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Oh My God It seems there were these tunnels, I mean real dirt, and when they were blasted to become tunnels, there were these opportunities to go under, I mean to say beneath. So there was no blue by saying it, for what sky could hear you down there; what the unfit generation thinks, live and be violent, live how you’re related to your best sense and not by what you remember.

It is accurate to say dry: dry smell, invisibly dry, enemied or unblinked numbered dry. Truthfully, there was one day in the last ten years

that I stayed put in a Clare’s Boutique, bangling alone for nearly a song, then not, as lists go. Today I sighed as a way of arguing. I ate a banana while waiting for the words. I’m one of the growing references as well. It’s like how some people take to air guitar and some cruise the streets, come from the streets, and in the realm of making something out of nothing, there’s no telling who’s more reliable. But the risk is devotion. It’s always been. There’s the way a desk feels when it isn’t yours. People walking to eat things that are frozen, when they should. All that emanates from making it to some practice on time. These are what happens when you’re at a desk. All eruptions, strings, flights, so far gone, I used to tell you, trying to make light

of how I felt.

There was this one small winter where derision wasn’t really a pinch, but because it was winter and all, well, there’s no petting zoo, everything comes off as unpatriotic. Even so, sociability, livelihood, the expertise to even show up at all, that really counts for something. It is both a cause and a criteria, I kid you not, oh, stop it, come on. Last night a man entered me. A real man with projects and smell and thudding around. Each time I thought, unstable, he thought unstable, and so we rolled on the floor and charged each other for what we knew. What’s everlasting is the contingency that what you think is there is such a good decoration

that, as an influence, it has the redeeming quality of moving closer to some purpose called you.

When the conversation comes to rest, even by God’s standards, nothing goes back to being casual for a long time. So I went on fishing, bringing my well behaved dog closer to me by winding its leash around my arm until it gave in and took a seat beside me. If standing is deadpan, while lying down is not. If fireworks, like night fits, push past the dying and two horns on one head pan out. If spitting is unmountainly if spitting doesn’t cover everything. If I hold on to myself, as you suspect I might, how many more times would there be between us? Enough?

The tolerance of a professor or the tolerance of the census? Because we need both. For natural causes we need both. To extend the franchise we need both. For a cum stain to be a cum stain, you must love me and we always will. The thing is, you participate in views, and then you’re asked to elaborate about how it gets to be beautiful, where it finds the time to remain logical. One more reason for multiplying demands. What’s driving, what’s behind the wheel is asking all the questions. That’s okay. In a state-funded journal, everyone who’s included must be reunited someday, to live out their lives, synchronize their watches to the heartbeat of gold medalists; a negotiation of oomph. This is my intention. This is your wet raincoat. So what if someone on TV calls in sick, calls it their redemption,

upgrades, for a day, their job to ghosts, to just a steady drift? In truth, I could barely stand, when seeing you for the first time in years, when we got close enough, not reaching for your hand and telling you, here, here’s your reward. And one star is bestowed with chemistry, while another is anything but. And that last star, unoccupied star, I guess, tells the best stories that will somehow matter a thousand years from now. Let the footage end there, just before he’s eaten by some very private moment which forces us, since we know nothing, to ask each other what happened? Tell me, with the most casual shrug you can muster, all about what mounts the moments that were ours. How an airplane to a child on the verge of sleep makes a sawing motion. Just imagine if I’d laid on the horn just then, bedazzled

by just another thug out in the world playing with a threshold. Then, empty streets. Never mind any kind of response with an empty street. The best left is only as good as can be imagined. I have all the time. You have all the time. It’s like we’re overreacting to the wind by complementing it, but it didn’t blow us down, we did. I can’t explain it. Moments later the whole factory begins rolling right along, machines bopping up and down, employees, some looking bored but not really, some flirting with their rubber gloves on, accelerated by every collector who knows what they hope to do later, when their time is theirs. I’m not saying anything really until this decade forgives the last, and so on. And I can still be as outgoing as the Whitney or Wanda’s Wig Emporium, or, if everyone has an investor in their hearts, just another parent angling towards chemotherapy.

In other words, blam, and Jeff Koons finally gets wispy headed, whiter still, and what he stole from this generation finally gets to return home to our hometown. At the party where everything matters, I might tear up, wipe my eyes on a fallen streamer, a plastic cake covered spoon. And when the disco ball is introduced for the first and last time, and we all look upward as if it might fall, then down to dance floor where someone thought it right to place the punchbowl, this glamour and the crazy children who accompany this glamour, will puppy the spectacle just long enough before the bad guys have the chance to collect themselves, before they stand up and declare their once secret talents while dancing.

Funny how fragile everyone I love

would look on a yacht. So it helps to remember, body language is a physical investment that immediately gives in to pranks and rocks, better yet, the age old prank of pretending to throw rocks, and that terrible flinch you get from people in return. In the burning convergence of what we thought we’d done and how we’d do it, the symposia, as a result, impresses our mothers. And value, on any given day, is enough to get excited about.

At the time, there was a car, a Buick, and for the life of me I couldn’t kill myself in that car, or with that car, no way. When you go to Iowa you read John Berryman. That is so not true. When you go to Iowa there is a river.

When it floods, the art gallery that has the greatest nonrepresentational collection of work by painters like Phillip Guston and Phillip Guston, gets swept away, while the art, so I heard, gets saved. Which really says something about the river, doesn’t it? And for as long as I write about rivers, the hangman will be waiting on the steps, trapped there, with nothing to do but retie his shoes, watch the world go on without him. So sad to have one’s dignity not count for anything.

There was a time when your looks convinced me I too could be enthusiastic, and I was, and I’d even go so far as to wear my hat backward if you asked, return my aesthetics to unfit drinking water, like, I can do anything without thinking. But just for a second, isn’t it neat to think that if we can preserve

Rambo for 500 years, he’ll have more scholarship devoted to him than John Ashbery has now? Now where were we? Locking every window in the house because the smell of some storm passed through?

Last night I announced the potential for a new race box called, African Americans Americans Americans, to emphasize how sensitive is the mischief that nonetheless concludes a name. See how alive a repetition is, for awhile? In the tussle to own a broken window, not a shattered window, three hundred years suddenly gave way, messed up the bamboo floors with broken window, mess of staying in, eye to eye with the fruitbowl; the mausoleum of all mausoleums. I get so excited about what I’ll soon forget

that I share it with you and wait for you to unremember it too. So it’s not that we’re losing our minds, it’s that they’re becoming full. Wade through the sweetest of swamps, and there you’ll find it, my mind to yours.

In truth, it’s the last romantic who sustains us. The beginning of the Enlightenment marked the end of the singing bone. When a law broken was to give us courage, but instead we become more charming, that’s no career I ever want for my years. Instead, for the sake of primitive sensibilities, slab down the letter that drew me to you. Take the genuineness of an old man standing there in his loose underwear to mean there can never be anything so intrusive

as what we’re prone to call our illusions. This is our argent rebirth, the laziest of sways, the lunatic from the darkness into the massed of our ideas. And I know I’m unbetrayable to the worst of me. And for as long as I continue to be as private as a war, I’ll demand extraordinary preoccupation, rephrasing, I’m somehow learning why I love you all over again.


Poem Jordan Stempleman