you were leaving your place, to find me in mine? What is black, then? What is blacker?
As if you really were the arbiter of Henry’s destiny I needed you to be. As if I could ever live without conditions.
Author had seen more than she wanted to see. She closed her book. Anybody could see that. She closed her book with force. She wanted people to see that. She found him by the creek, skipping rocks. When she sang his name, he didn’t look up. Author stripped down to her pink bikini and jumped in. “Author! What are you doing? You can’t swim in there!” “Why not?” She asked, sticking out of the water from her waist up. “The water’s nice.” “Well, stupid, there’s a monster in the water.” Author strode towards the bank where Henry was, her thighs cutting into the thick, brown water. “What kind of monster?” “The kind that wants to eat you,” he said. “Oh yeah,” she said and removed her sneaker, dunked it into the water, flicked the water at him: “Now you have monster cooties.”
Muddy bicycle tracks on the walkway to the front door, evidence that He’s been here. How nonchalantly without even rustling the stray leaves on the concrete. His wanderings, always with the grace of an Apache, outside the General’s bedroom window, his knife shining in the moonlight. Though the sound of him sharpening it afterwards would have been audible to the General’s ears. Here he lies outside the General’s house in a pool of blood, his buckskin shot through with the General’s gun by the General’s wife. She stands there in the darkness of her legacy.
NO OUTLET In the light of time’s street sweeper, a row of ants dribbled along a curb, so tiny, I gave thanks for being human. The not-‐sound of squirming and the not-‐sound of ants dying under foot. Each one, lived to be seen, not heard.Up and down Terrace Road, bugs multiplied in miniature colonies. That ice cream cone turned over on the road many, many years Ago. That is the food of ants. ‘Oh keep the worm away” That’s my nostalgia. My dog who stays still when I call. I will burn the sugar off the ant, begin a fire with glass and sun. You are at the end of this path, my friend. Terrace Road lets out no one.
HENRY PARKS A BICYCLE IN THE SPACE GARAGE I. The clouds begin where I keep perfumed under the carrousel’s ceiling. Imagine an archer’s arrow connecting with Henry’s bicycle, as Henry pedals through woods and into stars, the pacifist descends to combat. The plot begins where I was ending up in Henry’s story, or any other I might write. For now, there was this nonchalant ceiling fan, which I saw chopping my head off from boredom. I was ready to cut and run, right off the page, into another kind of paradox, more surreal, like concealment, or space. Only, this was where Henry was riding his bicycle. II. He had a blue screen. I had an implicit feeder in my inner ear. And historical relevance on my ceiling. Do his prompts, his projections, ever go on the fritz? Does he have nightmares like this? Even the antelopes react to God’s caprice. Where antelopes roam, they pranced, frenzied under nadir ice, below my feet compact from centuries of vice —all for one cause— the golden ring’s effusive call, its spectacle of horses. III. Henry’s like this remotest paradox. On an elevator like this? Henry asked, as I debased him.
Divorce Henry was the saddest see you later alligator appearing on his screen. She had 1, 2. She had 1, 2. These saddest words appearing on his escape, debased him. As if such remorse could spark a sudden interest in space apparel. Whether made of mylar or plastic vellum, elastic or neoprene. The tear in the fabric scratches like my hiss, ages from now. He was deer-‐parked in his elegance, He was a rapier, I was unmade, managing the saddest face. An alligator, replacable. A poor transmitter, lullaby, an orbital constant, retracing my steps back to the basement where I once saw a bat fright out from a holler. IV. My metronomic hastier resistor embedded in hysteria sounds like routine equivalents carried forth. Below nadir ice (where the antelopes roam) into outer space, Sir Walter Raleigh or my papiol, even they, direct their SENTENCES, at the pier’s end, towards the carrousel, even to such suburban prisons where I dwell. I keep it all in the family, per se, since the general killed them today, it’s hard to surfeit the names for whom my secrets are purchased, for whose sake I carve hieroglyphs of markings on antelopes with my ice skates, round and round, until I fall.
V. There is one clear voice that easily registers every other silence, every other, as long as you’ve been called. This voice promises a pair of ears for hands. I can hardly stand to hear. Or consider her voice from any other. I leave it to Henry, and howsoever he hears it, no matter how I try to refoot, back again towards icy breakers, when on a neon night, breaths suspended, and longing faltered from the moon to land on rain swept pier, plunge into the ocean, dive closer to the antelopes, when I first heard the sound, first saw the blood appear. VI. Henry and I, together then on our bicycles, the gathering of our impulses where we rode round and round, grounded by a nether voice, which we met there, when we got there. Look forward to space success the voice said, jangling in our ears, dogtag clatter’s crystal. Let go of Indian summers and balloon strings, hula hoops and pinstripes, jars of lemonade, serenades of june bugs, piñatas strung over car lots, cherry bombs; burnt ends of candlewicks. Let go of midnight swims wings worn in the school play, hold the lettuce,
a pink bicycle, a red mitten unraveling. Let go of the breath you held for the dead canary, Pluck a yellow feather, Press it in a book. VII. Henry represented the worry of walls. Interupption: italics Where is Henry, where is he, to get explained my whereabouts? Exactly who heard that voice pitched exactly at the curve of the pier’s end. Who exactly? Where is Henry, where is he, to get explained my whereabouts? The voice also frightened me there and there. Doubly at the end of the pier. Where is Henry, where is he, to get explained my whereabouts? VIII. What he heard, I myself had heard pitched exactly as others also did, that voice at the end of the pier. But nothing frightened me more than the ominous light beneath the door. IX. The verdict: The ceiling fan became a spokes and tire. Tick tock, its spinning thrusts a jangling clop, just like an analogue clock. Time for the archer, some kind of joke, to say,
you will fight, to release wisdom, earn peace. Another de/lay, Coming closer and then closer, then the 1 is called, another remains. The old story of number 2s connecting night and day. Seahorses don’t appear from thin air or magic. Antelopes and horses, figments of imagination. Where do they come from? China, I guess, as the owl of Minerva flies out of the great wall. How does a 3 or 4 become smaller? Send the Papiol off to war and he’ll grow stronger. X. Does he have nightmares like this? Embedded in the earth’s glassy body, antelope glaciers, celestial and primitive. Prehistoric class: ruminant. Plunked like glass into the chiasmus of the creek ceiling. Crescendoes: pressing one’s back, one’s shoulders against the saturation of stars, the hush and splendor of silent space. But the horses, barely breathe anymore. The whinnies of the carrousel die down, whatever music the maker made to carry out the crusade, Well, what do I know? Haha bangbang only dreaming of travelling to the Great Wall, only dreaming of other lives. XI. I don’t like having this boulder put to me.
I don’t like the ambiance of this jazz, music. Click. The flutes jettison. A rumble as the brigade turns on my remotest anxiety, the v of birds enter the cleft. Wingspan dithering in a pentameter of a Sunday morning, listening to David Bowie in Milledgeville, GA, CD Wright, my red gloves. I throw down this poem about the turbines. How did Henry James stop the insubstantial stuttering of our sex and learn to pass through AWE into AWE? Alter these corpuscles. Mix in the platelets. And every now and then pops up a dirigible, slicing its hawsers one by one. I can hear the artillery clicking. Radio-‐static blurs the receiver I need to speak these public lines. My ear chip on the fritz, hot and sweaty behind the podium, I, the medium, hiding behind her seasoned artifice, rose to tell you this. (I hog the phone repeating every story twice) But in that moment felt the wobble, lost use of the equipment, begged god, the machine to work again, channel sentences I understand. XII. The owl of Minerva flies out of the great wall into garages of the universe. Cars parked in them. People in the cars. Machines in the people. The chip inside the machine works in the holler to recover the body. (This pen sounds fricative against this paper, in my ear’s thrum many futures hence.)
I rehearse my part. In my ear’s thrum ages from now, I remember I heard what Henry heard. When I rehearse my part, I remember I heard what Henry heard. Eons from now, vibrations against my Mylar suit, a substitute for bicycles. From the hand of the dice thrower, I am launched. I am following him. Hearing the voice taunt now when before it was like a siren’s song. Ha. I caught you again. Death sentence plunged in the nadir ice. Ha. Ha. I was sent on by telegraph. Antelopes again. Ha. Ha. I caught you riding on the carrousel. Oh was it a hoax? Or was it a hoax? I caught you again on the carrousel daydreaming about horses and galloping ha ha I caught you XIII. In hearing’s portal, the car is indexed, inside the garage. The car pulls out. Backing out into the street, at any speed, is now an option. God-‐granted. Backing out at any speed is now an option. 1.2.3 I clear my voice. I look through the death mask I wear.
Tap at the microphone pedal. Hear the bad signal scratch back pad through static into a cleaner air. Every now and then, I get worried about the chip in my ear. Dirigibles. Sounds enter me like strings in rosary beads. They come back as English, American. I dilate, my corpuscles steady, descend, work again in congress with platelets and natural chemicals. Joy’s avalanche falls on me with AWE. XIV. By the skin of our bear teeth, we emigrate. Shelf life barely receding, barely distilled. The calico schoolhouse in the distance where there once was a prairie. I, Davy Crockett. turned the television on at home in America. I, Dostoevsky, was three years old. I, Kumari, kept balance, after Dee Vorce, by watching the families on the television screen. The TV said. DIVORCE. It was a good rehearsal. Mere message. Pantomiming the real, until the real is pantomimed. Garages of the universe. Cars parked in the garages. People in the cars. Inside the people images of these garages of the universe. Laundry machines, TV sets, paint cans and tin foil heaps, spark-‐plug kits, chipped ceramic pots, houseplants. A pair of creek sneakers and a bicycle. The door slams the TV shut. XV.
Open the book to open the voice. She comes from across the pier. Look forward to space success, the voice tells the bicycle. The bicycle meets the voice at the end of the universe. A bicycle appears from nowhere. With barely a peep, Sixo rode it into Henry’s chamber, Where the bats lived. That door also slams the book shut. XVI. For practice I took the bicycle, for awhile I practiced nature. Rode the bicycle to the creek, no Nantucket, but a spindly creek in central Pennsylvania, crochet blanket thrown aside from my place on the basement couch. Legs still hot from too much of that comfort. Flicked off the power buttons on everything electric. Stopped. Took the bicycle for space practice over the rocky driveway. Moving forward, the rickety sound of air through spokes, engendering the historic sweep. Space practice over to the creek. And I stared: The dam and fishermen and egrets. An old house on the other alter set up high with windows to look at, not through. A heap of mowed grass. Egrets again. Crawfish and worms. Flat rocks like platelets. Cantilevered upward, as my hand felt its way through the proper arc and method of throw— rings winnowing out of each one, 2, 3. Dip and glug, infinite recurrence
of the same. The heart will work for me, too, said Henry James, How like an island the bicycle becomes.
Naughty, Naughty When I look into that book and next find it just the right size, fits well today inside my paradox. Remotest nub of chance, haunting my every days. Keep it far hence, whatever it was, I know the name but keep my lips pursed. Donâ€™t want to break the spell. When I lift this page up to my beak as you knew I would with my chirping all of yesterday how it was never, ever going to happen again. All of my egrets all white, flying northward, not even frightened, but alas not to return, now, forever out of sight. So nimbly I stay tuned to my next remotest paradox, hurtle upright under duress of stardust. I turn to you, blooming all gloomily purple out there, beautiful in the moors.
