Our late discovered

Our late discovered lake and crypt
With its sergeant bougainvillea and
Prim interior, such stays against
The dangerous preoccupations
Of youth, how then mortality seems
Near in a romantic way but
Soon rides us with its stinging crop
Stitches the tides of our breathing
Nets us with its familiar stare.

Last Mission

Of our last mission we recall
No details–where we were, what we did,
Our goal obscure, our resolve dissolved,
And all horizon disappeared.
Whatever we of late slogged through, we
Have arrived to find the republic
On the cusp of ruin, the emperor
Spewing lies and nonsense, his coiffure
Askew in the great wind of his
Ignorance, urged on by advisors
Eager to corrupt the state and to
Impair the common good for gain.

 

 

 

 

we alight

we alight
a branch, a pencil
someone’s hand
imagined home

our submarine, our coast
our delight, our new skin
our body bag

our moon, our outer space
our buddy the robot
roved out of orbit
equipment
left behind
is reprimand

the power hand
a lie, a command
a storied put-together
duct tape, spite
spit, static

our mystery scene
our screen seen
our camera that
shaky trope
disappeared
our all again

Tree, woods, cave, wheel

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.

 

 

 

In the far away

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–
for me? All I am is sound.

 

 

 

Part of the Part

This is the part, alas, in which we meet
our posey rosy end, remembered things
that never were, things undone despite their
doing, broken things that just fell apart,

shiny things that really were quite shady,
thoughts we’d not wanted orbiting our heads
like Saturn’s spinning detritus. Our parts
require our meaning all the stupid things

we’re meant to say, the sorrow sunk beneath
the earnest face, the broken voice we smooth
through all the words that make our world unmade.

This is the part where no one

This is the part where no one stands up or
someone does but can’t think of what to say,
tongueless bell—see, like that: all the words
already used up. We leave, who knows where
we go or where we’ve been when we return.

Who will stand up for us? No one at those
impromptu concerts of the past where the
things we thought we knew approximate just
about anything else–stars, lace, something
that flew out of someone’s breezy red car.

That’s what you get for listing off to the
side, it taking forever to get out
of bed or creep down the block . Nonetheless,
If you were here for an eternity,
you could wear this old slow rock away.

This is the part, isn’t it, where you call
your own bluff and don’t confess to the
particular things you had in mind, the
part where you discover someone’s
silence wasn’t the reserve of deep thought.

The god who strolls in this garden we tend,
has some bad news about the weather plus
a few things we’d forgot we’d done or not.
No use in that was then—it runs down
into the earth for ages, this stacked ruin.

What did anyone feel in any new
place with all the dead underfoot, living
much as we do except for their patience
and obdurate good cheer, except that we
love them as we do not love each other.

Even in this late limning of our hearts,
the abandonment procedures require
amnesia about the part where we were
staking listless roadside trash and our
future—already aflame—barreled past.

 

 

 

This is the part where you think you don’t

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This is the part where, you think, you don’t know anything, for surely if you knew something, you would feel compelled to say something, unlike, you think, the other part when you knew something and didn’t say anything—that past part, the long part, the part eating up your life, the part you tell yourself you’re not in now. Tell and tell.

This is the part where you try to act like life is the same but you can’t because it’s not.

Always behind any surface that you show, it’s like you’re some cartoon character who—running away from some danger—has sawed a hole in the floor only to fall through it a long, long time and end up on the opposite side of the world. But no matter where you are, run away and it will keep you running. You think. You think that, but you don’t believe it.

Then one day you know this part you seem to have fallen into is really going nowhere—it’s static, it’s like waiting but not waiting for anything in particular, or maybe forgetting what you’re waiting for—but it’s just the waiting part, a part without the usual parts of waiting like being patient or impatient, like checking and checking the time, like daydreaming at a stop light or idly flipping through a magazine in some waiting room. It’s not that kind of waiting.

It’s waiting that’s a kind of absolute stillness in which you’ve stopped trying to know anything because there are so many things you know that you wish you didn’t. The phone bills, the messages—endearments, pleas—not meant for you but written nonetheless in searing letters in the front of your mind.

Maybe you were waiting to know but when you knew, the waiting didn’t stop. Maybe you gave up on knowing—so much transportation, so many ways to get to the wrong place. All those other things you didn’t think about then or didn’t do—doors you opened when you should have been locking them, things you looked into when you really should have run away. Now there’s no not knowing.

And now you know what part this is. This is the part where you keep in deep silence the other’s secret, the secret that is also the secret of how you’ve been wounded, the burden of it, this part where all that’s left of you is where the secret is, the part where the other’s secret is all you have left of him.

 

 

 

 

The part where hearts get broken

This is the part where hearts get broken
though not all at the same time
or in the same way–there’s still time.
The terror team might come to town
with some slight expanding in their
minds till all that’s left is undoing.
Or perhaps a movie crew, inspiring
awe and hospitality just because
they have the charm of somewhere else.
But I digress. After all, it takes
only one of two to think the other
feels the same–something uneven up
ahead, but any flutter in the
universe will do for explanation.
That won’t last. This is the part in which
all other parts are forgotten, more or
less, in favor of the chemistry of
hope, the feeling someone’s always with you
when they’re not, the embellished fetish
of absence. In that imaginary land
in which time together is too short and
time apart is endless, time collapses–
you jerk awake at an alarming
border, on a bus in someone else’s
screwy dream, those guards, if they don’t
like the looks of you, they’ll shoot.

 

 

Eddie Says

The first time I was nine years old, I guess,
and Rosie was just six. While our parents
slept it off again, we sat in the kitchen
where one of them had dumped a drawer
onto the table’s sticky oil cloth:
rusty jar lids, frayed lottery stubs,
several snag-toothed combs, rubber bands,
a pair of scissors, a key, a sheaf
of gnawed pencils, grimy Christmas ribbons,
old postcards, lighters, moldy spools of thread.
Whatever it meant was more than I could bear.
Funny, I forgot this till  you asked.

Rosie’s little hands paced the tabletop,
like cautious sentinels guarding the
incoherent landscape of our lives.
I thought of the untarnished moon.
I wanted to get her out of there.
I wanted her to get me out.
Something big and dark filled me up
until I disappeared.  Then
the astonished “O” of Rosie’s mouth,
her mirrored rage, dragged me back to earth.
I had cut off a lock of her hair, it seems.
We could not cry out.

I was not thinking of this later, many
years after we were separated, after
I was finally living alone when
I knew what I had to do to feel better
and bought the shears.  I thought I was
invisible, but I wouldn’t be here,
would I, if I really was.  I tell you, Continue reading