Those Were

image

Those were not distant places,
in the end they were close by–
hedged estates, empty but inside
lit up like carnivals or fires,
strict way stations where the trains
we waited for were not the ones
we took, beds we sat beside
to watch and wait the little hour
that’s always gone before it comes
because it always comes too soon.
I dream of you now in places
not places but pure time
as close and far away as
stars that seem to take all night
to slide across our sky, or the
muddy riverbanks that made us
that smelled like blood and tin
and deeper in that sense that you
belong someplace you’ll never see
or never see again.
Like the silence inside thunder
everything that lets you know
that dirt that grows is the same
as dirt that buries, that sorrows
we all bear, we bear alone,
things that can’t be mended
the way they’re always borne.

_________________________
altered image; original image from NOAA Photo Library http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/

mosquito man mosquito man

mosquito man mosquito man
in your mosquito truck
known only by your power
to fortify the neighborhood
with the magic of low-lying weather
a fog of DDT intoxicating as
mimosa flower as tasty as
vinegar on crowder peas
irresistible to kids on tricycles
of one mind and all alone
pedaling like crazy into
utter discombobulation
better than whirling round and
falling better even than the fair
was it forbidden–probably, or not
kids’ ears attuned to the truck’s low
hiss moving slowly enough for a
four year-old to catch up to
the smoke bomb of another
reality, forever conflated with
the clouds and mystifications of
Sunday school heaven
a place you could go into
where there was nothing else

 

 

 

 

Maybe Hecate, Maybe Just Some Tramp

you won’t see her at the crossroads
but she is there
always ahead of where you’re going
she’s got a side that’s dark and blind
go that way, good luck with that
she doesn’t have the time
to give a damn

her magic is all misdirection
and disguise, she slips away from
easy expectations
knows the power in
not really being known
is the author of her own bad rap

she’s a threshold
she’s a gate
she’s the genius of all places
in between

she doesn’t take note of
pedants scolds or fools
she doesn’t bother with
people she can’t like

this is not to say that she won’t fight
the side she chooses
is the side she’s on

if you
lose a child
lose a mother
lose your mind
she has a hand for you
and a lamp for your feet
if danger’s where you’re headed
she won’t let you go alone

if you want the woman in her
what you want is what you’ll see
she lives in a room without a door
it’s not a place where you will ever be

don’t try to please her
she’s had all the pleasing she needs

some night you may see
light flickering through a forest
or across a field like
some otherworldly code
and there she is
running with a marten to scout
and a fox to fetch and a goose
to keep the peace, what a plan
the territory she crosses is all hers
even if it belongs to you

or you may see her
accompanied by fireflies
on your patio
gazing up at the sky
in wonder as if it has not
forever been her home

she stands aside for others
coming in and going out
lets them take what they please
so she knows who they are
she doesn’t want the things
most mortals want
so she has the whole wide world
to give

_________________________
image: “Hubble’s View of a Changing Fan,” NASA http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/pv-cep.html

Levee

noaa ms fld 1927 levee breach comprsd flpd

between you and
things you don’t want
to know
a monument
places you won’t go
losses
you don’t hope
to recover, people
you love who can
never return, people
who won’t love you or
you can’t love them
unless until
what’s broken
reconvenes
it won’t
nonetheless
you tend
the possibilities
with miraculous feats
and vanquishings
and other such
imagined scrims
it’s the same
no matter how you
line it up
best not move
as if anyway
you could oh
errant satellite
from up here
down there looks
static as if
that silver river
never moves it’s
still a planet of
postponed
collisions
not forgetting
harder than
remembering till
cuts and pinches
rocks and words
recall self to self
when you’re so
occupied there’s
only being
there’s still
a little place
to store yourself
like other creatures
artifacts of living
you can wait it out

_________________________
image: Mississippi River Flood 1927, NOAA, National Weather Service Collection:http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/wea00733.htm

we are running

we are running
our sky is the bottom
of a boat

approaching the wall
we pull out
our puny weaponry
disclose ourselves

bomb-light
startled trees

see our feet please
we’ll not show
what we see
just a simulacrum
of running
a simulacrum
of seeing
as if you’d fear
the village behind us
blossoming

hello
darling

we have a hacienda
in us invitations
cannot penetrate
a border spiked
our various heads
souvenirs
after images
of our afterlife
a sky-wide moat
as if someone
would

we had ankles once
jewelry, guns
berries
fetch was a word
with a water bucket
all we ever said
was O

we have
chemicals

cropped
and furrowed
into two
now we know
when you don’t
where you go

just look at
all this
room

the things
your hominids
have done
a ruse for hands
or thimbles
the deviant ladder
of our smile
your lesser loves
food one mustn’t eat
so it can’t
be gone

your machines have
memorized you

run

In the city of truth

Del Bene, Civitas Veri sive Morum crop

In the city of truth we now repose
in stances so stiff we look decoupaged.
We pose also with our manuscripts
and perhaps leftovers from last night’s
plantain stew. We are accompanied
by the dead we loved and knew
though you’d hardly know that now
for even love cannot translate their words.
We recognize of course that beckoning–
but what could they want, what can they have?
We are prepared to rope things for dinner.
Meanwhile our sturdy panther excavates
the scene of militations so frequent they
have their own special hats and pomp, no longer
merely the populace as are we
the vulgate in airy ellipses above
our heads. We don’t know what comes next.
Perhaps some dance involving sticks. Our
most penetrating misfortunes are stowed
in the crypt-like fissures of a nearby cliff.
Hey, she says, we got another letter
from that crank. Oh how we love things of the moon
all lunar topics lunulae and
lunatics and men. Someday perhaps
you will sail by our little shore and
from that distance think we’re beasts or trees
but this is the city of truth where we repose
anticipating your arrival
with our empty hands and hasty feet.

____________________________________
detail from Del Bene, Civitas Veri sive Morum c. 1609 via magictransistor.tumblr.com

Interlude

Whatever the case was, was not the case,
the lake that was, was not the lake but
everything: luxuriating in the depths
our houses and our cars, our surgical
ineptitude, our toys and guns and drones
suspended dark in waving water, things
we remembered and things we forgot,
our love, our multitudinous outrights,
layovers, lost places, families,
the ghosts of all the world, things not yet dead,
our volcanoes, our suburbs, our pets,
equations, scratched-out maps, infinitude,
the things we did or dreamed, our interlude.

Man Trapped Three Days in Freezer

Far better than the dingy deep to which
the flesh resigns are upright traps
or boards where feet pace out
the private woes the world designs.

At least in clothes or closets we may dream
or simply breathe or merely be the subjects
of desire. But where we go beds are so tight
and neat, to say we sleep there is a lie.

It’s no small feat to live inside a tomb
three days or, locked a lifetime in this case,
to love, to dance and sing, and still to die.

Lost in Transit

ms sky flp poss transit mod 1 rszd

When you pull your old self out to show,
the dead you don’t know and the dead you do
come smiling recognition who you are:
just nothing but what they think they know.

Shirt like lost dog on suburban corner
or sneaker highway-side, the occasional
eyeglasses, apron, longjohns, brassiere
next to those places we all pass by–

so much for us and the people we know,
even when they lie next to us night by night.
The old self-us they dream, while we’re in flight.