Hunter/Hunted A rifle aimed at chance, hunches lead the scent. Another book discarded, skipped rock on the bottom of a creek bed. I look into the next book. Once, I kept it, flint of shale, far hence, tensing through crosshairs, that it must be bad. Twice, it’s nibbling at the feathers. I already let fall. Where? Wherever it was, I knew the name, I’ve changed my language. Hush, as a welt of mystery appears inside my wing. I’m folding into birdsleep, to follow libraries of downed-trees, to ruffle old feathers, shed new ones, soar angled, into stanzas, obedient, axioms, caught under moonlight, rendered where they bramble, sepia of lavender, gloomier than a wolf. When I lift this book up, elegies of the moors, to my beak as you knew, the view, I chose to, even as your dog ears rise, then flap down, generous not to shut closed, with my shrieking all of yesterday how it was ever, never, I am again with song, going to happen. With all of my egrets, all of them modern, flying northward, not returning, not now, part of the hunt.
Hexagram Jinx Try drawing that heart pinker than dread and once drawn away it becomes time to puff out another me, another horse, never stabilized, annoyance with carrousels, the wet blinds, the weepers, the bed being turned-down for another not final rest. I wake mornings 6AM to Antelope alarm bells oozing out of my blackberry pearl, hit snooze being both afraid of my crisis and unmoved.
SANDOVER If I want to travel to Turtle Ocean that’s alright . . . I’ll have to find a way to manage it. And, for God’s sake, No Poaching! Henry James Back again to the cold breakers. Never the sand in toes again. Feels like snow’s coming. Gone already? Let me turn the newspaper page, and see for myself. And yesterday was Turtles. Today it is glass in my soup. Catch, catch, the bauble falling. Begin to stir the soup. Back then there was an old sage. We called him by his name: Sand-over
Back into deeper ocean, the linear crest churned into her remotest self where horizon seemed to greet the plane he stood on. Yesterday was Turtles and tomorrow is a Seahorse and even my own name has gone back home to fetch a mask. Back then there was an old sage. We called him by his name: Sand-over
ACCOUSTIC COFFEEHOUSE POEM Subscriptions to the New Yorker. Being ruined by such and such. Even that I can google. The library is closed by now, another good idea. But this gnawing and gnawing until all spirit turns into muscle. The child's figure, as rich. And it's too hot outside. If I start to notice other characters, they come in. Once he disappeared. I could not-‐-‐ even with the crooning music of cafe ambiance, resurrect him.
DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS CHAPTER NINE Old man, old man, out of my left eye seeing you seeing me I read your tshirt more than twice and heard your substantial cough that will disappear as nothing
To Divide or Not What about the irrevocable the doorway that split the self apart standing uncertain of the way in or the way out until I was turning a doorknob back in my memory, about to walk inside the basement, decisions being made then, cauterize what can’t be unmade—there being no way out—just my hand on the door knob— choosing to turn. The nucleus reenacts this--to divide or not. There was a creek bed and inside the waters—the ugly crawfish crawling in loose silt. Men fished on the dam, and I loosened my power—drained by the energy the doors needed to stay locked. There is no argument now having chosen—only awe.
You could chase or follow the sound. Never without a compass. Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle. We called the dog off Sixo. A voice to look after you, the voice said, “For space success.” Jutting slowly like whale fins from an ocean-pier. You could never chase or follow the sound. without a compass. Quick medium hounds tore off behind the bicycle. Sixo said freeze. Sixo said Simon says. Red light. Green light. Even statue. We tried. We tried to call the dog off the bicycle. It was a voice looking after you, “For space success,” the voice said slowly jutting out of the ocean looking like a whale fin from the pier.
FOOD MONEY FOR BIRDS For three days he spent the food money on birds of every kind. The terrace was now alive with birds.--Anais Nin There was the spotlight and the summit. I would wait there for the plump birds, purple in their paint color. Piebald sky, where the dark emptied and where light came through, everywhere else a scatter of birds. Just to remind me what I’d forgotten (where had I put the money?) They hardly asked me to spell my name; in the coat closet I was tongue-tied. It was the words that made me— my vocabulary. Each bit of stardust mint garden. Each animal, squirrel. I was called to. I was made to come here by this call. They kept erecting some other promises, I never saw myself inside, along the way, affirmed I would be, yes, the president, yes, a paw print in your garden, patriot of two nations, more now as they’ve scattered. Not one bird but two, and then uncountable. Inside each new form was a bird (another alibi) White birds, black birds, each a little v-line constrained by sky, each bleeting distinct. And by these songs I kept entertained. That the money didn’t make me. I was born of something else. And then made soft by
HIATUS Who could say why Henry slept, lay supine and dormant ? When, even backing out mornings, and moving formward to the intersection where I turned right to go to school. I could see. Weaving in and out, a car door slamming, black cows on greenery, or the swatch of yellow lightning, saying with me, hello or amen, his voice tight around my eternal throat.
Even in outer space, in a time capsule, words to move us with\ move with us, become the math we understand. It was\ approximately, a way to let you know where I’d be riding the horse: around the carrousel, here and then there, centered on its pinions.
WHERE HIS BIKE LAY FLAT What color was the boy's jacket in that city where you first saw snow where the flag turned into itself by the force of wind. Students say it howled and the jacket was downy red. What color was that little girl's jacket in that country where you first saw bees and honeycombs, read poetry about flees bothering corpses-‐-‐home-‐grown and down with the frogs jumping at the bog. That's where the summer started. Down by the cray fish crawling onto a dam. That's where the summer began, when I turned into a man, a bicycle rider into blue sky. Egrets fly long arcs into the sun-‐lit blue, icicles dangle from that other house all the way yonder across the sea, a sea I don't ever wander into, fret yet, fingers spring in to dip the water. Not a minute, not a year, not a morning glory's worth of life, not the blink of time that was paradise. I pined at the edge of flat ice cricks, Henry wander(ing) (wandered) over where his bike lay flat, another barnacle. The ice, compact, I sipped the runneth over the rim. I see him. Icy him. Over and under and tumbling, lottery balls in the sifter. Stiff corpse frozen, just under the surface. The hodge-‐podge wreck of a man carted off to the looney bin, my Henry, divorced from the probability of all things falling. All falling things, echo visions flying as designed into night sky gathering starry eyelets that rouge pink, bionically.
Laser into the chambers of the bicycle's titanium, sixo's work, stars and more stars, there being no fear of gravity here, jostling in the sifter, volts rush and reach outwards, a thousand hands and at their tips 10 thousand fingers. Hallucinate the color I wore two thousand eons long ago under neon billboard signs blown glass orange, glowing roundly and out all along the lawn of asphalt, call Uncle, calling Uncle, Uncle until another boy became the angel I made of snow.
COLLAPSED MATH It was time to take over; the food was in the gulch. Little primroses and the cantilevered clouds perplexed no one anymore. The antelopes had disappeared into the tall yellow-‐green stalks of beech-‐grass. My head lost in prairies somewhere in crisis. God knows it was always supposed to have been this way. It was time to grapple with the algorithm. Restore the climate to what it had been before the hurricane. Before the drought. Before the torrents. Before the desert crept into the shallow river beds. Before I had gone back into the formation of the v, the disappearing of the form until formlessness reigned, wobbling outwards, slowly diaphanous, then completely gone. Out here the stardust tends to scream into the remotest puddle of an asphalt alleyway. Out here in the third eye after a game of chess. I shake the archer’s hand. He draws a bicycle in the sand.
WHAT SIXO TOLD ARJUNA dedicated to Michael S. Harper I took God down all walls. I put God up. I took God down all walls. I put God up. I took God down all walls. I put God up.
The long road drawn long like an arrow.
THE OTHERS In every room a ceiling fan, the spooks come to offer metaphors for every poetry. In every bed I have gone to rest terror in the shadow of the blade that spins suspended from a wall a guardian from rain and other outside elements Let the sky come in cloud my sleep let the clouds winnow, tear, whirl or glide along moonlight their outlines claiming a distance I fuck to measure, get there where your trail heads back behind the nursery track into my mansion on a hill or at the lighthouse gabled, even a pale blue promise, let it be, glow yellow, blinds open on bedsheets, a Decatur neighborhood, circa 2002, my smile from side to side flies so fast I might catch you still. Shrilly buckle under the grasping and breathe once, collapse. The fan again. That dasein scene
from Memento, I remember, without tattoos because I go nowhere there’s not a fan spinning. Smile so wide, the horses tried to run me down. Mistaken for their kind, wilder, pre historic. Dear girl, merely grew sick as sickness can make me who was born innocent. As a hunter I do believe I’ve become clever with these tools. Hold a fork. Spoon feed you clues, until you are under the sheet, and then glazed over by ice. Fish, eye, coaster. Root-‐salvage the past this way. With their nikes and blue jeans and goatees. All those earthly rings their glasses leave on a cherry table top. Makes me cry, to think of my friends staying far behind. Down there or up? Only peering up through the whiskey glass where the rest of them sit back, relaxing despondently, Questions as indifferent as these answers I do not give the hypocrite. I stare up at you, Henry.
As if concentration, that mesmerizing dot
in the process of becoming, would reduce or surrender. A flagship voice says don’t stop me you’ve been bothering me my whole life. And these were “The Others” The ghosts that figured in a fabric in through a hole, a certain light his mother wore. His mother wrought by its other side. She wrote. She might flip a coin, try death or into her son’s consciousness, extend and live again. Shhh lulls him, pulling his real mask. Glimpse in droplets a sheet of death. The other side of consciousness—where science lives. The Other side. Where your brother rides in circles reaching an arm, an extended finger poking a black hole, around which a gold ring spins so continuously
it seems not to spin. A hero entertains me but I never listen. Hear me hissing Henry, motionless, Miss
you. And these were “The Others”: Sirens, singing women Henry entertained. In his ghost parlor, I sat as if drugged— a red liquid splashed against a divan or bed. In the future, I am listening to that purring. I take on the pallor of harlots, rendering your death! Unto you, now once you found me better. Antler horns like spread legs. Against me they moved their skins, like pelts they felt, primitive or furied, by being of the room they were the room sibilant bitches by being in my heart they became my heart
and became my arms as their arms my hair as their’s and as with their lips I began to respond Shhh your mother said, bending low to pet me The blood appeared
as if I had from her breast been fed the same as you. Shhh, she said, I feel you listening. As if inside a chrysalis . . . She seemed to wear a yellow dress. The yellow fabric changed to green. I saw her glowing bluer Then redder she became. A pool appeared in which my shame did ride upon the backs of antelopes, another carrousel reconceived in hell.
