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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

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/

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.

Beside Inside

Always there is that one beside you
no matter the gray evening with its
piercing stars or the silent road, an
invitation to abide or go,
it is what’s made for you that’s not you,
the thing past you in looking glasses,
unseen quests and all unspoken poems,
parent of the street’s cacophony
the mess of executed thought, one
with your inside face, mysterious
to you still as collapsing stars or
water bears or even the water
that washes you or fills your cup, as
promising as all forgotten things.

Lull

sky lull crp 1 grn mod cmpr

How unhappy they were, all those men,
waiting for a stiff wind, maybe later
some marauding, meanwhile not bothering
to stay on the big guy’s good side,
having killed enough not to care too much
about dying.

Boats creeping along, no one resisting
hopes to simply wash ashore, their minds
drifting further out, each wondering
what he did to displease the gods—then
wondering who the someone else was who
displeased the gods.

Then there is of course the king,
carrying always about himself
the prison of their previous gratitude,
the punishment of brooding looks,
such danger in looking a bit too much
like a mere man.

It was in no one’s nature to be good
becalmed–old passions inspired fresh
affliction. Then they prayed to any god
who loved the things they knew: sand and stunted
shoreline trees, and war. All the rest is
speculation.

A day longer than a day

A day longer than a day–

water under a piling,

plying sand and silt away

till everything is water

and sky–heat lightning,

ponderous clouds.

How off the track the wheel

of other lines, the little you

the big one orbits round,

the last lost creature

In the spirit jail.

 

 

Grrrrr

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In your muggy prehistoric, we roam,
we rage and root up monstrous vegetation.
We converge at roiling waterholes
or in warm seas you call raging. Consider
our volcanoes, our smog, our canopies
and canapés, our lack of ice and
entertainment. Taxis. Cosmetics.
We are always open-mouthed, fussing,
grumpy preludes to grappling and ripping
or just showing off our dentition.
Our flanks commandeer broad air while you
are safely far from underfoot, small,
chittering in rank leaves or underground,
hiding out from your first apocalypse.

 

 

image: http://lhldigital.lindahall.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/human/id/297/rec/12

 

Only Creature

the loneliest creature
a mate without a mate,
no place to land or launch,
floating, rolling, sailing
from wind to solar wind,
not looking, but listing
toward stormy surfaces,
hanging between pull and
pull away, not sad,
just wandering, a universe
deep dark, that shining thing
far off, all that distance
like loss before you know
it’s loss, like love before
you know it’s love.

How the water

How the water was the water
And the sky the sky.
How not itself was anything,
How truth be told was lie.
When the weather was the weather
Mild, torrential, chilly, high–
Fog like aspic, rain like needles,
Storms your hazel eyes.
How the marvel was the marvel
That we loved from side to side,
That we carried when we carried
Soft or sharp or still or wry.
How we suffered when we suffered
The cramped room of rhyme.
How we metamorphosed then
And thought we outran time.
How the secret was the secret
Of the plow and lullaby–
How you loved me and I loved you,
How we thought we’d never die.