Oh the things

sky lull crp grn mod 2 cmpr resz

Oh the things we wished for
that we wouldn’t say,
the dog-eared threadbare quandaries
of our loves, our soft dreams
and high heels and
how we never told
for lack of wanton gesture
our fare was higher than the rest,
ahead of schedule, too, alas,
before our various beauties fled
and all the little birds to ground.

One Thing

eisberg uwash - grain mod 1

you thought you were rolling on when it was
rolling over you look around now guess
what you don’t get to be a magician
it’s just too late for lots of things though it’s
probably lucky you didn’t get to
queen it around that car packed for transport
for the rest it’s just that vociferous
complaining out in the hall just part of
the gown and tubes and no one coming when
consciousness happens–the one thing you know

Escape

the disappearance explained mod 1

When death stopped by the room was ready–
the dark with its luminescent sonar,
the tedium of equipment, its scrawl and bell,
forced breathing like a turn signal still on
when you forgot to turn, sounding like tires
on patchy road, or like an ocean outside
a closed door, the sound of saying taken
from you, the sound you swam beneath already
far away from us, leaving, gone.
Just the week before you joked about more
elegant transmutations, that breathy
speech saying you wished to be encrypted
for retrieval at some better future date or
aged in a barrel and sipped neat cold nights or
milled to feed the trees that shade the porch.
We hope you’ve forgiven us for not acting
on such worthy desires—finding you now
each day in places you didn’t even know,
we’ve happily concluded that you
maneuvered past the end there on your own.

image: The Disappearance Explained: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/04/17/illustrations-from-a-victorian-book-on-magic-1897/

Hammer Nail Nail

What kind of house takes so much
relentless hammering, long months of
straggling whacks and taps, titanic
wrenching and that endless jet engine?
Yet lounging at the site for lunch
those guys could be philosophers
tossing empty cans in the street and
contemplating, one of them finally saying
look, if the world is all that is the case,
let’s nail this fucker down.

Where do you live where

where do you live where you look
your desert from a satellite or
what heat hides inside itself
how easy malice circumnavigates
all additions to the convex you
and your nimble earthquake lights
independent of your gravity
a great wind blew & they dispersed
the squandered armada like that
other one we await the return on
mile-high rockets or lost shoes
frankly we’re so tired we’re ramified
meandering tourists after lift-off
miscellaneous numinous weapons
they break into your heart your
dark room and poisonous ring
the mystery to parse and pace

Discover

spinga History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents (1658) cmpr 1

In the beginning there was a
small door,
but escape was
less attractive then
than forests full of
undiscovered species
like yourself, you thought.
So many things
you did not think,
things you did not hear–
monkeys for example
not so unlike you
screamed alarm
from tree to tree–
you thought such dangers
did not apply to you,
lounging on beaches
where the sea
drags pebbles out and in
and out, your mind
entangled with
the flow of things.
Back at your campsite
a god disguised
as some random someone
passing through
prepared a dish you tasted
only once
and now forever
long to taste again.
Why were you so busy dodging luck?
It took such work
to find the wrong places
and love the wrong men,
the ones you crowded,
the ones who crowded you,
the one you found
to leave you
to your solitude,
the one you found to leave.
Free of all encumbrance,
now you know
nothing burdens
like the want of love.

________________________
image: The History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents (1658)http://publicdomainreview.org

Lancelot

lancelot british library royal ms 14 e iii r133v strtch

A pilgrim, a penitent. A forest.
Ruffians, blades, cudgels. Then
a kind family passing through.
Their tired horses and tents. He bathes
in a freezing lake. The lass behind
a veil of snow, watching. The next day,
a wrecked village. Bodies. Smoke
still hanging heavy in the damp air.
The head magician wears armor.
The wife wears a cap. The dreamer
wears someone else’s clothes.
The captives become chattel as the
wagons plow along. There are crows.
Lots of them. Then more blood and more
murder and more ubiquitous mist.
They’ve taken the girl, of course, and
all the food. But a quest is just the thing
to quell misgivings. Our hero rides hard
toward his death. Briefly deterred by
monstrous reanimations and lots of
growling. Volcanoes on the horizon.
Lost companions found. More beer,
more weapons. Thunder. A bridge unrolling
over a gray river. Arriving never
happens.  Later on a house built
where bones and broken cups crop up
whenever it rains–things left over from
this one life we get as the us we are.
How hard to believe oneself loved,
every dark place subdued by light.