And the animals sped so wildly across the void, they burned, and broke, and burned. And all that she became, she became. And all that she had been, became rehearsed,
the frozen plain of ice above, melting, swallowing every space around my skin, until I was held there in the womb
flipping a coin
“I CAN’T ESCAPE UNHAPPINESS,” SAID AUTHOR “IN MARRYING YOU I WOULD TRY.” I. The word “process” from the spine of a book obtrudes. I leave that space, move to my bed, reap into parts, the head of the story, the limbs. In dormant space, where light piano keys call my ears away, closer to the other door where rain, earlier, patters still. Like violins, in and out, I remember creek beds, one spring. I remember Henry. II. If I overtake time by treading back into time, a ruminant cloved-‐animal appears. Ruminant: a word, Meaning to chew cud, to turn Over in the mind. III. How stomach and mind be linked. Methinks upon this happenstance. If ever love cleaved the gut and mind and led to violence in that union, if ever the lover did reject the contents of her lunch into civilized porcelain, while thinking of betrayal, visions of his leave-‐taking, the departure of spirit, even before his body departed. Gallows draw boundaries for his steel trajectory
to unknown space. IV. Who are the enemies of process? I ask, laying down my pink Huffy, walk to the shallow bed where a crawfish lay. V. Claw. Unbroken then broken. Claw. Unbroken then broken. VI. In Tennessee I saw a jar. The jar was my heart. I was still as any still thing, as still as a painting. Of a painting, we do not ask it to speak. Of my longing for Henry. Ellipses.
TAROT PACK Success prevented by Delay with a green strawlike 7 coming out from in between the word: De 7 lay. Guided by the moon. Wolves in the foreground. Earns Rest. The one With Skill. The man inside the infinite Wheel will turn and turn. Until the checkered beehive background Opens to a desert scene. A wagon wheel. Or, something my type. In the background I see the city. Part of the reason Henry Stared. Into the spinning fan of desolation. Part of the reason the moon glows Over pillowy poppy clouds. A lotus forward floating. A red sheet coats the background of Loss. A sword points True north. While other swords move southward.
“At the Grave of Henry James” Epitaph or Epigraph All will be judged. Master of nuance and scruple, Pray for me and for all writers, living and dead: Because there are many whose works Are in better taste than their lives, because there is no end to the vanity of our calling, make intercession For the treason of all clerks. W.H. Auden, “At the Grave of Henry James” I kept returning to the kitchen’s paradox. There was no report of disease. There was no general to deliver any one of many hierarchies. I wanted to take the box cutter to the police, insist I had no involvement with crime. Insist on other forms of carnage: what my mind entertained but did not realize. I can’t keep walking all these extra miles to get nothing in return. Thresholds. And with no Henry to carry me. The trance just comes and goes. It’s the element of surprise that keeps my antelopes wishing for their carthorses. They enjoy freakish codependence and befriending each other. But there was no need. I was told to take the grommets to level six.
THE GENERAL OF THE CEILING FAN FACTORY I kept returning to the kitchen’s paradox. There was no report of disease. There was no general to deliver any one of many hierarchies. But I was sure there would be. I dreamed of his white mustache. His old word ways. I wanted to take the box cutter to the police, insist I never crimed. Insist on other forms of carnage. What do minds entertain and never do? And all these miles walked for nothing. No threshold. No Henry. The trance just comes and goes. Comes and goes like a ticking bomb. Tick tock. For that surprise element, my antelopes long for their carthorses, enjoy freakish friendships, codependence. No need I was told: Grommets process at level six.
THERE It wasn’t waxwings he was planning to fly with. That’s the difference. Maybe he made it into space. Maybe he’s there now. In the first story we are told of the treachery of his ambition, to fly, to become something beyond beast or man. We are told this treachery ends in madness. But it’s in madness it begins. He is gone. He is gone. He is never coming back.
ANOTHER BARRACUDA For the coldest days I keep the British Museum in my pocket, an antidote, a little wormwood. Standing in the aisles, no foghorn, but a sense of having lost my purse or keys, drew a chalk-‐line around my daydream. I retraced my steps: arrived very early to campus, that day, a full fours hours, but by the third hour in the library aisles and the doubling of Henry’s sorrows, I forgot to be where I should be. So I walked out into albedo’s atomic cloud. Some later morning a plane landed. In whatever home God says nothing when I shout. I got tired and made some coffee. The udders of my bathrobe dragging on linoleum. Yiddish. Rubbish. I spent one year with the school psychiatrist. Another barracuda.
To the Killer You wandered here after the first night of not knowing why. After the seventh time, you paused at daybreak to think under a welling-‐sun, the solitary walk, the tearing away from the hinge. (home) A deluded surge entered with distraction a thrush, or a heavy-‐lidded man leaning against this damn. This creek, no Nantucket, Hattaras— nor a barge for sea scallops or shrimp. This ship, boat-‐palm cupping into mucky water where crawfish were, caught and let go, ugliness captured as long as you could bear screeches of innocent witnesses—for whom this was (no) new event.
A Delirium of Aesthetic Wit I will grow only more and more beautiful if I descend. Only that I’ve been fixed so long in the precise knowing of suffering: the days it took to learn the art of indenting one line over another, or breaking nothing into stanzas. What barbs will be left when the fence around me melts into a delirium of mettle. Ha! Ha! I will only grow more and more redundant, become that which I’ve created: a mirror I can never see myself without. When fate traps the body inside one of the swords, there is nothing like two swords opposing, if only heaven could see itself, understand the futility of the pen. How sincere I might have been and surrendered.
Alphabet These are the words even yet without image. Then rivulet happens, a burr of spikes expands from nothing, rolls along the skin, a painful message, wears away until smooth. Then, I begin to put it down, say what I meant. The smooth stone, rounded utterance, pitched exact, becomes what was meant, and yet unknown to my intention. How do I set out or make the Other ideal? Or understood? I don’t want to play another way: this caprice of never meaning anything at all; formless, hovering above an idea, never to unlearn the alphabet.
Preoccupation with Ascent It could’ve been Sixo because he heard the voice too, who leapt on some other mode of transport, say, a crow. A barn swallow. Anything with wings could’ve picked him up lead him to wherever yonder the voice was urging. He heard it too. The rise and fall of its feminine come-‐hither calling. Almost angel-‐like, almost safe. Especially on a warm summer night when Sixo would lay down on the pier to rest. Graced with the feeling he could make plans. Henry paid Sixo to fix that bicycle up right. Sixo knew the price but he had to find a way to live in this world. What Sixo could do with a bicycle any winged thing, would have done for him. And me? What about me. I knew Sixo, say, out the corner of my eye. I could spot him, in his elegance, shining the chrome caps of the tires, even felt, by instinct, what his gifts could do. But he didn’t learn how to tell a story until long after Henry had gone. Off with my heart. I was skipping rocks along the bank with no one but Henry for company
for so long that I missed the longing grown inside him. I kept up the pace, for how long, riding our bicycles away from whatever thing we needed to run. But I was always going back home to my mother, turning right, laying my bike flat on the driveway. So long, I’d say to Henry, learning to deliver himself to that voice on the chariot Sixo was mastering for him, until there was no one left to hear me say, See you later Alligator. And me? What about me. Did I hear that voice during those long afternoons of catching crawfish, skittering along the silt? I held something ugly in my hands one moment, let it go.
The Uncanny of Stretch We were persuaded of a ghost station grounded in the body. Come-‐ons scratching at the wheel, fricative, spinning against this mylar suit. Thought I twere a man. Many futures hence, in a galaxy far far away . . . Don’t let the thicket stop you, Henry. . . . after face-‐planting on the bedrock of myth . . . Thwack. Wing-‐spread dither. The planting of bones against macadam. Bedrock this, the voice resounds at the other end of surfaces. The Ocean, laughing her way (over surfaces) The Bicycle, Henry James rides upon, as if he’s at the carnival, spinning around a carrousel, however many moons ago. Let the horses break your heart, Henry, bingo, being so practical, you put your heart right in-‐ to the spokes instead. Headed off to the dam for skipping rocks. (shimmying over surfaces) Take the picture, there. Centuries hence, here they’ll see this bicycle pumping blue like a harp. Go into the thickets, Henry’s voice across the pier repeats. Pumping down, he pumped down harder, pumping uphill towards that galaxy far far away. Everything clear until the evening light along the pier, receded, clambering through the wall btw flesh and sky, stars flickering into the pool of what became; the ingress of blood like the late summer leaves, falling as if Henry, too, would join the human babies straddling their legs Riding the carrousel on horses that aren’t real
under newborn legs in love with the madrigal of horse hooves. bustling with love for horses. with the seahorses, riding around with the madrigal of horse hooves. Henry pumped his bicycle to join into the sound, his heart caught in the spokes of his bald front tire.
Archipelagos As I win my waxwing childhood ride eternal on plastic pomp and circumstance, I love my pony and her inanimation, juice at her confused whinnying, ridden wild across the waves, break and burn against them and then lose my faculty to adjust the fabulosity from the panic that it should have been. A nightmare of horses coined, in expert gallop, to and from the sea emerge as antelopes, below the ice, that nadir end of surfaces.
Address to the Pinion What about being a revolver instead of being what’s revolved around? This time the gearworks break. Easier this way, to scapegoat, coax an endgame, in a whinnying I hear slaughter continue. shutter/click What would it be like to become prehensile? Long before the machinery of horse-‐gears and baroque animals offered their backs. I might not have learned how to ride this carrousel. Think back, I might have never learned to bend my fingers, pry open the shaft, lift a pen. What jeopardy might have become me then? What would it be like, just an atom, no word for heaven. World pinioned for revolt, crystallizing into computer?
Entitlement While my eyes graze over, pluck forward the lintels there, blue in the caned twilight, like a burial ground, if seen as the sweet end, night-‐musk fills my beak threatening this glide, toward the terrible focus. Edges of these surfaces forming nests for landing into. Gay paroles in the air, gables full of hawthorn blooms, magnolias under southern shade, a cedar growing upward, as I cut wingspan, slit air’s skin, over green landscapes on which the flight depends. For what am I if not in opposition to what I see? The paradox of the bicycle, like and unlike what I was born as, to be this winged thing, unflappable.
Piece of Sugar The impatient waiter simply waits. She is the one who has time without wanting it. I must, willy-‐nilly, wait until the sugar melts, to drink my cup of sweetened water. Aperitif— surmount this obstacle with maddening patience. I wait, scant attention paid to the turmoil of my walking days when I watched the seagulls graze over my head. A time, when I did not endure and spite time but enjoyed the duration of that quivering shadow undulating like the sea waves under the late summer sunlight. I willy-‐nilly now remember a viscous substance dangling from my eyes that they called tears.
Letter to Blank Your repose, like the languid way in which I eschew the compromise of ____ , is familiar in quality, but related to an utter-‐ ly different circumstance. As origins of all things prevail only when the intended-‐historian writes the script, I may circle Yes or No. To what avail? You know you’re AWEsomeness better, and have the tenacity vs. composure to trill its every warbling vertigo. As origins of all things prevail by the rhythm of historical syntax. Just at it should . . . I ran a circle around ______ or ______. Either/Or? Let it not be by chance, I throw I Ching to find the answer.
