Thursday, July 16, 2009

"As surely as the world did, / mountain after mountain"

It's goats, you see, or may be.

Is there something that

floats atop rocks, straddles

down on the breeze? There's no

need to pretend I can't see:

them, you, this

hillbilly robe I've

grown accustomed to, like a

tree's leeward mold, the

fray and all day of these slippers, my hair, I'll

point this bony finger at you: undo the

green medicine walls, mosquito squeak of wheelchair and

despair in ammoniac halls. A mountain

range of memory I can no longer climb. It's my

ankles, you see, the life-

span of a shower, sit and drift like snowfall. I

take a deep breath of almost not quite air,

so high the sky black as can be, up there; so tall.

(Edited 21 June 2009, begun 31 May 2009. After D. Nurske, "A Marriage in the Dolomites". A friend prefers character development; she can do it, plus plot. My own writing has started with phrases -- sometimes others', as here, sometimes mine -- and pursues implicit rhythms and that feeling that an image may tell a story better than the story tells itself.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Unreal until the only woman wakes"

She wakes and takes
no look around: only knows, and

yells at the fellow by the side of the road,
tongue lolled and slapdash, the days'

heat risen porous and spongiform, devil's food
cake for a sky cackle-mooded and bright as

unfunny tin, this mood that she's in -- like the
hammered white tile of the hotel's ceilings --, this

feeling drips out, just a drop in the hurricane
bucket of "How does it go?" With a quake, that

most mountainous thing, and I've
gone and calculated its end in bare feet.

Oh, I've pebbled them smooth. Now I
live thatch-roofed at the foot of the pile, sooty

blond and chimney streamers black smoke for a while.

(Can't I undo a Solomon yell, be unwise,

slice the blade -- wide open -- and smile all
fourteen hundred missing teeth? Like the

blocks of old ramparts, these
muscles used to make the heart ache.) All of this is

unreal until the only woman wakes: the feelings
she and I used up in

shell games and rubber sticky cement. What I meant was
"Yes, I guess I should have known better how

goes any gangle of slender webbed feet, the
scale beds and horny protrusions." I know that

all of this is an illusion, uni-
corns and mermaids can't meet, can't settle

down, she already knows, and so she
wakes and takes no look around.

(Edited 12 July 2009, transcribed 5 July 2009, begun 1 June 2009. After Donald Revell, "Unreal precision of the houses". Trying to balance wanting to say something -- to speak at all about a particular thing -- and wanting to say it well: is there a sort of 'poetry of sufficiency', where language draws just enough attention to itself?)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Great angels / fly at our behest / between towers"

marking the hours,

fall and rise, the

time and light along

feathers -- the edges as

finely ended as grass, or

needles in magnetic thickets,

minds like cables of

total internal reflection stretched

taut along the floor of

ocean abump with flattest fish, grey and

stippled after-image of

lowest exposure, en-

trenched and geologic camera obscura, and

worms small enough for

three dozen, unseeing, plus an

angel on the head of a pin:

close cousins to those

drafty timekeepers, all

daft from lack of will, from

bliss (one leaper, they

say that he fell, and is

falling, frozen, still), they

float in noble profile -- well of

blue sky behind -- for our

good: their eyes of

impossible fire, their

gaze of all years, months, hours, and

days. They're so ticked off. At

midnights, the bells, and

our role becomes clear: they

mark, but we are the

passage of time:

they mark since we're here and have

chosen knowing good, and so

hold in each hand, however

evil, a split second chance.

(Edited 21 June 2009, begun 31 May 2009. After Rae Armantrout, "Eyes" (after John Milton). A mix of ancient and modern imagery, with an attempt at iconic structure in number of stanzas, not counting the title. I'm interested in form and content, in the mechanics of representation and reception, and wonder how ideas match an image, or images capture an idea, and whether words in linear order can speak compellingly of experiences whose timefulness is felt differently.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Things you haven't thought of in years"

Hope for mutation in the copying chain, hope

recession plays out its polydactylous hand,

variations like grains of sand, raisins of sand or

trains or brains or mainframes or manned

spaceflight probes, engine block and

ceramic black tile for home, the heavy

planet's embrace always

hot to the touch --

she loves you so much (and

you love her so much) --, and

as you fall for her, to her, at and into her:

skip of the feather-tipped whisp of

white tendril atmosphere, hot rock of

ship, lake and steelyard surface of earth: where a

group of oxygen triplets used to be, now

gone of all flesh, ashes to ashes, rust and

just another bald spot, scald from within, as if

follicles fell to tin men with their skintone

hatchets and spill so much maple syrup blood from the

trees: mottle waffle-pattern stretch and snap taut to the

skin, drumbeat from within as if jungle of

brains, folds of Amazon neurons, pirahnic river

bends of thought and great

cleft of calloscum: lost

deep are the things you haven't thought of in years for

fear of discovery, disconcert of honesty, or reprisal, no reprieve but for

leave from daily life in the sun, after-

burn melanomic before it's begun.

(Edited 05 July 2009, begun 01 June 2009. A couple sort-of sonnets, or twenty-eight lines broken up as if two sonnets, riffing on cycles like Spenser's, Sidney's, and -- above all, behind them all -- Petrarch's.)