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/

Levee

noaa ms fld 1927 levee breach comprsd flpd

between you and
things you don’t want
to know
a monument
places you won’t go
losses
you don’t hope
to recover, people
you love who can
never return, people
who won’t love you or
you can’t love them
unless until
what’s broken
reconvenes
it won’t
nonetheless
you tend
the possibilities
with miraculous feats
and vanquishings
and other such
imagined scrims
it’s the same
no matter how you
line it up
best not move
as if anyway
you could oh
errant satellite
from up here
down there looks
static as if
that silver river
never moves it’s
still a planet of
postponed
collisions
not forgetting
harder than
remembering till
cuts and pinches
rocks and words
recall self to self
when you’re so
occupied there’s
only being
there’s still
a little place
to store yourself
like other creatures
artifacts of living
you can wait it out

_________________________
image: Mississippi River Flood 1927, NOAA, National Weather Service Collection:http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/wea00733.htm

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.

Untied

Reluctant happiness is
not to bear, is not
to pen
that spirit scrimmage.
Wind from nowhere,
open the door.
The cut that tears,
the trap of momentary
fickle good.
The universe so in
the head’s voice-over:
polyphonic
despite its fix,
unhinged
despite attachment.