Oh My Ellipses Keep the dilation steady, elastic as the syringe held up Celebrate before the cantilevered clouds, curvature the nanosecond this sound inserts insouciance, Inveterate sound, I slice my hand into it. Let me illustrate. A pair of dice, thrown way back . . . Insertion of an elision, in certain languages strikes me dumbfound. These occasional crises (theatrical searching for pronouns) awakens in me, derisions awakens my impulse for creativity, or spirituality, whichever one prevails. (whichever one listens). Keep the dilation steady, as this is the starting point, right before the nanosecond of the dumb show. What did the I-‐ Ching say? I asked in crisis what I should do Through turnstiles. Through occasional crises in certain cities; the feet that are supposed to stay grounded, upright, above the nadir-‐ice, through which I peer (redundant) at the antelopes. They loosen their roots. Have you ever seen a downed tree? What am I doing here on a frozen crick, another country, without my ice-‐ skates,,nowhere to be, not yet, wanting only to carve and slices circles
in the ice, around the antlers and eyes, lying in the cold-‐dark Dead for how many centuries? I’m dim-‐witted, votive, against all troubles, alibis of coherent syntax. I-‐Ching: stumble up the road, back down again through the windy stairway the underneath of all high-‐ball glasses:
The Wood Veneer Reflected trough the whiskey glass: Routine equivalents. Bar-‐hopping in the mix. Barn-‐swallows. Minx. I am not root-‐salvaging. Not compromising here. Wish he had been someone else. Correspond with a letter. I went someplace else. He(a)rd the antelopes. Pulled them with a sleigh. Or let the sleigh be pulled by them. Sled down the icy slope, swallowing molasses. As all-‐white canvas slit diagonally with a box-‐cutter. Remember who they were when all literate? Could I learn to smell again. Re-‐remember what once made me (happier than this). Rowing and row-‐ ing. Large gray elephant. Frozen over, the antelopes drowned in the lake. Gone extinct by winter, good night, we wish ourselves past loves pantomime. Cardboard love paintings, ominous characters under the lake glass. Peer through to the animals under your feet, find Cardboard love pantomiming on the telephone line: O cord, cord, did you need a soul for that? In the eighties I was free. My chakras like a Rubik’s Cube, and his rung by hula hoops. Did mine not find a counterpart? I don’t know pellets of snow, Can see,
split the road’s fast jetties, Someone dies. Each eye puts on a new shoe. Open. Closed. Theatrical. A combination we can’t see anymore, we wax on, corpuscles splitting through roads then arch-‐-‐sideways mélange. The roads deepen in their retreat, fast jetties of winsome. Ah bicycle. did you need a soul for that? I keep, elementally, by my side, a telescope. This may hurt you some. These forecasts of certain maelstroms, more amenable than others. Nine inches of snow already
This Carrousel I forgot the here-‐to-‐fore, the unsettling of tinnitus, where the earplugs removed the braying of the seahorses in concert with the land horses and air balloons. Let me back into those estuaries, phantom canals of the black honey my leaden legs worked so hard to get through, to make it again, somewhere to sit. Let me imagine the darkest parts of our bodies. The words come out like moon-‐doves: Honey. Honeybees, work rings around the constellations, move in revolutions like this carrousel. Coordinates break my heart. Everything they weren’t everything once, telling you the longitude and latitude. I could scream through a sound-‐proof room, the kitchen’s black dishwater, Manitoba’s moonlight or a paper boat. And you’d hear me, in concert with the land horses and the hot air balloons.
The Plane Taking Off I put my heart right in it, flat and ordered as it was bound to become, corpuscles, even as the horse moved up and down, even as it turned around a pinpoint. as soon as I decided to work for you, you would always find me, approximately, buried beneath the giant, cartoon parasol that keeps my seahorse hidden from the sun. I pressed the button and the engine whirred the lights blinked on, so you would think everyday was carnival. Even in outer space, in a time capsule, words to move us with\ move with us, become the math we understand. It was\ approximately, a way to let you know where I’d be riding the horse: around the carrousel, here and then there, centered on its pinions.
Instructions on Origami Letting go of paper where is the story I wrote about paper boats floated out to sea He went somewhere out to sea, to see the paper boats floating in the water he heard the Heart heard the water swirl swishing inside the hollow cove its small sloshing as if in a cupped palm in the Philippines off the coasts a thousand paper boats and how just one in the Seine? Where is the way back from the never was, that bridge? How is that boat folded? Skipping rocks throne. Boats that Float made of paper There was a pink orchid in it Made with India Ink. I’d have known what boat to make if . . . he stole the paper by being paper with his toes wading knowing the boat with his toes, wading on the sand on the beach, wading into the water when young. Silver rocks, silver rocks were thrown on silver seas. Those were the best words; those were the source words. I had a boat that without . . . what without an ocean for it. There was a fog I’d wrote about somewhere on the water. The way he walked on the sand. No matter how much he loved the ocean. I was not born in Jayapura, but that’s where my father was from. Nations call to people. Sir Walter Raleigh came to America.
Binding Arbitration (regard unfortunate poetic weight on nightingale, mama, papa, etc) In the iceswishing, I was his poor mosquito. Bite marks on his skin, that little itching that came from being treasonous; it all works out or all comes back. Even when he hushed me to hear the nightingale, rainwater, mama’s golden bangles. I listened to tree frogs chirrup in the bogwater. How dark was the inside of their hiding place? How much moonlight came in? The treasons come back, nameless faces recur, a little red harbor and the flames form shadows around their faces, and shadowed around their forms, I veer Into the shadow, a red harbor, a harbor, crook of arm, he put the other on the hipbone keeping me secure from it. Three sips of whiskey. Take after take of photographs. If tin disguised glass. If the wilted petal fallen from a glass column. If going back, if there was an able to by time travel. If tin disguised glass. But I cut open sky and find something else to glance through. You (hypocrite) will love your easy, effortless look. Even the gods told you not to. Even when papa hushed me to hear the nightingale and the rainwater, mama’s golden bangles clanging on her cocktail glass. The encoded milky whirls I stare through, crystal vase seafoam green backlit where he was and I was Sending a look to relatives leaving on a city bus, going on pilgrimage (again) a tulip of dust out of the tailpipe. These days you hear a feather landing. I didn’t want to hear it; didn’t try Then got to thinking about something else. Shrugging when asked a question. Hang out with family now watching TV, DNA-‐ absorbed. The brain being unlucky to exist. The lovely arc roses create between eye and vase, when they come fresh-‐ picked and dew drops on the granite top; cut-‐glass tenoring a peach glow with green flecks and the winter rouge . . . of certain faces. That time of year . . .
He was washing a dinner pot under very hot water, looking at it. Demure. The spout as metallic and vain as pure water. I was looking at him. When the snow was melting, his hand found my button and undid it, looking like a sparrow caught in a barb. Ruing when face and unface mattered, I covet the mask-‐embers crackling out of the firepit. Flake and detritus outlast farewells, final vestige in the crackling around my red harbor; they say these tulip-‐puffs die too, cough out embers of leave-‐taking all animate/inanimate Books I read to go outside and unfrighten, sleep. Those days as night were not leaving me I breathed without choosing. Bent closer inside the harbor, a kind of lean-‐to.
Sir Walter Raleigh My soul will be a-‐dry before; But, after, it will thirst no more. Wherever the ship would carry him. The unmolded slab of clay and what became of him. Stars upon stars were flecked on the pavement. The same stars in the seawater that had carried him. (lulled him) (Stars she alludes to . . . he alludes to . . . ??) (the stars were all anymore that united him to her—but they united everyone—and made a common man of him) (comet clouds on the macadam) The cold snow that came was later beaten out of him. The season she had wept through now smelled like dead animals. (series of hieroglyphs flickering on the cave wall, a new world, even then) No space to keep it in, just memory an orphaned locket somewhere in the jewelry box (stored), and somewhere an arrangement of paintbrushes and a portrait painter scraping a palette knife against the canvas (in the manner of undoing a mistake) he had worn a hat then and listened to the papers carrying everything between his hands the nation and whatever it allowed him all in the name of convenience (a cubicle, corner pharmacy) and he was going now. Other worlds were what the old Gods bequeathed him. So that would explain the mess he made of the Queen’s Holy Empire Her ruined name, her infamy and all those songs the choir sang of chipped plaster and broken arms.
Wherever the ship would carry him, awkward into the pavement. Comet clouds shining from wet macadam. The interstellar lights then brighter than now in the new cities he made. Into whatever see, as the skiffs took on the golden glow of chariots. He would remember the poems he’d made from poems. Remembering was god-‐granted. Into each turning of the wheel He asserts the law of Empire. The unmolded slab of clay. How he’d mottled and whittled words, rattling out of his open mouth in the captain’s room. When the night reigned on the ocean and the ship was only the notion of an Empire. The slab of clay incarnates, re-‐enacts the stars. The stars that were flecked on the pavement. The same stars on the ship’s prow. He had worn a hat then and listened to the papers. What grieved him, into waste. In the manner of undoing a mistake, the portrait painter stood scraping the canvas. The stars he alludes to, as if the words had been a lovesong carved on the body of the ship. (Divorced from cascades, caresses, things that fall.) When he’d reached the new world, new laws began composing new requiems. His song stayed there on her breath where he laid it.
Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle. You could chase or follow the sound. Never without a compass. We called the dog off the gringo. A voice to look after you. Look forward to space success, the voice says. You meet the voice, frightened, at the end of the pier.
Literary Debacles With the closing-‐in of horse sense the rains came. We catch other noises whinnying from the corporation’s pasture. Can not calibrate the right groans for our appendix. We are trying to record bug sounds for our next feature. We’re held to impossible standards and nature seldom cooperates with dead-‐ lines. Imagine what it feels like to get to the mountain, with gusto, and the dewdrops from the mist work into the equipment. Reducing us to static in the speakers. All day to my partner, I’m screaming through the radio if he can hear me. I get two hello’s, and one parenthetical. I caught it in the microphone, him cursing at the Meanads converging on my eardrums. We’re listening for crickets. I demand crickets. And he must do something about it, in this rut of civilization, I’m demanding our control of nature. We’re going to press in a matter of days. I chant my MBA mantras until our machines recover.
BPM 37093: Diamond Palace Or, Lucy in the sky, with diamonds. cool white dwarfs have commanded a diamond core. Even an extinguished star can do that. The outside rind’s a smokescreen. But it sends pulses to the scientists to let them know what’s going on inside. Winking to the billionaires who couldn’t afford its price. Couldn’t begin. 7 billion light years away where its quieter still and near the southern cross, a metaphor older than Pluto can ever hope to be. Now its fricative against my neoprene suit, it hisses like a wind tunnel. The intense pressures at the heart of such dead stars compress the carbon into diamond. Fricative against my neoprene suit, howls of the wind’s hiss in a tunnel. Father time came out of the Bermuda triangle to mock us. Farther out than Pluto. What once existed, may never exist again. I take in the soft strokes of this felt pen, it sounds like cotton scratching a rock. Quiet enough to propel me out there where its quieter still. I can hear the dull rumble of outer space, punctured in measures by the pounding of the highest piano key. Even the richest man on earth couldn’t begin to afford the core of this white dwarf, it’s outside a smokescreen This white dwarf’s outside like a smokescreen, pull open the gaseous envelope and see the compressed carbon heart. Seven light years away and near the southern cross, a metaphor farther out than Pluto. This dull fricative against my neoprene suit. The cosmos allows/ing but a dull hum and this diamond. Something our sun will become, priceless, by then our pens will cease to function as anything, stops against our hearts. They way I remember it.