Something to Love

The sadness of the family goes away when
you give up on your parents’ happiness.
Not far at first, it just moves in with
a family down the street–you see it
on their doorstep waiting for the dad
to get home. Kids at school think it’s your
cousin, looks kinda like you, you say
so what. Later it seems gone for good,
but then one day you’re riding in that
swaying endless station wagon, counting
phone poles and potholes and there it is:
looking all lonely, kicking weeds
in an empty lot. “Look, look!” your
mother hollers backing up and
looking back, and you see it
big as sunshine on her face:
she misses it, she misses that sadness,
she wishes it would come home.
Now you know that if it did,
she’d have something she could love.

pontiac ad pontiacsonline bw flp fin

Dubbed

??????????????????????

We are desperate for suspects.

A girl is not in her room, her father’s alarmed,
unless he’s just worried he’ll be late somewhere.
He’s on the phone in his bedroom now,
saying something frantic or grim–it’s dubbed,
so when he moves his mouth, it sounds like
someone’s in the next room mocking him.
He’s ignoring the naked woman who is dressing
one slow stocking at a time, surely not the mother.
I turn the sound way down.

A young woman’s pale body, floating in a canal.
Intercut with shots of cabbages in boxes.

The mother has arrived, they don’t embrace,
she almost faints, they are distraught. A priest
appears suddenly, as if he’s been shadowing
them, then a stern but distracted police chief and
two detectives who look like juvenile delinquents.
They eyeball the mother’s derriere as she leaves
weeping.

We’re in Venice. It’s 1965.

We are riding in the black boat in the past
or in the future, leaving perhaps or perhaps
returning, going to or from a dock that isn’t
a dock in fog that isn’t fog. If we could
call you back to us, we might hear what you
hear, we might understand what you are
saying just by looking at your eyes.

A neglected garden. A ping-pong game.
A madman. Not looking mad at all, but rather
avuncular, carefully tying someone to a chair,
saying things that must be mad, but mildly,
polite interest on his face, as if he’s asking
where the melon came from this time of year.

These people the police are interrogating–
they are afraid of something, looking at their
faces is like watching rain down a rain chain.
If they knew anything, they would be telling.
If they knew each other, they would be
keeping secrets, there would be betrayal,
there would be a morgue.

Someone we’ve never seen before and will
not see again says “go away, leave me be.”
In English. I read his lips. He’s looking at a
water fountain in a plaza, speaking to no one.
I turn around to see if someone’s there.

The father and the mother, faces mirroring
each other, accidental touches, glances, we
know where this is headed–know the daughter
had to disappear to make this reunion possible.
If they had been together when it happened,
it would have driven them apart. Forever.

An enormous birdcage full of canaries in an
airy modern birdcage of a house, the furniture
a mélange of spartan things no one will ever
love. A vast floor. Not a door in sight.

A hand in a stiff black rubber glove rips out
a phone, opens a door, turns on a fussy
bathtub tap, turns into feet leaving the scene.
As if censored in a dream, what happened here
will never be revealed, but that water will keep
running at the back of the movie’s mind,
even after it’s over, flooding everything.

Miscellaneous shots in miscellaneous weather
of places where no one is going. Things damp,
in disarray, narrow walkways that look imported
from some industrial city where everyone has
died or is dying from some insidious gas or
the nefarious doings of angry vegetation.

A shop window. Monstrous gewgaws.

Suddenly a face on its way to a door. This man
has the absent look of a man whose mind is
always on his stash of porn–why are we not
surprised but still uneasy. He invites the parents
in as if he wants them to go away already.
The father is now shouting. Unperturbed, the
man is serving cocktails. He’s not hiding what
they think he’s hiding, he’s not hiding the girl.
Maybe they are hiding something. Maybe they
are not even talking about the girl.

