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That We Come To A Consensus Noah Eli Gordon and Sara Veglahn

Ugly Duckling Presse 2005, 2010

To come to understanding here’s me in the summertime & you in late light I’d copy a day’s picture housed inside a jar becoming a city carved from anxious subtitles hidden like soil like weeds you’ve taken my hand this opium den this gravel catwalk something mythic & proud breaking on the charts waking like the movies white collar crime in my new housedress there’s divination by tealeaves or weather they call it infrastructure & everything’s a symptom turning the clouds turning this waving pistol charade into something kind of tired


Say I were a scholar of invention can right this sentence say my favorite way in time to improve my own outlook apprehended in its dream another mask stuffed & covered in dust I’ve been inside a vault could say we meet at the airport as an appendix to an apology you arriving in a sombrero me wearing a white carnation a kind of greeting this part might be imagined then like a good idea say something bold squint & holler if you’ve been to Phoenix call it what one wonders carry a pebble in your mouth a dial tone a bit of fabric another false look for you wherever


Listen wine taster diamond luster luck carry me down the mountain in your mountain anorak on stage it’s less important I’ll stare out from that photograph forever consider the small cop the party collapsed then we take the train a dozen pages back where’s the action in a small explosion anyway the already post-apologetic I’ve got more time on my hands than I used to wasting away is such a touchy subject when you mention appetite trying to be tender in a roundabout way system trouble speaks louder than loud in the heft of an afternoon in bloodshot anticipation you know the drill I’ve come here with arms & legs & how a conductor calls home there’s a problem occurring in joining forces when I pull wet letters from the sink


It was like this all day on the train a concordance & then the air thinned escaping daylight & its florid haze she was or is or may have been a guest whether behind bars or outside the gate what antecedent to pleasure like mosquitoes I mean a subtle kind of violence I’ve spread thin we left the hotel together with so many days to reassemble the subtitles in English are plenty to last through later the dining car smelled of rosemary all of a sunset can’t stand music but can’t stop listening today & already the moon is what you would recommend for a casual aside look at the way I write your name in this fiction even I’ve been called a man from behind


Say I have a hotel catastrophe in a fiction the hotel collapses boots & rags branded & back tomorrow one way to assassinate the newly canonized is written from memory speaks only English in every other line the boy recorded somewhere the girl imagining pictures these names for partner believe me I went out the door grew used to a lantern does this glide does that descend the boy was almost him or herself the girl was saying something gasoline spilled over several blocks the boy was apprehensive the girl was not really looking a tip to the worldly wise break it down politely trying outside what landscape to forget we learn what we love


Recorded somewhere in rugged genius I rolled down the window a simple wolf complexity sounds as stunning arriving late in the documentary when the laundry means a task makes us whole to sort out the saturation point on the train with travel guide a likely story translating certain events (news hour romance) came on like a headache & somehow never a readable version I’ve left more menacing footnotes & won’t remember this tomorrow consider it a side note to a year expressed in bird migration we for whom tragedy seems constant don’t have the skills to end the story in the stairwell have nothing to say & haven’t said anything I want a better cookbook from this


Dream a watchmaker & make him tangible don’t say that because I’m using it which clock is correct when the mission bell chimes what a divisive thought when dancing alone I meant my own workstation I’ve had my way then I’m not sure how many pages are left & the mountain is the only thing you remember about the mountain & the German word for poison is gift though neither of us could name our governor who thought a cold shoulder could affect an internal organ to think inside the clock inside the potential outcome I’m trying to set my sights on something for instance that leaf so the day slides into another avoidance by now you’ve earned your cigarette call it a fortress & I’ll call in my debts a twig a leaf a stationary skyline such supplementary longing such a stand-in for nonsense I had my own money & could walk home alone


To varying degrees a hard sell replica says what comes to what in the window of a certain fiction as etc. as when dust settled smoke cleared where I was honing in on both views an anthem for the after-the-fact officers stagnant pools next to the pond where irises grow in a standard direction a blatant bah humbug to the world outside the window madly playing one note over & over not my shoes not a bottled post-apocalypse in Styrofoam the little cop in the little cage I carry is a gaudy display of who knows who who patrols your dial tone head my incoherent speechlessness the burden of the story collapsing on the embankment a hard lesson to a hotel keeper is asking for any good ideas you thought you’d have the best deal in town under the balcony arguing again the girl was waiting to be let in the boy was “at home” in a manner of speaking