I was always terrified of bears, limited in their genius I saw a pretty girl come out of the vestibule and it was mesmerizing, absolutely animal, to see that pretty girl come out of the vestibule, it was mesmerizing, absolutely animal, to see that pretty girl come out of the vestibule, it was mesmerizing, absolutely magnetizing THE TIME HAD COME for her arrival, this magnetic female who was somewhat animal in her innocence. Even I feel ferocious like an animal sometimes like I could come out of the vestibule myself to see OH THE INNOCENCE OF ANIMALS likewise the innocence of mammals THIS LONG RIDICULOUS LABOR it is this long ridiculous labor and then the boulder coming and then the lifting backwards of the boulders and then the lifting backwards then the hurricane upon the antelopes and the hurricane upon the antelopes AND THEN THE ANIMALS come with their eyes on the terror, their prowl encompassing territories, they are mesmerizing absolutely mesmerizing those little ferocious animals, those ferocious mammals that will erupt as though it were not a pimple any minute but a volcano of innocence of animals a VOLCANO OF INNOCENCE OF ANIMALS and then I saw a pretty girl arriving on the vestibule, it was mesmerizing, absolutely animal, to see a pretty girl awaking out of the animal.
The Voice from the Pier Speaks Gilt the ribbon white the Christmas snow. In the neighborhood you can hear the whistling of the carrousel. I can hear you listening. Shhh. Lie back. It well tell you everything. My jewels grow like islands. Like islands, they drift along the ocean, floating through space-‐time until the Earth becomes a series of tiny canals and wooden bridges, a world of archipelegos.
Collapsed Math It was time to take over, the food was in the gulch. Little primroses and the cantilevered clouds perplex no one anymore, the antelopes, gone again through the beech grass. My head in there somewhere in crisis. God knows it was this way. It was time to get hold of the logarithm Out here the stardust tends to scream into the remotest puddle of an asphalt alleyway. Out here in the third eye after playing chess.
Lay in bed. call the coil to me. from my solar plexis. manage it to stand. grow rounder. expand. and greet my love. my mirror. Lay in bed. late evening early. night. watch the double doors across. straight line of sight. the crack of lamplight. from the first floor. creep in, up the stairs. Lay in bed. and think I hear a cat meowing outside the right window. figure out that’s the backyard. of this new house. and above the bathtub window on the left a mellow. golden sheen from the lamplights of the front street. lays its fingers on the carpet in deep shadows. Lay in bed letting my love uncoil. from my solar plexis. wonder if love comes in the form of a cat. and wonder if my need is a cat. and if the sound I heard really is a cat. Lay in bed. like Kant wrapped tight. on both sides with a blanket. my arms in a coffin pose. but my mind. alert, alert repose. Lay in bed and watch the light from the double doors. expand. and then erupt. like a quick slash of a knife across a throat. and wonder what figure. lay behind that light bursting through the open door. what figure did I call. crept up the stairs from the floor below. from street level. it was the bent light. that bounced from the left window against a middle wall. and cut a momentary flash across the door into what. I thought would end me finally. Lay fixed in bed that moment my body. a door itself to impose another obstacle. but my solar plexus and the coil caught on fire. They tell me in these new. books I read to give my body to myself. to give love to my fears. and to call to what I want. and to name that thing. Lay in bed and time is over. there. What is an illusion? It isn’t death I fear. Death I imagine. is a state of meditation, except I don’t exist anymore. It’s the red I fear and the mess. To lie guiltless and dead. from being murdered. Was it a cat I called? A figure behind a light behind a set of double doors. creeping up the steps with a switch blade. Did the cat hear me calling, did the figure hear me calling? When the coil grew rounder. and stood up. When it expanded. and tore open into the real. My solar plexus burned. with the fear. I was giving my love. and the fear. of red was all I could think of red and a silver knife. I would take the quiet without the guilt. but not the final moment of lost control. Lay in bed. with the fire inside me. frightened then relieved the next second, Could hear a dog barking on the street side. and again the meowing on the right. Pretty soon the crickets. and the tree frogs. The chirping birds in the morning, the cicada howl, the bee. buzzing. That animal instinct to live creeping up again. from the street. bursting through the double doors.
in my straight line of sight where I. lay like myself back behind this desk. in another room. with a cat purring. somewhere in the stillness. after drinking all the milk. from the white bowl. I’d set out there an hour ago.
Paola’s River When you play poker, all the money in the middle of the table is the river. My opponent asked me if I knew the names of any rivers? Paola Bella Muchos Gracias is the name of one river I said. She asked me if knew the names of two rivers? “Paola Bella Muchos Gracias is the name of one of the river. “Like in a River Like This? is the name of the other river.” She said, “No. The other river.” I said, “Give me all your money, Bitch.”
The Furthest Star It didn’t even keep him warm from it. Little doves each disappearing around the round crag of a mountain top, all this garbled gibberish, read all those books of philosophy, put beer in my belly, toiled constantly with my neck craning on the lookout for the furthest star still to be robbed, still to be found funny, trembling every Sunday because I had no God to visit, turned on the television, kept pressing the buttons, until the weekend ended hard to keep the tatters and the gutters separate, all that good running down the same fray, quay was it wisest to keep running, keep brick and mortar handy for unforeseen repairs I had a look once that could keep you in your place a sad way to be and her still so young we didn’t bother with lovewords or starwords or birdwords we were young but the crisis of wonder was over (averted) if we wanted to lash out (crepuscular) if we wanted to jump out of the corner and frighten our mothers, we would be sedated and the law was written on the other side of the alphabet and those blank tombs and those blank encasements the bargefuls of hostages we would devour them just like our afterdinner chocolates The poems I laid out to decipher are not molten, more messy than when they first sprang out. I tried to get the email back but it was too late And my luggage was kind of like a series of pictures but I don’t know about that either. I’m not even hallucinating. I have a brother. Certain facts are no measure against other certain facts. (Fricative against my neoprene) But some facts have a quantifiable aspect. While others are abstract. I keep on doing this. Then the wind blows. I decide then to become extravagant in my misery. Are there still readers in this world? Or, Does the Great Wall of China form a vanishing point? I am surprised constantly to find there must be. Readers: self-‐congratulating machines. Some people have managed to fill life with some sort of gay purpose. Full
of hilarity and aplomb. And when I say these things, I find everyone under a rock who can relate to what I’m feeling.
At Age Three My Adopted Niece Arrives from India How could I call Earth otherwise, strange and knotty, gutted from the first instant? This instant of a girl, adopted at age three her memory gradually formed for her by her good parents by a good god and we then called this civilization good Backing out in reverse at any speed is not an option, even goodness cannot grant this, even if the secret is the name we know, the name recited in our sleep If a hundred dollars were enough if a million dollars were enough Can I call god by another name it’s the era of late language what will this mean for the girl who’s three? Has any one made it clear for her— What is a century to a spider? What is a century to a spider when it makes its web, when it catches its food, when it halts along the silk to eat, feeds her children, teaches them to catch prey: In an era of late language how are we going to eat? Even if I call god by another name in this era backing out at any speed is not an option. The planet is turning in a direction always as its moons do as its rings do and galaxies. The fly in here is buzzing, is my companion. Is the fly my companion, or is it like a dog, or is it like this option I have to kill or not kill. Is this the peace (this option) I find when I smear the fly with my things, I call hands, with my things, I call lungs to breathe, with my things, spoons I eat with, my things, the records, the player revolving
in the one direction. Not even now turning back to look at where it came from. The dead fly is mine to think about. No more thinking for the fly to do, itself an idea more than a living creature. It never was so much alive as now in this “talk” about its death. Who would take a child and give her a new family buy her new clothes to wear provide an army of things she can someday call all the names they teach her. This is my country. My name is . . . When I was three they brought me . . . My ancestors were . . . in another country. I forget the name. She reads it in a book learns in school the characters for wisdom, love, peace, hate. Her cursive turns in contours on lined paper, her little hand and face concentrating on the movement. Then it is done and it is learned, nothing about forming words to forget anymore. Nothing about the first sound of the first plane engine gunning awake. The ding-‐ding of the seatbelt light. Her first look at clouds, eye-‐level.
A Taxi to New York The plane from Atlanta has stopped, the passengers are still buckled in their seats. The lines of a room, bar stools, the chrome of tires, spin-‐style into the world of impression via Hollywood. The plane goes nowhere else. A scratchy voice blared from loudspeakers directs passengers. We exit single-‐file towards the subway, and on through the turnstile. Fluorescence covers faces and bodies with a new blue skin. From a central tower in Times Square an omniscient voice delivers new instructions: Planet, Earth; Canyon, Grand; Dance, Hula; God, God; Wax, Honey. Beeps pulsate, lights of every shade, dot a panorama of blue and pink, blink red and green like Christmases. Into this street-‐scene, your hand flags down another yellow cab. Nosing through night traffic, you mistake the plunge of lower level roads for water, mistake your thirst for desire.
Living Book Galleys once housed prisoners and other beasts. I had been trying to write it down, but couldn’t stop reading. When the river opened, their limbs and guts fell out of heaven and into hell. I had to stop to write it down. Except for the smell up here, there’s not much different on the rooftop, where the pharaoh’s daughter takes a lavender bath. The last page (I couldn’t wait) says she’ll wait against time and myth. She is patient and knows that a ship is drifting upon the river Styx. I pause in the book to read the sentence twice, once inside the illusion: The ship is drifting on the river Styx. and then outside: He is strapped to a cross on a wooden ship, sailing away from the pharaoh’s land. When I wrote these things, they happened, vowels and consonants came out of the mouth, too unripe to echo yet when I wrote them, the ship that was carrying the lovers the one fueled by the oars and oarlocks of slaves began to drift to the horizon becoming an inkblot and then invisible. The copper sky brushed its hair along the sea, and the luck grew into something amorous, when I was reading I wrote this as it happened. There was a long spell of silence finished off with poison.
Miscarriage Fifteen bodies seen floating on the river; an unheard-‐of epidemic absorbs scientists. I board the metal hull and enter the research lab as if hurrying into a myth, my footsteps patterning themselves after no reportable heroes. I listen to how stillness presides when rains turn dumb from rioting. I look above through the laboratory’s glass dome, and am dappled by rough-‐hewn shadows of April sunlight. Breaking coverage interrupts regular programs to announce the symptoms: possible reverbs in the memory; the crisis recurs as a celluloid-‐loop inside the mind; tumescent bodies surface on water; bulletins of a syndrome erupt from radios; storms lapse into silence at science stations; and the sun resurges, restores the climate to how it was the morning before the strange fifteen were noticed. The researchers panic, fiddle with test tubes and chemicals for an antidote to memory loss, dementia, blindness. I take a gulp of air, attempt not to falter and am dappled, surrounded by patches of sunlight. I guard the mind-‐ship, ride it to a landscape of clover-‐fields, yellow-‐green, about to be scattered with a hundred fallen leaves. I have my armor on and my ears are covered. Feeling safe in the steel corridor that will lead me to the scientists, I begin to quicken my pace towards historical relevance, but can’t ignore how these hundred odd footsteps towards the river have harmed my feet, and mud all over my church clothes is splattered like a fever, and I stop, feeling something unborn in me shrink away. When I reach the riverbank and see smoke clouds rising from the fires they ignited to burn the dead, I’m cradling my test tube, searching the crowds for someone of my kind.
