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.
I poked my stick, responding to orbs of a sister pool, Echoing southwards. Just to show me my reflection Gone.
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.
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
BROCHURE OF APPEARANCES I filtered water through potatoes in the wire net of relationships. We werenâ€™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 Formicaâ€™s edge. So now I am here where a forestâ€™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 Henryâ€™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.
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.
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
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.
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 archerâ€™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 thereâ€™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 Iâ€™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 became animal 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.
Yellow bell. 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.
PROCESS 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.
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 waterâ€™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.
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.
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, â€œAt the Grave of Henry Jamesâ€?
THE GENERAL OF THE CEILING FAN FACTORY I kept returning to the kitchenâ€™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.
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 repeats? 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? Opened already, turning 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 days with money-outcomes. Whereas the stars were already invented for my newborn eyes to see. Elitist exile, under nether ice, where Henry locks me up. Sad black eyes of prehistoric faces. I’ll go home, again. I will return. What if history really is illusory? Peering through glass, I see the changes sweep softly above, over cloudy complaints, hear the laughter, already opening, a world’s rippled shadows bob in widening trees and caress their dappled fingers on the paved roads we sometimes drive, as we make our way back to the prairie houses where we were schooled. Doing this, for now I prefer my thumbs opposable.
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.
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.
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.
RECEPTION Time was. We ferried back and forth. Cell phone signal faded whenever someone was about to say I love you. But Henry didnâ€™t know anything about time, so preoccupied with ascent. I thought he might have been jealous, once, but how do halfformed 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.
FELT FREE BEING THE BEAR Music guides my attention, denatured, 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.
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.
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 pierâ€™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, itâ€™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 pierâ€™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 donâ€™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. Joyâ€™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 Henryâ€™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 throwâ€” 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.
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 Henryâ€™s sorrows, I forgot to be where I should be. So I walked out into albedoâ€™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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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 Iâ€™d be riding the horse: around the carrousel, here and then there, centered on its pinions.