Always there is that one beside you
no matter the gray evening with its
piercing stars or the silent road, an
invitation to abide or go,
it is what’s made for you that’s not you,
the thing past you in looking glasses,
unseen quests and all unspoken poems,
parent of the street’s cacophony
the mess of executed thought, one
with your inside face, mysterious
to you still as collapsing stars or
water bears or even the water
that washes you or fills your cup, as
promising as all forgotten things.
The first torment is isolation—the blindfold
it takes to get you there so you don’t know
where you are, your mind hollering run,
hide, but where can you run or hide? Thus
excised from the world you knew, you begin
to feel what’s done to you is some kind of
penance, you begin to think of your captor
as the agent of your deliverance. Something
in the intimacy of your suffering makes you
feel complicit, makes you hide yourself so
deep away that ever after you will feel like an
impostor—outcast, mis-cast— and the only
thing that feels like choice is renunciation of
what you no longer have. Still, even in this
dark captivity, there is the shining mind, the
scintillating vision of a heaven of light and sky,
and then all the ecstatic words you conjure up
to explain it. No one now can forbid you to
make a devotion of it, this expansive freeing
space you’ve found inside.
And now it is. You are who.
You are not who you are.
You are who you are not.
We are out reaching our touch.
We are who you. Yes, true.
Everybody is knowing.
We know every body. When is
our seahorse and our spinster?
We get in there and squeeze.
We engineer. We made the moon.
The daily do deemed.
The creep in the ceiling. Skin.
Even your atomic weight. Vote.
Our bomb parade smacks the book.
Our armored interface a maze.
Our retrograde clock out.
Our radiation is an open door.
And our pencil’s a knife.
decide this one day not to mourn
abandoned places, all their giving up—
not to wonder who now occupies
instead the miscellaneous behavior
of persons inimical to the construct,
their narrows and slatternly resolutions
first the clamor, then the smear
massacres of faith like those of conquest—
bonfire, barbecue, conversion
meanwhile loss conceived of as return
somewhere out on moonbeam lane
the discovery people not like you thrive
our former gods and vast undoing—
their atomic disappearance
you remember the dress, the words
the way moonlight made everything blue
the novel system of notation
we concede, we adumbrate the same
self who showed up for the hanging
they gather up the things you let go
the long arrow of the exorcism
the long count, the unbearable air
on behalf of your half, characters
transported to a past no longer past
the usual mummy and drugstores
sassafras, soda, little flying wheels
the observations of plain sense skewed
the official bully, her nimbus and whip
fragmented discourse for a fractious age
and from nowhere the opening of
Ben Casey: “man, woman, infinity” ooh
the fathoms of your particular, and how
we made the gate to make the place
the wild man, the recluse, the rustic
edgeling, hermit, housebound, hidebound
when magic is so somewhere not here
when here is not a muddled blunder
like low clouds distant mountains
or the hole in the series where
the lock was, where I was, and all
the other places you never look
the heart a little animal
running and running on the flat when
the next thermonuclear hijack
makes everything an over thing
the loners’ club, how it happens
no place in our underfoot is not
towered down creatures before us
abandoned places, all their giving up
how we survive such vast undoing
They come back to you not in dreams but
at the end of day—suddenly between
work and the garden, your grandmother,
casual wonder on her face, your view
of power lines and trains and hazy hills,
this worn out frontier, but at your feet,
lilies of the valley like the ones
she grew in red dirt. You have your own
wonder too, knowing fewer living than
the dead. Sometimes the others
come along, a voiceless chorus—
there and not there, most of them not here
for you. If they could tell you things,
they’d only be the world, but then
perhaps they’d say the real wound
comes between this and next. These
invisible others before whom you live
your invisible life behind the
apparition of you the living see.
who can know the ways of love
its abrupt subjects and improbable objects
its little curtained rooms and high turrets
the river it swims in and swamps it occupies
the fur it wears for skin on high occasions
the things its connoisseurs cannot reconnoiter
the things its detectives do not suspect
the things in it that run the wild in wilderness
its espaliered sentiments, its battlements
its jars and spoons, its uncouth accoutrements
its snowbanks and dark windows
the lapse of its letters and tardy latitudes
the presto of its prestidigitation
its ducts and dungeons and dubious documents
its glades and gullies and worn gilding
its couloirs and parlors and erratic orbits
and how there’s no taking it back
and how there’s no going back ever
sci fi haiku
cylinder hovers above
woods, animals freeze
buzzing fucks up radio
trucker prays in field
women driving home
stunning light, vehicle swarmed
superfast spacecraft arrives
drinking and loud sex
tall frilly spacemen
emerge from haystack-shaped ship
police call it in
more sci fi haiku
paced by glowing cigar
students on spring break
looming pie-shaped craft
three truckers report
red elliptical objects
man shoots pistol at
bright object circling his car
misses, passes out
two men while fishing
lusterless craft in the sky
pulls them up inside
bright cone-shaped object
glides leisurely through the trees
daughters, dogs on camping trip
huge disc flashes by
glowing craft descends
into eucalyptus trees
cats sit in circle
In the far away, something close,
the electrified matter of touch,
how it runs from skin to bone
and sits in your being,
what love there is in human hands.
The cool of the screened porch,
outside inside, bowls in our laps,
peas still warm from the garden
so many to shell, so much light
in that sinking time of day.
The mockingbird’s back—
who shall I be for you
any everything, even not bird,
and who shall you be,
made for me? All I am is sound.
The jump tree to tree
or the rupture there where you
were, here where you are.
Backwater, deep woods—
something human crops up in
the sift, bronze or bone.
In the cave things feel
larger than they are, every
dark thing but exit.
This little wheel we
drive drives us while all the while
wonder awaits us.
a long ride to the next world
neighborhoods sere and foggy
a bridge over a canal
an impatient bride
a lost child’s small worn shoes
another quest for the invisible
what cannot be recalled
knows nothing of despair
things ended, not begun
who can resist a dark corridor
or not let out at night, brine
mist, a mere spot of yellow:
sunshine, roses, rooms
somewhere up ahead
this ocean of feeling
the long ride to the next world
already written over
already ridden past
the right kindness, the usual garage
the usual motives, the angry vanity club
finished saints, retroactive years
soul perched on a chair near the station
Thick is how not doing feels, but still
paralysis is a tremor at a gate
that turns into a steep incline or cliff
or vast and empty waste. Whatever
it is, it’s the place before place, it’s
where you belong where belonging
has no meaning. It’s where nothing can be
got, where the illusion of having
runs out, where there’s no Virgil
to explain things you can’t see.
It’s the country of all corners though
where two meet there is no one,
there is no face to face. It’s where
the wall you had to lean against—
the one you slid inside to slide
along the edge—is gone.
modified image; original image: http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/fishimages&CISOPTR=53722&CISOBOX=1&REC=18