Even the Ocean Remembers Him "I want to sleep the sleep of that child who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea." lorca Then I could forget what the sandpiper said. I sipped the misshapen horn, leveed and bled, by midday, he was dead. I want to slap awake the engine thrumming hidden almost at heaven and now this: deserted beaches, a caw, gentle but maddening. Breaking and breaking. How does my hand cupped, lift just that tiny portion to my lips? With him, I could have had all the more, lyre, rag, mist. Hissing in my ears, sense of distance. Then nothingness.
As a Child They could not keep me from doors and turning knobs to slam the world closed. I knew the violence of a hinge, its rusted metal creaking in the revolve— how the hinge’s spine could catch a hair, and as it caught, yank the skull when I tried to tear away a strand.
ANTELOPE CARROUSEL The carrousel is underneath the glass of every high ball you ever drank. Every class encounter made the glass colder. I can see up through this final frontier, now my head’s below the ice. I like to grip the antlers as I ride fast around these revolutions. The nadir’s above. How did I grow so bold, so cold in my cheer— being here, it’s effortless to smile. God made me come all the way down, from my highest hopes into my remotest impulse, to board a rotating spectacle of ancient antelopes, never native to the west. As I turn and turn I sometimes peer further below, but it’s not clear if there’s another holler to fall deeper into. Uncertainty was a theme holding me captive above. That golden ring, to think of all the laboring, the rising up to grasp what was always, in its design, untouchable. I am never going to regret this journeying. We have been frozen stasis beneath the hallowed human stepping, quaint cotillions above this nadir ice. We can see you sometimes squinting down, through the glass you place on the wood veneer, and the glass is empty now with only your sneer filling it. Every form
on earth being filled by it. Even our antithetical merry-go-round on the underside of your condition: prehistoric, we are like the ghosts beholden to your remaining, for memory keeps us locked here, but for memory we still exist, living on the rim of what you sometimes suspect, an eternal drifting out of the soul into a remoter paradox that cleaves to the music your steps create above our locking horns and native instincts, By your steps weâ€™re kept in tune to our own purposes of keeping the Generalâ€™s ghost eternal, and the ghost of his beloved wife. She rides here beside me, tells me stories about the horses that caused her husbandâ€™s madness. What is the difference btw them and antelopes, you may wonder just as I did how many moons ago, when I first arrived on this ride. I have settled on answers to this puzzle that resolve s nothing, but removes the burden of the answer to the burden of the questioner. We spin around in the asking hear the echoing of our own exhausted whinnying, as if it had been us who were ridden upon. The difference? It is our consciousness yet, keeping us still firmly riding on the backs of every beast of burden, either on this side of the surface
or the next. When we return to our promised heaven (as it is above and so below) We will get there and resolve to end this turning around and around. If they could only make of me an earthen bed, turn me into any form of ash, kill the memory of all that was ever horse.
I AM NOT SKY, NOT TREE
I am not sky, not tree. When I sit here on the back porch and watch her, my other self step backwards and don’t follow Her back recedes into the blue canopy. We hated together, loved, when we were young. Now I am on my parent’s bed. The faucet drips to my left and the grandfather clock sings eleven o’clock. Held inside this skin, we both promised to keep the words a secret. I am rushing past her a husk left on the staircase. There is no witness but this message I record. Will want to picture a head stone with her name engraved. Kill her after she’s already gone. Make me a cradle to place her in. Make me a song, barn swallow or mockingbird, to help me erase the memory. I am not sky, not tree.
THE VOICE FROM THE PIER SPEAKS Gilt the ribbon white the Christmas snow. In the neighborhood you can hear the whistling of the carrousel. I can hear you listening. Shhh. Lie back. It well tell you everything. My jewels grow like islands. Like islands, they drift along the ocean, floating through space-time until the Earth becomes a series of tiny canals and wooden bridges, a world of archipelegos.
Where His Bike Lay Flat What color was the boy's jacket in that city where you first saw snow where the flag turned into itself by the force of wind. Students say it howled and the jacket was downy red. What color was that little girl's jacket in that country where you first saw bees and honeycombs, read poetry about flees bothering corpses-‐-‐home-‐grown and down with the frogs jumping at the bog. That's where the summer started. Down by the cray fish crawling onto a dam. That's where the summer began, when I turned into a man, a bicycle rider into blue sky. Egrets fly long arcs into the sun-‐lit blue, icicles dangle from that other house all the way yonder across the sea, a sea I don't ever wander into, fret yet, fingers spring in to dip the water. Not a minute, not a year, not a morning glory's worth of life, not the blink of time that was paradise. I pined at the edge of flat ice cricks, Henry wander(ing) (wandered) over where his bike lay flat, another barnacle. The ice, compact, I sipped the runneth over the rim. I see him. Icy him. Over and under and tumbling, lottery balls in the sifter. Stiff corpse frozen, just under the surface. The hodge-‐podge wreck of a man carted off to the looney bin, my Henry, divorced from the probability of all things falling. All falling things, echo visions flying as designed into night sky gathering starry eyelets that rouge pink, bionically laser into the chambers of the bicycle's titanium, sixo's work, stars and more stars, there being no fear of gravity here, jostling in the sifter, volts rush and reach outwards, a thousand hands and at their tips 10 thousand fingers. Hallucinate the color I wore two thousand eons long ago under neon billboard signs blown glass orange, glowing roundly and out all along the lawn of asphalt, call Uncle, calling Uncle, Uncle until another boy became the angel I made of snow.
HENRY PRACTICES SPACE SUCCESS I remember the wind breaking it, wingspread dither, then thwack of jawbone and cheek against macadam. Grated streaks of red and flesh where my face came to rest sideways and flat. After the shock of falling, I hallucinate the bird I think I am and remember only how it felt for me. (think of Henry James) This dumb distance between me and the lawn grows steadily unnavigable, and so my arms falter as they sway and fall in a heavy wind; my attempt to fly across the park is returned with fatigue. The wind breaks, wingspread dithers. The fall on the macadam, severe, the hard thwack of jawbone and cheek grated streaks of red and flesh. A picture of white gulls flying the white cliffs of Dover and the expanse of blue sky enlarged, throbbed wide, magnified, one glimpse of a god-vein, the rest of god beyond the eyeâ€™s kiss. His bones and muscles lodged somewhere here on the asphalt where my face rests sideways and flat. Iâ€™m hypnotized and can see only the descending body of a bird stabbing a wing, to break the down-drop, in vein-skin. blue skies blood rains flow. A settling quiet in the nighttime brisk
now a hushed cool, moist heat swelled out from the playground lot. A child’s squealing on a swingset, parents crushing bags in trunks, a dog’s bark bursts, twenty, thirty feet away—then the sound of tags’ rattle and the dog feeling more distant, car door’s shutting, swings steady with the rusty creaking of a metronome. the ingress of blood like the late summer leaves.
Hunger Was Coming I was here before mathematics when the challenge was the match-‐stick flicked against the slate-‐stone sparkling into fire. It was a choir’s voice I heard rising from the belly of Corpus Christi on the valley-‐mist. Syntax strains over a bridge, over a chasm before the other end comes near—nearly, nearly there. I was watching and lay down on the cliff an hour ago, before Christ, before years before the cacti were small and birds were dots, before the birds were dots and in their flight changed to birds with wing-‐length and body-‐length.
Skipping Rocks, Dream of Fishing Little belly-‐up. My macabre. My cadre. Caught wit at the Excelsior, did you? Cured you, but couldn’t cut old losses. Wrong this likeness, (between fish and foe), like an engine, quick medium, for the hounds that bore me. You voted with the police, right. Yes, and always walked down the pier to see the late June Magnolias, pulled form from the moonlight. Manitoba might keep us pale as possum’s eyes. Maybe Midas will touch us somehow, doubt, and we’ll catch them someday, those certain maelstroms, lying on the perimeter. My fish were frightened, swam away, as that evening light along the pier receded. No more upheavals in this atmosphere, arboreal, the sun undappling. Egrets again, walking with stilt legs, plodding over the beach-‐silt, snort sucking sounds. Cries come from over yonder, but, then, you are my little belly-‐up, I cannot bear the crisis, dancing in southern shade, another misty lullaby goes on. Each one hand-‐holding. I cannot gut this fish.
Passengers Entitled to the Stars went to the lake and swam with crocodiles, delivered avalanches to the sinful villages for centuries. the crocodiles evolved. a black bird’s shadow-‐ overtook the sunlight on a patch of lawn and there a maple leaf was fertilized, and iron claw and dagger. the pulse of a hand grenade in the palm. the black-‐fire explosion. the shrapnel scattering. a ship across the Atlantic, passengers entitled to the stars. a woman leans over the railing in an evening gown, her husband fidgets with a war, some suicidal trouble in his nightmares, a fear of crocodiles. the moon a shovel used for digging graves. she does us in. Not having prayers for diamonds or houses or gardens. Maybe some leftover lust or evil don’t know. some kind of domestic existence to maintain the project.
911 Two continents and more, an ocean dividing us I lay down sheet rock, hammer nails into drywall, helping the landlady to pay my rent. With the door closed behind me, the rocky driveway covered over by asphalt. new owners in my childhood home. Where I had locked myself inside and the family had gone to the store. It took my courage then to call for help—dial the 3 numbers on the phone, when strange men came knocking on the door. Had I split then? Or did it take all the years afterwards? I chose to open the book, and split the world in two., My letters half-‐bound and with a strange spine.
Thank You I count two fences before the man on his lawnmower comes into view. The top of his head and the flesh of the red machine. The sound comes and goes as he travels the distance of his lawn. Then I hear him again with his leaf blower. Who knows, he could be hired help. I see a small bunch of red berries on a tree to my left. The best calm to be caught in a frame of green. Today even my shirt is green. Other than the recording I make with this black ink, there are no witnesses. The breeze makes such a lovely rippling sound among the leaves. Maybe something parallel carries over to you or is replicated there. Common sounds of the suburbs. The plane overhead. Wind chimes. No pretense of meaning. I just happen to be alive in this moment of history, without a thank you.
You could chase or follow the sound. Never without a compass. Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle. We called the dog off the negro boy. A voice to look after you, the voice said, “For space success.” Jutting slowly like whale fins from an ocean-‐pier. You could never chase or follow the sound. without a compass. Quick medium hounds tore off behind the bicycle. Sixo said freeze. Sixo said Simon says. Red light. Green light. Even statue. We tried. We tried to call the dog off the bicycle. It was a voice looking after you, “For space success,” the voice said slowly jutting out of the ocean looking like a whale fin from the pier.
Love in the Ruins
I. Wheals bloom scalp feels hairy & quilted & now & then sprouts a hair root like a dirigible popping its hawsers one by one. II. These are hard times principles & powers are here & there victorious everywhere wickedness flourishes— how lithe hands splash across a harp strike yellow strings with music pulse with a dangerous din— beware of consciousness, it is beautiful-‐catastrophe, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
Girls on the Edge of Water Renoir never paints their eyes. He covers them with the brims of wide straw hats. We see only their backs, turned from us; only the flushed pink, the cream of cotton-‐clad shoulders. Only the casual droop of them suggests their mood because he never shapes their faces. We can’t intrude upon her frown or see if her look is peaceful, pleasant. His brush exposes only a glimpse of each girl’s skin: for one, just a rounded jaw line, where a shadow extracts a neck, before it vanishes under the high-‐collar gauze of dress; the other props an elbow, presses a hand to her cheek, but offers us only a naked wrist. Renoir never paints the sea swelling beyond the bank, or the rumpled woolen coats the girls have thrown on a clump of gnarled roots; or the dark matted fabric of their clothing, where the cross-‐hatched light and shade of leaves from overhead droop and swish, back and forth. On the pairs of eyes, he’s never revealed, a fleet of blue and hazel sailboats, reflected, are gliding to the edge of the earth, about to fall beyond horizon.
