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A Conduct To History Joseph Young


The stories in God And Other Stories were published in Alice Blue without a series title; Pornography was published in Vinyl Poetry; Covers was an art show designed in collaboration with encaustic painter Christine Sajecki shown at Minas Gallery, Baltimore, MD, 2010; Early Record was published in Drupe Fruits; Deep Falls, after which the Apocrypha were written, was an art show in collaboration with Christine Sajecki shown at Antreasian Gallery, Baltimore, MD, 2008; Fr*nd / B**k / Alp*ab*t was published in City Sages: Baltimore; the stories in O’Connor’s Peacock were performed at Night of the Blackbird, Baltimore Theater Project, 2008, with band Red Sammy and poet Stephen Matanle; Things Not Moving is a previously unpublished project originally conceived in collaboration with poet Adam Robinson. Copyright 2011 Joseph Young Avalon, Baltimore, MD A Conduct To History may be freely distributed in this pdf format.


A Conduct To History Joseph Young

Avalon / Baltimore, MD / 2011


Table Of Contents Of All 2,000 Years

1

No Ideas From Here

3

God And Other Stories

4

Pornography

5

from Photobook

7

from Covers

8

If This Were Baltimore

11

The Geostroph / The Interstites

12

Joseph Young

13

Lectures

14

Tell It Over

15

Early Record

16

Deep Falls: Apocrypha

17


Fri*nd / B**k / Alp*ab*t

18

O’Connor’s Peacock

20

Things Not Moving

22


Of All 2,000 Years 10 Point The city after the snow was Medieval, the thousand paths wound as browsing deer. Inside her coat what wild heart. Lethe The beads were rolled-river at her throat, milk blue on a yellow string. I can’t sleep she said, into his ear. The dog guarded her feet, eyes serious with cataract. Turn He folded a small squid eating sugar from the table top. The murmur of the room might have been plaintive, not for the smell of caramel. Runt One bright claw and it could have been done, all of that. The mothers drowsed and woke clamoring for the woods.


The Salmon-Falls He walked the stone hall to the tourists’ kiosk. She waited touching the cover of a book. Men it seemed stood on hooves.


No Ideas From Here Tape The knife that tore the envelope tore the apricot. What was it? Water The boxes ranked against the open room. Watch So it was cut the water bright the tub. Say We see.


God And Other Stories In Defense Of Iceland Such a brief 4 words she told him. The moon was graying out, rosy dawn sliding farther on. Trump The tree cracked at the trunk and stood at the bricks of the house. Sorry, he said to her. Her face was gold for the stream. 1 He believed he might rat her out, tell her father the things she knew. The floorboards were wet, the sun an open zoo.


Pornography First He went across the floor to where she sat. One sleeve of her shirt dropped to show her shoulder, salted and brown. One hundred fish filled the wave. Now, he said. Now is now. Second The car wouldn’t start, sputtering time in falling snow. Crows stood in the tree above. Give me, she said, reaching over the knees. Fourth They walked the dog, hardly filling a black space in the dark. The houses had lit their windows red. Fifth Don’t watch me, he said. I feel frail. She kept at it though, the bottles in the windows having broke the light.


Third It was second to longest day. The swimming pool gleamed green under the calving sky. She curved her hip to the water and pushed. Now, like ever, he could not keep pace. Sixth As they ate their lunch, a thousand flowers the size of periods. Your hands, he said. Though she had no embarrassment. Seventh The ring twisted, burnt gold on the black street. Eighth Leaves were bright crusts of bread in the grass. She filled her shirt to parade in the street, rocked back on her heels. That’s too easy, he said, misunderstanding again. Ninth Her leg held steady the tree. We should rest, one of them said, for Christmas. The floor was a wasp of needles, the house a caught fire.


from Photobook Darwin’s Descending There was no way of telling, even as he pressed close to look. Whose eye carved the black weight of knowing, his and his 70 years, or the brute tilt of a million bills? We Are Not The Messiah Now It may have been Magritte who said, “The man after his nightmare.” Though not even god would sacrifice one white plume.


