Behind the shelf the occupied heart sleeps
in its little jar–you cannot put your hand
on it, so it occurs to you that you
are haunting yourself. Nonetheless, there is
sweetness somewhere, consciousness like some
confection churned from the labor of
what’s left. It’s pain that’s the true little death.
The things you believed were not the things you
believed in, just your basic crenellation
and arrow slits, light shooting in whenever
you are not shooting out. We could not hear
the tree falling, we heard its aftermath,
like some errant tornado backing up
to fill the spaces it left behind or
you there moving at some spooky distance
from yourself and all your darling tendrils.
This big space I had for you, coterminous
alas with the outer wall where the
patrols are napping or whoring or
conspiring with wolves and beavers, who
suffer as we do upon losing a mate.
Wondering the opposite of looking–
how we could set so much of us aside
only to find it waiting in the lapse.
Early on the dog seemed more like home—no animal ever had black spinning things behind a face, that relentless hum in every room of things that weren’t words that everyone’s mind was always shouting, things I never could unhear. Even now in every grinding place without an exit, I play here-there with things I’ve turned to empty objects in my mind. Down every hallway some dark engine rushed toward me or behind me, every house was a cabinet with a mirrored front. Always alone in days or evenings that didn’t begin and didn’t end until the mind just packed off to the side, but by then I’d already seen too much of everything.
After a while, you didn’t have to keep moving all the time, you were already unrecognizable in how you managed it, a border with a life on one side open to any vantage point, on the other side the one that always smelled of paint and turpentine. The one saving discovery: that you could show invisible things with a pencil or brush on paper, paper that you could go into like a house no one could see. Later on, every time I stretched a canvas, I was building a house behind it, a place I could breathe in behind the scrim of everything else.
There was just entirely too much seeing, seeing that would not stop, one Continue reading