Bloodletting There are big ideas in every motel drawer. Gossip meanders from the corner store into old-‐fashioned barber shops, the ones with the peppermint-‐stripe spinning tubes out front that were used as signs for bloodletting. The barber/surgeon would scissor the hair around the porcelain bowl, then snip the skin at the vein on the inner elbow, to release the liquid spirit from the river of the heart. George Washington died, this was how his healers brokered with his illness, after the hounds and carriages raced him to his bed, he lay without cosmetics, dying from this art. Because they didn’t know when to stop the letting, or that the moon-‐sign in the skies, during those nights, bade them wrong for bleeding and were destined to unmake the cure. There are little ideas that can never be shed. How white, the china, holds the drops of red. You can track the trail of gossip from corner store to words of every mouth at the barber shop, where the peppermint-‐stripe spinning tubes out front used to be signs for bloodlettings.
A Wife on the King’s Death and Her Succession (or Horse Teeth) After a while the discussion centered round teeth — horses teeth in fact — and more specifically: “What do you consider to be the correct number of teeth for an adult, male horse to possess?”Plato’s theory of horses Golden ropes bind your chest, coil around a fencepost where you’re tied. Once king and husband, you are now the sacrifice, dying to crown me Queen. We’ve painted you red with goat’s blood, closed your eyes and ears with coins. Crows come, rise heavy with flesh. When they ascend, the bells ring: he’s gone and won’t be coming back. Under a crown of peacock feathers, my skin glows bronze. I step closer to my new throne, and find a coronation gift: a braided necklace of my hair with baubles of your teeth. By now your body must be a field of ripened berries. Death has come for both of us, mine, seems so abstract.
Mildness When Mildness rubbed her muzzle against my shoulder, I took her in, laughing, my hair drawn out as raven feathers for Mildness to work the oil in that smelled like the cologne Father slapped his face with early in the morning when sunlight spread like patchwork on the window-‐sill and tumbled on the bed-‐linens where Mildness and I lay combing our hair together, kneading fists into cushions. When Mother came in, came to languish, Mildness left the room, my life, an ugly invertebrate. As I watched her go I braided my own hair, three thick strands coiled in a tight herringbone like the patterns of Father’s coat. I’ve forgotten the neck’s nuzzling soft as dandelion seeds, everything except her many hands and feet.
Being Accused of Genius Sometimes it doesn’t matter; I shrug and say that when it doesn’t matter, then the next time I’ll know it. Then I say I’ll know it when I see it, but that it doesn’t really matter as much as when I was younger, or less sorrowful, less serious or full with the thought of genius, but it doesn’t matter, I say, trying to claim a more ordinary role. Give me an ordinary day, any day, and I’ll take a drive to the grocery store, happy for sunlight, thank the clerk kindly, swing my purse over my shoulder. But no matter what, it always happens that I can’t be set off into an ordinary corner on an ordinary day. Because what one says does matter, the bareness of having said it, and that in one’s saying it, it is so— thus and so forth. So what really matters is more, has something to do with the ordinary and the still more exceptional sensory rituals of genius. And thinking this, whatever this is losing (its) sense in its perishing, articulate, incensed placing of it in this pocket: an ordinary day at the checkout line, a box of pasta, two cans of tuna, a turnip and avocado, candied yams, a jar of capers. When I was younger, I say to the grocery clerk, I ate twinkies, peanut butter sandwiches, crawled on my knees on the linoleum, singed ants with a magnifying glass under the sun. There was so much I didn’t know and he says the same thing. Each time I do this, come to the end of his line at the checkout, we do this, say the same things back and forth, and I don’t know how this can be anything but extraordinary, these simple rituals of saying, or of shrugging the matter off, muttering against the accusation I don’t know, I just don’t know.
The Spotlight the air dawns thin like cream and yes less is more unless the night comes and yet nothing is done I must by degrees end this fussing over the inchworm or the lilac or the fisticuffs in the gutter’s path I splashed in once at the cost of covering the earth-‐bed with snowflakes from a basket or peonies or even watercress wishing we’d rather had sandwiches at the Spotlight and passed on the casket of notes sent from the classroom’s back-‐row its windows the same as cream at dawn-‐break crusted in dew-‐sugar and after lunch the view would have been ceremonious with gold and blue ribbons scrolling the names of our heroes but we watched the seasons pass instead watched the ticking clocks our hands gripping onto a script that would unleash us to the world and its uses such as razors cut with became my skill to rip and shred and rifle through the evidence for hours pursuing grace when I found it I turned the key to an unlit corridor filled with scraps and muslin sheets musty boxes ancient bats flew out from when I fled that day my hands were clenched in fists to stand a better chance I said the heart’s muscle pumping in a chest bulged-‐blue when I surmised the game an aperture closing what was in me most I ran with what was in me most
Her Winter Rite Her fingers pinch curtains taut, as the creek’s edge outside tapers into flutes, thawed tributaries, like spider webs revealed in sun, as she peers through rime, as kettle boils, as spout’s whistle shrieks on mornings like this. Her eyes enflame glass, hoarfrost, expose rail lines, sear their trails, turning their white banks ash-‐gray. In this way tends her fire, as if raising a yellow story to her face, reading, anticipates a dream, an echoed rumbling of a train racing over tracks for her, braces herself for Close Closer. Withering like this, so depleted, plaits unraveled, breath sighed then held, her sheath falling to the floor. Draws a bath, to sink her ache in water’s bone-‐deep heat.
Double Helix The close of day Into the shower faucet, my shout’s returned With a web of steam, a murder Of spider, sticky hairs Catching me, but I go through them To rush for the towel rack, reach For my terry rope, wrap the cotton cloth Around my bluest, bluest. Reflections of libraries Oh the sorrows of young Germans who waver in the sun, at another hemisphere where waking-fogs surround me like libraries. For the coldest days I keep the British Museum in my pocket, as antidote, wormwood for my stance in the aisles, hearing no foghorn only a sense displaced, of having lost my purse, keys like chalk around my daydreams. Psychotic break I was early to campus by a full fours hours, but by the third early hour I was submerged In the doubling, of Werther’s sorrows which forsake me From being Where I should be. Walking out into albedo’s atomic cloud I remembered this anecdote. It was cold out with snow on the ground, A January afternoon in Bronxville Where I had a chance encounter With Vijay in a Patagonia fleece To speak of his John Donne reveries. I was deeper into the page of another’s reality Than I in hindsight could pretend to be now.
That is not my anecdote. I could not share then The displacement Hardy imprinted like a timeless shock. I was eight hours early for my flight from Delhi back to the U.S. This was my ticket out of India back into the atomic cloud, but the mayor was a gambler who gave his wife away. No clock on the terminal wall at one a.m. in the second world. No time to serve up resolutions. Fecundity of snowflakes fell elsewhere. Some later morning after the plane landed, I got tired and made some coffee. The udders of my bathrobe dragging on the quaint brick floor. Another barracuda. I spent one year with the school psychiatrist. Took showers only to take more showers Only to walk inside of my bathrobe As if it were my armchair.
Scholar of Feelings I love it when you hasten to extinguish the bedside lamp, a flash of thumbprints on a water glass before the dark of our rest and restlessness. What in my turning do you sip in that deep and quick sleep, is it like a swirling top of my darker days or a star inside a backpack you take down a hill.
Instructions on Origami Letting go of paper, I wonder Where the story about paper boats floated, Out to sea, somewhere where the heart Heard water swirling, a swish Inside a hollow cove, sloshings made When water’s cupped in a palm. Off the coast of the Phillipines A thousand children Released a thousand Paper boats, so how Is there just one In the Seine Of my memory, What’s the difference in how either boat is folded? Skip forward to my throne of protest By a creek where I pass time Skipping rocks. Think of a pink orchid I placed inside the one. If he stole paper By being paper Then he And the boat are one. When silver rocks Were thrown by silver seas I’d have known what to make And what flower to put inside it. Skip back to the fog I’d watched along the water Obscuring the best words To feel more the source words. How we walk on sand No matter how much we love The water.
Binding Arbitration Amidst the iceswishing, I was a poor mosquito. Bite marks on anotherâ€™s skin, Imagine the little itch Coming from treason. I surmise That existence works out Or all comes back. Even when I was hushed, The nightingale, rainwater Or golden bangles knocked together On a motherâ€™s arm Could not obscure The tree frogs I listened to chirruping In the bogwater to wonder Of the dark of their hiding places. When treasons return By accident, how much moonlight Illuminates the faces of frogs?. I love the fire burning, though. The flames alert me, keep wrapping Shadows around bodies I want to love. Veering into one shadow, I ordain a crook of arm, a harbor, While he rests another arm On my hipbone Keeping me secure from it, three sips Of whiskey and another photograph flash.
If tin disguised glass If a wilted petal fallen from a glass column. If going back, if there was an able to by time travel. If tin disguised glass. But I cut open sky and find something else to glance through. You (hypocrite) will love your easy, effortless look. Even the gods told you not to. Even when papa hushed me to hear the nightingale and the rainwater, mama’s golden bangles clanging on her cocktail glass. The encoded milky whirls I stare through, crystal vase seafoam green backlit where he was and I was Sending a look to relatives leaving on a city bus, going on pilgrimage (again) a tulip of dust out of the tailpipe. These days you hear a feather landing. I didn’t want to hear it; didn’t try Then got to thinking about something else. Shrugging when asked a question. Hang out with family now watching TV, DNA- absorbed. The brain being unlucky to exist. The lovely arc roses create between eye and vase, when they come fresh- picked and dew drops on the granite top; cut-glass tenoring a peach glow with green flecks and the winter rouge . . . of certain faces. That time of year . . . He was washing a dinner pot under very hot water, looking at it. Demure. The spout as metallic and vain as pure water. I was looking at him. When the snow was melting, his hand found my button and undid it, looking like a sparrow caught in a barb. Ruing when face and unface mattered, I covet the mask-embers crackling out of the firepit. Flake and detritus outlast farewells, final vestige in the crackling around my red harbor; they say these tulip-puffs die too, cough out embers of leave-taking all animate/inanimate Books I read to go outside and unfrighten, sleep. Those days as night were not leaving me I breathed without choosing. Bent closer inside the harbor, a kind of lean-to.