from Covers The Orate The swamp was pale reed and white water, men worked the reels. Something surfaced and they none of them went. Say, said the women, now all will rise. Tables The boys were compact boxes of words, faces, teeth. Their hands wanted for the marks of the earth. She happy? they said, he sad? Entry It had been stained by ash, yellow at the bronzed head. The man opened his coat to show the tshirt. The Past, it said, We are Safe. Such thin light for it all. Smaller Now The case of flesh she was shouted. That was all though, the little girl and sick puppy paid such little heed. That dog at the corner of the porch dreamt of knees.


First Secession Week’s end haunted the car, the pines, their speeches. From where’d we come? they said, a certain parallel having passed. The fields were empty of ads, studded instead with brickwork graves.

Jan 21 09 One boy passed another. He felt for the bread knife in his pocket. He remembered breakfast, just the day before.

Affirmative In his booth, he is handed 5000 dollars a day, 2 at a time. Most faces face up, except for the trucks. These he looks into the eye—those from the farms—and wonders, my life, my death. Good Word They’d all read from the book—the horned god, the brother death. It didn’t stop a washing of blood or a simple sharing of the cup.


Hundred And Twelfth Blond and allusions of blossoms, they called at her Cherry. My father, she said, he’d never allow. The sirens, the streets, the starlings, the boys, the boxes on the curb.


If This Were Baltimore East A spray of change in the lilies and loose rubber, she pulled close to the wall. She smiled at the trucks, her handful of loot. Hallelujah, he said, converting. West Like 4 miles of cakes, they counted the headstones. 200 he said, but she wrinkled her nose. 200 maybe of old men alone. River No soil, just rock, flakes of plaster on the shore. She peeled one leaf and gave him continuance of that.


The Geostroph / The Interstites The Geostroph The wind was on the face of the rock, a pink stream invisible. I have that distance to cross it said, the face of a dog, the river in the sand. The Interstites The kidney in its dungeon longed to laugh. It had the vision of grass on the hill and a traveling boy.

A geostrophic current results from the balance between gravitational forces and the Coriolis effect. The gravitational effect is controlled by the tilt of the sea surface and water density is controlled by horizontal changes in temperature and salinity. Interstitial: situated within but not restricted to or characteristic of a particular organ or tissue —used especially of fibrous tissue; affecting the interstitial tissues of an organ or part.


Joseph Young Joseph Young You might start with the top of the head, where the heat goes. This is first, first from the womb, the first word. Joseph Young There might have been a faith that placed it in the mouth, not the liver or in the heart. Joseph Young It might have been the desert that made things first for the eye. Now the trees all fall to light. Joseph Young She might have been the mother or a sister, her head all navy with the moon. Joseph Young You might end with the feet, washed, where much the world will go.


Lectures A Bra Burning When Freud painted “Envy,” the women collapsed, holding fans to their faces. Hot that year, they retired to the Tyrols. 50 Days Of Palindromes Although Thiebaud painted cakes like women, Hopper went the other way. That’s what’s fun, and confusing, about Pop. Rumor Control Johns as a boy liked to burn candles in his bedroom, until he caught his bed clothes on fire. His friend “R.R.” liked to sleep around. The Greek You really have to go back to Italy CA 1560 to see good manners. Still the word thug was thrown about, not surprising with a name like that.


Tell It Over Indiana The watch said, 4 o’clock, the clock replied, 5. So close to the ground the moon a grippable blue. Sentence Digging put flakes wherever it went. That said it was always red. Return They might have thought the sea the green of a larger tree. Wall There’s the colorized man, the other a failing 3.


Early Record Lucy The empty things sat on the ground not sitting. It didn’t eat or knit. No heartbeat was had, no broken anything. Ethiop And Persephone Ohio has a rock near covered gold grass stood six times in time. It was so a girl pretty they missed her. Mary That Is Beautiful She lay out in field of red flower the hips that rung the pottery bone.


