Orfeo

mod detail Camille Corot Orpheus

You walk, she follows. You worry that she’s not following you.
Then you worry that she is.

This is the part where you go to get her back, you can’t live without her, you feel somehow guilty she’s gone.

You are looking for a place and a man not exactly a man–a man who’s a place, a place that’s a man. He has her, but what he really cares about is that you don’t have her.

He’s untouched by the supplications of the grieving, rather enjoys it as a matter of fact. He’s casual about it, sends a pale messenger up to pose palms out, nothing to hide, nothing to blame, the thing is done. Ooh, he tells you the one time he returns your call, a whole lotta fetchin’ women in the world for a good-lookin’ guy like you, a musician to boot, count your blessings, do your charm thing.

Nobody’s going to tell you go, don’t go, no one ever tells you anything when your heart is broken and everybody knows that worse is on its way. No one but the oracle, of course, who tells and doesn’t tell, says: find your way up to find your way down. Continue reading

The Guy Doesn’t Remember

the guy doesn’t remember
committing the crime
beaning the old man
taking the car
seeing the device
idly turning it on
being on another planet
wanting to go home

the police don’t remember
catching the guy
one minute cruising
sketchy part of town
the next at the station
in a scuffle with aw-shit-
whathefuck-is-it?!
grab its head!

the old man doesn’t remember
many things
but he remembers
the guy as a boy
mowing yards in the neighborhood
freckles on his face
always looking up and grinning
when anyone passed by

captain centipede can’t remember
what he is–could be the guy
or the old man
a lawnmower a car a house
all he knows is every part of him
is beautiful and there’s
no one else like him
in the universe

Tight Ship

arabic machine ms PDR crop

Notes for My Successor–Welcome Aboard

Avoid grappling with sentient cargo.
If it tries to escape, just back down the
oscillation and see what happens.

For the spin things will inhabit, cold stars
will do if they can follow instructions
and are disarmed. That last part is important.

Unlike the improvised sealant, the
official sealant is unstable
even at modest speeds.

Permission has not been granted to enter
the tunnel. Nonetheless, at night we hear
someone in there making an infernal
racket rearranging the ephemera.

The “questions and suggestions are welcome”
box outside the cafeteria is
management’s early warning system
for insubordination. Don’t ask. Don’t suggest.

The ergot problem has been acknowledged and
will be monitored. Volunteers are needed
to ingest sundry foodstuffs that may or may not
be contaminated. Volunteering
is mandatory.

Blowback trumps everything but weather.

Ignore gossip about the cook and the
entertainment. Even without all their
sockets, they are lovely to observe
operating their frilly appendages
and chasing the good-natured scullions.

In open air, measures quicken and may
skew penumbral estimates. Use the slide rule.

You will not get a raise.
No matter how you engineer it,
the scatter will show which stations
to abandon. Ten seconds.
BTW the timer is broken.

By the time we get there, our love will be
so far away its light will have panned out
into sectors to which we have no access.

Asking for additional orbits will only
make them laugh. Go ahead. Try it.

The key to the plasma storage cabinet
was already missing when I got here.

Regardless of what the gauges indicate,
nothing in the universe loves a lock.

image: detail Arabic Machine MS Public Domain Review http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/arabic-machine-manuscript/

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 feel decoupaged.
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 the beckoning–
but what could they want, and what can they have?
We are prepared to rope things for dinner.

Meanwhile our panther excavates the site
where we buried our bad luck. We don’t know
what can happen next. We know only that
we love all things related to the moon–
lunar modules, lunatics, and most men.

Someday you will sail by our little shore
and from that distance mistake us for beasts
or trees, but this is the city of truth
where we anticipate your arrival
with all our empty hands and hasty feet.

 

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

Patrol

Like that time somebody sort of noticed
you existed—first love, then violation.
More assiduous patrols are needed–
someone to ride who knows how to rope rhyme
and corral caesurae, someone to mount up
and stay out there weeks at a time or
until the fence runs out, utterly runs out.
Squalls, major thunderstorms, hail in addition
to the usual zephyrs and plain ol’ sunshine.
Just a manly someone in full armor,
someone who salutes you when he returns
and knows everything an order entails
though no mention of means or motives
occurs in four hundred years of
relentlessly well-ornamented text.
Someone also to wear gloves, to have a
stable of gloves for all occasions
occasioning choice. Choose, choose, choose.
Just geometry anyhow in the end.

 

 

Encounters

noaa old mag lightning multiple rszd

shiny vibrating
cylinder hovers above
woods, animals freeze

luminescent craft
buzzing fucks up radio
trucker prays in field

women driving home
stunning light, vehicle swarmed
tiny humanoids

teenagers camping
superfast spacecraft arrives
drinking and loud sex

tall frilly spacemen
emerge from haystack-shaped ship
police call it in

Back Down

That tunnel inside
the air we cannot
see is not invisible.
It slides beneath
our measure,
as if it knows we
do not see things
where we think
they cannot be.

To find what
escapes you
must go back
down to places
where you have
long not been.
You must inhabit
places where you
cannot breathe
and shelter there
where lightning
empties out.

Further down,
you must abandon
hopes you cannot
yet conceive,
they are so small
and so precise.
You must let go
your edges then
to sympathize with
bloodless things.
You must go back
down until it gets
too hot to stay
inside your
carbon cage.

The dead don’t
clamor as the
living do to know.
When they estimate
the universe,
matter doesn’t
really matter,
even though
our love,
perhaps,
holds them
to it far
too long.

Second Life (Which Is Just to Say)

harbor 2 mar 2014

You could see where it was shifting
if you looked down, they didn’t want
to look down they said
they said here now
jumping around to demonstrate
to stop all saying.
Shortly after one could have said but didn’t
told you so
such cold satisfaction when all that
dangling and lurching
was going on
and so much more digging and sorting
was left to be done.
Besides
we had reached the summit
of forgetfulness.
We moved all together
crabwise
in a ragged line since
all landscape was precipice
and slide.
We’d lost all words
for subtle or minute variation
that is to say
there was only undulation
and time and
even less to say only
commenting and captioning and
yes
we got there rather fast.
Marmoset cubicle errata.
In addition,
combustion and speculation.
But it didn’t matter
that you recognized
no one–
soon everyone looked like a friend,
comraderie,
good-natured disagreement,
subsequent falling in love.
What a relief
the dismantling of former lives
the only disarray the
increasingly distant past.
Which is just to say
we went toward
whatever drew us and
anywhere we were
was home.

 

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/