Someone steals a shotgun & I’m never far from home called to write screenplays I see a raccoon in ram’s clothing get up at 6am this is largely a secret showing thought: vice versa & clouds but someone must have told me between giving the king a son & sitting under the nun for days who wants to plagiarize the sunlight all my rhythms tumble into drifts under the bed lately I’ve been copping someone’s shadow like all the people I don’t bother or should I say I’ve never appeared rather be in your book than another bar crossed over into a cloudburst at the podium everyone undressed with my name misspelled


Put it in an envelope & then put it in the sink she said I’m not wasting my life by living in it a handful of ants thrown into a pond so shell-less so afloat so what & by the time that cigarette’s done you can play the chords someone else put together dear doctor here’s me making sense I want a loud flower in the middle of a lake vista yes radiance yes hotel yes the donors are willing to be generous so call the night fantastic because you dream incomplete airbrushing these subtitles a half tone away from the tone color anatomy outshined by a simple gesture I’d been wading in for days now what would the doctor say about this arrangement burning the courtyard with gasoline or collecting insects in a jar how what I’ve done makes regret nearly invisible


That we come to consensus that we cling to a key that we turned on the light that we rained down our glances that we exist in intervals that we watched the elevator dismantle that we fail to mention the little wheels that we didn’t quite agree that we recognize many faces that we are not like fast machines that we were crossing streets that we exited through the kitchen that we undressed that we hold out our hands to make patterns that we agree as often as not that we are rugged in warm climates that we were there that we kept careful field notes that we were concerned with money that we hit the ground running


It’s my hotel face this fragile time ending in the stairway let’s look like fool’s gold it’s not the year of the rooster not a deeper hiding place it’s a different kind of heat I confess to about half of the worst mistakes it was spring & I was sad later the train seemed to run but I’ve been dancing where I could have hoped to grow to amazing lengths gentle with intelligence all the more suspicious I wouldn’t call us different in that version learned to dance kept nimble this time I’ll set the record straight though it’s the same fire I’ve never been to that hotel


You want the clock to do something so salutatory how can I put this driving for days is like driving for days passive backwash or trickledown confidence panic may only be historic with cloud cover it’s hard enough to call it everything in its creatureless way weeks pass driving through every back-story like the alarms map out an ulterior motive I keep forgetting that’s me how to handle houseguests how things pass through a burn mark in a broken-hearted depravity they’ll look at your tongue your eyes & if she can fix an engine so be it a better way to save face might be to forget entirely give up the domestic plunder & build your own mannequin standard weather calls for more provocative side-trips redemptive cloud redemptive lake redemptive avalanche nothing as bright as the afternoon sun to stall a crash-landing


When I said starving it was hyperbole in a fiction I wrote with my left hand it’s hard being serious while clamoring for more attention who’s to say what shall concede shall cover me look at the way I’ve signed your name at how I wave my arms to make something of the hard doubt in an afternoon practically humming a simple decision to render it like an international ballad when did you expect what makes asphalt seem inevitable little dove little closed throat look at the filigree between us at the several concrete steps going higher my splendid apparition the awe in my lighthouse I’m counting on you to propel my revolution thwarting convention honest work if you can get it


That We Come To A Consensus is a collaboration between Noah Eli Gordon and Sara Veglahn, written in Summer 2003 and revised in 2005. Parts of this poem have appeared previously in Bird Dog, Boog City, Magazine Cypress, and One Less. This book was originally printed and bound in an edition of 300 at the Ugly Duckling Presse workshop in Red Hook, Brooklyn, in November 2005. Text is set in Adobe Garamond Pro, titles in Biorst and DIN. Cover design by Karenina Gonzales. Electronic edition produced in September 2010 and made possible in part by a grant from the New York State Literary Presenters Technical Assistance Program. For more information about this and other UDP titles, please visit us on the web at www.uglyducklingpresse.org.

Profile for Ugly Duckling Presse

That We Come to a Consensus by Noah Eli Gordon and Sara Veglahn  

Chapbook of poetry

That We Come to a Consensus by Noah Eli Gordon and Sara Veglahn  

Chapbook of poetry