Deep Falls: Apocrypha The ear of her dog, the one that turned north, that she held to crying, was the one through which he tried to hear the water. The instrument—red china—lived in all their apartments, breath, ink, wax, and blueprint, which none of them could tell to whom it belonged. Clearly between them the woolliness of history— sheep, time, heart, he, her, him, them. Late Apocrypha They saw a dark bird there, sooty from a fire, wrap of its bones exploding at the sky.


Fri*nd / B**k / Alp*ab*t His eyes caught the passing of a bus, orange and broken white, and in a passing moment he left the stage. His hands described a guitar, eyes a bus. She holds to herself a weed, pulled from the grass. Will you? she says. The weed asks her skin a question he couldn’t have fixed. In certain houses the lights were doubled, late city. She wouldn’t have been there—the paling sidewalk—except for the voice: daughter? daughter? She folded her hands, nearly folded. His glasses are televisions of her, even as he watches his hand. Go home? he asks, but she’s already there. Wait, she said. She was surprised how easily the knife passed through the apple, dull knife, red apple. Wait, she said. The sun pierced the door, family in the drive. An ant began from the linoleum, crawled past her elbow, shoulder, to the clouded ceiling. She stirred her pot, focused on a dark fog. The ant reached the bulb, vaporous and warm.


When he parks the car, he will not get out. The motor will fall away, snow on the windshield. He’ll sleep, then and inside, all the hearts on the block neatly typing. He is clear, it’ll be that metal, no other. It is like a dog: blue, heavy, patient. He pays, and the man at the register—what is it?, his eyes silver filling. She turns away, one black heal, curled ends of her hair. Her smile is fixed—screwed, small. But then the sun declining, orange and cool, her palms find his eyes.

To my friends. Without whom I can’t be sure.


O’Connor’s Peacock O’Connor’s Peacock They roost in the low ash until daylight, eyes folded and awake. What did she want in them? he says. She stares at the sun rising, until she’s compulsed to blink. Something about God, she says. She turns toward him then, on him. Concertina The tires breathe asthmatically on the blacktop, grooved for ice, ascending the loose stone faces of the mountain. She weeps, softly and finally, air slight and elegantly blue. Music, he thinks, thinning oxygen, fast release of promise. ID By the time they walk to the lake’s widest middle, the snow has altered everything, profligate in the air. What are you? she says peering. A bear? The wild electrons of his limbs craze inside as out. I might like you better, she says.


Branch With Bourbon He puts the flat of the bottle against a stone, current parting around its neck. She lies in the gravel wash, too light to swat the yellow jackets from her arms. You believe me? she says. Her words are clumsy from the stomach. But he does, he allows. His eyes put up sparks in the bronze of the sun.


Things Not Moving TV Is Snow She put a mitten to chin—his, ice, smoke. The wave rolled froze in a basin of sand. Yes, she said, Yes now no. Apiary The bee’s feet clung to the cusp of sill. He held a bag holding orange. Between them—he and she— the beach made sound. Drake Not possible to tell if at the mouth were rock or ship. A gunpowder of wren crossed the wire as she dress flame. Beholden For 90 years water fed brick. Falling, it said. It strewn on walk, looked at by men.


Charge He was scimitar there, an ax. The small birds came square. Art The hole makes green bubble and beside that white. How many you got, she said. There then landscape died. SOS, AZ Under a rock in a stream a rock opens its arms. It is covered in the blue green slime like that a limit amongst your iris. It thinks, oh these my arms. Awl Side of the road and fields of 25 miles. Beyond that a field. On her lap spread out books of other things, black, white, and she entreats of god. No Need She offered two halves like woken grubs, clocking in the palm. All marveled the nearness of everything.


Trapdoor—Yes The talent got together to crouch low on the horizontal. The sun fired 3 shots in the air. Stuff scattered like fish nothing at all. Is Not Sink To Stand She had a bail to hand, the open throat the open ready willing throat.

A Conduct to History  

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