By the way where is she? Even we have
forgotten her, having seen her only once
early on in a photograph that could belong to
anyone, even the gloved hand or the excessively
jovial man who waves to the parents as they pass by
on their way to somewhere else. He later appears
in a chicken costume, grinning, snapping a whip.
She was wearing her confirmation dress.

A church. A static shot that lasts so long
it starts to mean things.

Cage door open. Birds flying out. Extreme
close-up of an envelope. Maybe that’s a name
on it, or maybe a note, “key inside,” who knows.

Here’s the secretary, no longer the woman in
the bedroom getting dressed. It’s late, she’s
touching up her lipstick at her desk. A man’s
looming shadow, she looks up, then he’s
up next to her with whatever that is in his
hand, the requisite sacrifice of the not-wife
who has no information or has too much.

Someone has hit you, poor thing, you are
washing your face at the fountain. When you
look up, it’s so close it’s hard to tell if it’s
a ship or a house or a flock of goats.

A café as featureless as a hospital corridor.
No one has ever been here but this one person
sitting outside and the one other person now
sauntering out with a smirk and a cup of coffee.
We are desperate for suspects, it’s the only way
we will ever maybe know the nature of the crime.

My sister passes through eating ice cream
out of the carton, wags her spoon at the TV,
I saw that, isn’t it the one with the giant frog
that traps people at a party in a labyrinth and
eats them or something?

The young guy looks like an earlier less young
guy wearing the same glasses. By now it’s possible
they are the same guy, but this one is wearing a
white suit and has the look on his face of someone
amusing himself with his own mind. Or someone
who has gotten away with something and is
pleased with himself. Maybe he’s our guy.

I am thinking where have you gone. I am
thinking how can I live without you.

An empty plaza, a sudden wind, trash tumbling
about, a page of newsprint flashing by that
we apparently are not going to see. The city is
shrinking to a few redundant blocks.

Joyous children running through the streets,
knocking down an old man with a cane. Nearby
people, not helping. Tsk-tsk on their amused
faces, oh to be young again, heedless of
the suffering of others, and the suffering we
cause, and all the other suffering to come.

A crazed woman in a veil.
Take us with you wherever you are
taking your crazy self. These other people–
these other people are scaring us.

A man napping, or dead, on a chaise on a
rooftop. Not much in the way of entertainment
now the birds are gone.

Another naked girl body in the canal, or
maybe the same body from an hour ago, now
being winched up by her feet. Somebody’s child.
Somebody’s jilted girlfriend.

A crowd. Thin coats, everyone in hats,
looking like people waiting for a shop to
open, anticipating perhaps a closer view
of the corpse. Or maybe the corpse will now
speak in the language of the forlorn dead,
words no one would dare dub.

____________________________
altered image; original image: Xanthorhoe montanata, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Xanthorhoe_montanata.jpg.

Scrap

This ancient scrap
just tinder for life’s roar
inside your head the freeway
guns patrol, no need to scour
the world for portents.
So much you find protects
indifferently, your own undoing
everything you loved.
Who would have thought
what’s left could have such drive,
to pace the house and disregard
each frantic missive,
the tyranny of what goes on
when you’re not there.
So caught off guard,
so intercepted
by this flagging imposter,
this figment, this
scrap.

Pony

horse on wheels ancient_greek_child's_Toy mod 2 bw

Flung out of orbit
at last we thought we’d live
like supernumeraries
as we pleased.

The gods that left us here
liked mirrored worlds and ice,
not the human world of
fires and tents and trees.

All that loud singing.

The galaxy they
wheeled away on
had vapor in it and
a voice that left behind
the muffled slap
our weary leather makes
as we go round the around,
the rag a little bully with a
whip made of our life when
no one was looking
the care-to-see.

But we do still love
the sound of water
waving in a metal pan,
our day’s allotment,
and the memory
of the sun we had.

Unmown grass.

Boundless sand.

______________________________
altered image; original image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Little_horse_on_wheels_%28Ancient_greek_child%27s_Toy%29.jpg