Sir Walter Raleigh 1 My soul will be a-dry before; But, after, it will thirst no more. Wherever the ship would carry him. The unmolded slab of clay and what became of him. Stars upon stars were flecked on the pavement. The same stars in the seawater that had carried him. (lulled him) (Stars she alludes to . . . he alludes to . . . ??) (the stars were all anymore that united him to her—but they united everyone—and made a common man of him) (comet clouds on the macadam) The cold snow that came was later beaten out of him. The season she had wept through now smelled like dead animals. (series of hieroglyphs flickering on the cave wall, a new world, even then) No space to keep it in, just memory an orphaned locket somewhere in the jewelry box (stored), and somewhere an arrangement of paintbrushes and a portrait painter scraping a palette knife against the canvas (in the manner of undoing a mistake) he had worn a hat then and listened to the papers carrying everything between his hands the nation and whatever it allowed him all in the name of convenience (a cubicle, corner pharmacy) and he was going now. Other worlds were what the old Gods bequeathed him. So that would explain the mess he made of the Queen’s Holy Empire Her ruined name, her infamy and all those songs the choir sang of chipped plaster and broken arms.
Sir Walter Raleigh 2 Wherever the ship would carry him, awkward Into the pavement. Comet clouds shining from wet macadam. The interstellar lights then brighter than now in the new cities he made. Into whatever see, as the skiffs took on the golden glow of chariots. He would remember the poems he’d made from poems. Remembering was god-granted. Into each turning of the wheel He asserts the law of Empire. The unmolded slab of clay. How he’d mottled and whittled words, rattling out of his open mouth in the captain’s room. When the night reigned on the ocean and the ship was only the notion of an Empire. The slab of clay incarnates, re-enacts the stars. The stars that were flecked on the pavement. The same stars on the ship’s prow. He had worn a hat then and listened to the papers. What grieved him, into waste. In the manner of undoing a mistake, the portrait painter stood scraping the canvas. The stars he alludes to, as if the words had been a lovesong carved on the body of the ship. (Divorced from cascades, caresses, things that fall.) When he’d reached the new world, new laws began composing new requiems. His song stayed there on her breath where he laid it. New words of a new world, what the ship bestowed. We let out a howl for the wolves to chase.
Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle. You could chase or follow the sound. Never without a compass. We called the dog off the gringo. A voice to look after you. Look forward to space success, the voice says. You meet the voice, frightened, at the end of the pier. Say the beads, let the beads drop from tongue, let the words alter, let ships sail over yonder where buildings are beeping keeping our mindâ€™s refreshed, our minds hard-wired to the underground. I keep on digging, late in the June day. I keep on digging, eight hours gone by. (This could bring talking heads bridge)
Literary Debacles With the closing-in of horse sense the rains came. We catch other noises whinnying from the corporation’s pasture. Can not calibrate the right groans for our appendix. We are trying to record bug sounds for our next feature. We’re held to impossible standards and nature seldom cooperates with deadlines. Imagine what it feels like to get to the mountain, with gusto, and the dewdrops from the mist work into the equipment. Reducing us to static in the speakers. All day to my partner, I’m screaming through the radio if he can hear me. I get two hello’s, and one parenthetical. I caught it in the microphone, him cursing at the Meanads converging on my eardrums. We’re listening for crickets. I demand crickets. And he must do something about it, in this rut of civilization, I’m demanding our control of nature. We’re going to press in a matter of days. I chant my MBA mantras until our machines recover. We are going to ride down this mountain top and straddle our horses, take these sound clips to the CEO’s house, mock-up any files we’re missing. My laptop’s flipped open a cicada screensaver waits for input.
Stabilizing Effect of Collaboration He took a hot poker. I sipped my tea. Hypothetical thoughts of Eliot ruminating after Zebras in African savannahs, chasing the Eskimo into his igloo. Parody: a miscarriage of true minds. Oh and Jupiter does labor with dancing fingers. Our puppet strings hurt. Anyway we pound through it, jabbing at electric keys. Fight anyone with a butane torch, look away when we press the stopwatch. Only when itâ€™s right, until weâ€™re giddy with the . . . blanketyblank. When we look away from the watch, what do we spy but a bee out of the window. Doing what spooky thing, exactly, in this hemisphere, this time of year?
Re: I can’t do anything except swivel in my chair go up and down stairs. You tell me to rest in oblivion—my expertise not measured by lickity-split. to break when the door shuts, and when the hallway light glows around the door still to give up my eyesight for a semblance of ORDER. I come closer to action when the firefox brigade clogs the ambition I practice on google. Gold in my trousseau and yet I wax on with variegated wings. Peacock feathers alive in the corners of my living room. I keep a water jug beside my bed. Sip the coolness off the rim, add attachment, hit send. Fw: I process this as disaster. Tell your friends: Drinking is now the Tao of the neighborhood. Gossip is going around that the door closed around midnight. We factchecked, but can’t— because we won’t— reveal our sources. Shh.
UGLY METAPHOR Getting caught in the tumult of abstract ideas is the lie. Being enchained in the absence of symbols— in the lie of available symbols. Denied by the cross, the swastika denied to me. We whip the wheel around, keep turning it in with the cross bow in its cleft, ripped out with a poison tip. Deep as religion is, to me, not the tumult of abstract ideas. I keep no symbol around my neck. Denied my talisman the burial, no bones of my ancestors bowed under the earth’s crust. No slavery whips against my ancestor’s backs. Just the tip of the ice burg, these abstract symbols without a figuring. No cross, no denial. Simply lay it down on paper whatever it was I wanted to say all those times I keep this slide down and down I keep going as if it would never stop, stripped of life by an assassin, as she was hurdling through that maze of politics and life was really going to be this for her the marred breakage was nothing to take home to her parents oh limits, in this, the tension strips, aligns remotely with him, as I started to love, seekers, were once, the many flowers that broke open when he smiled, the teeth were like dynamite. I say my names and sometimes simply lay it down on paper what it was I wanted to say all those times. Could these cold wires keep me buoyed? And yet his world keeps me buried beneath it. Any avalanche, any tornado, trying to rummage through debris for my once-‐lost-‐perishing, memories of even-‐thrummed and equal love, returned, returning. Mouths open and close, and in the present, I don’t think of your body beneath another. While owls and hawks in southern pinetrees do it. Congress with God, as nimble as the hawk or owl. Yet this insistence, yet, donned at night, the effort secreting out of lintels or doors ajar, whatever airy speakers can broker into this form from the other side of darkness. I can only guess at the resemblance.
Each light went west, while your dormant lust sent pleasure downward, southerly, I clasped the wormwood in my hand, chewed off a morsel, and continued walking, out of the botanical garden’s arches. Wire transfer some drinking water, someday after the artifice, the energy, depletes. In keeping with an electric clock. Not analogue. I laid out the digits, the prehensile, clasped the spoon with my fingers once, on impulse. Every year of civilization and a lock opens. Into banquets. Like the Beowulf blanket I kept warm under in London. I laid the promises out, shielded nothing from nothing. War-‐weary, saying this song as opposed to another’s better for now, when breaking off the pinecone from the tree. The reflections of the pinecones under the billybats in the asphalt puddle under the moon. Underneath the sediment gets impacted, as they say, how the wind can impact the destinies of cities, churning out of control. Dress-‐me-‐down, my density, the testing of my body inside your body inside my body. How arms held in, incense me, confuse me, cause me wonder. I slip a note into your pocket. Store art-‐cars full of chairs in the basement. Prepare shelters, all the while causality keeps spinning out wildly, like the whinnying of horses that aren’t real under your newborn legs, bustling with love for horses. How like and how like when I lost the antelopes. Slipping, perishing, the ice I step on beneath me, the nadir, slipping, perishing beneath me. Road detours East. I get up again and wash my hands and face. Red-‐robin in the distance, outside the window, springtimes when I looked to see the ferry gliding across the sea, the canvas ceiling, striped canopy, yellow and blue, in the shapes of pennants, the sounds of the trains squelching stop in my brother’s neighborhood. All imaginary. Riding the carrousel on horses that aren’t real under your newborn, legs bustling with love for horses. Lives to fill out these pages. Make an image out of myself. How it came to nothing when the climate was restored.
I turned outward, not wanting, expediency like this. Couldn’t calibrate the correct response, the unjust, unjustness of right and wrong. Who does this to me, each time I just want to betray hatred for an enemy, my dispossession, lucid? Yellow guns going boom, boom, kaboom in the basement (downstairs). Nadir. Hourly, nightly. Antelopes fleeing at the sound of horse hooves, a sleigh ride back to the cottage or country house, where the fire burned so brightly I threw off my scarf. Suddenly upon entering. A stuffed chair. Where one sits. Was how my mind reacted to the appearance of furniture. Waking up, my eyes through eyes could see the cherry wood of the dresser and footboard. Would this religion be of any consequence? Getting caught in the tumult of abstract ideas is the lie. Being enchained in the absence of symbols— in the lie of available symbols. Denied by the cross, the swastika denied to me. We whip the wheel around, keep turning it in with the cross bow in its cleft, ripped out with a poison tip. Deep as religion is, it is not the tumult of abstract ideas. I keep no symbol around me neck. Denied the burial, no bones of my ancestors bowed under the earth’s crust. No slavery whips against my ancestor’s backs. Just the tip of the ice burg, these abstract symbols without a figuring. No cross, no denial. How like an onion, laughter or remedy, or banana peel. At the gas station, I collected the information about the assassination from a dark Turk who owned the establishment, presumably. Above the counter where I wrapped my hand around the brown bag covering my wine bottle. I was about to buy it; engaged in the commerce today of seeking an answer to my question why. Ready as I’ll ever be. Tyranny and me. Feel it in my bed, wounded as ever, tuned into mystic impulses. Leave behind the grandfather as he’s pictured and remember to honor his wife. Good children wounded in a good fight. However little this abstraction holds water. Gradually becoming sounder, they crater water as a rock, round the diverted lip and slide back down. As a pressure-‐paradox is lying always in the uppermost of my mind. Feet wet from pacing the rock-‐bed, quarry. Ritual of Local roads twisting into mountain passes, snow falling.
Bound by laws and orgasms, little soundless microphones bear repeating into them. Say hello again, my name, make sentences again that bear repeating. When they used to read. Water in the ocean. Land on continents. I divide the planet according to my will. And from it I’ve purchased this lack (push back) of corresponding affections, like necklaces meant to be heirlooms, inside of boxes, parleyed from one time into another, not to be possessed but studied by anthropologists, and morphed by them into what exactly what truth of parleying that I never want them to know? that I had no use for all the gold in my trousseau, but only wanted to keep it, so the anthropologists could look at it, not so that they could see my reasons, but so they could imagine the uses for these bangles and heavy golden chokers. Why should that little bird have frightened me enough that behind the door that when I saw it in the ajar I banged again and again until it was dead. Dead/healed? The question continues to persist. I condescend to ask a man his political opinion only because I couldn’t get the other him on the phone early enough, the one who reminds me not to trouble myself. The story of how things are how they remain . . . I could have gone back to the lintels today and stayed there, instead of watching the news. The words come so easy now, and connect as though these scratchings, marks I make, marks made, little markings, the planks and structures of scratching, marks structured. How quick is that connection between the marking and the thought, emotion, word. I don’t know at what cost I’ve purchased this particular ease. I’ve got these words now to stand in for that. It is with some brokenness, some fragments, shards, these ruins I keep tied together, with yarn and ribbon. Christmas presents. Letters rust in plaid-‐covered boxes. Hoove prints mar the pastures. Elephants of alabaster and my mardi-‐gras of disaster. Each month, or day, or night—leave the book open, write. How would it be more soothing, restrain my memory, oh train, domesticate that beating bird in the voice box straining to make grave matter rise forth, froth over with ugly metaphor.