Good, now how do you put it when you have a list of names and everyone on your list is someone you love and someone who has screwed you? There is always the reason and always the dark mud that seeps out when you try and get yourself ready to speak with whomever you try and guest out with...which is really you trying to ghost out. They are the same thing and despite your innate ability to forgive, which comes from having a saint for a mother, you rectify the situation by shouting. And even as you shout you know that moments later you'll be forgiving and apologizing in the same sentence. The same breath, even. And then the girl you are afraid of (because of how she swings your brain into glorious dreams of lust and joy) comes up to talk to you and you avoid saying the thing you want to say because you are, after all, just a primate, bent on keeping the social contract. Mostly. And then you feel like the world is something that was made by others for others, and you are here to try and find a place to fit in but you can't because good people are other people and manipulative people are other people and you are somewhere outside, or in between, or both. And so then you listen for the sound of that one bird, with that resonant metallic vibrato that trills the afternoon blues away. And you hear it and you think of having an erection, and you feel a little inspirational shame and it sets you up for the right kind of moment to slap yourself in the face when the wind kicks up and you have the windows down and the stereo bagpipes piping on the high highway. And the mountain casts its shadow over you. It casts its grey and green shadow to give night the hollow hum it needs to keep you awake and thinking of the pauses in your life where you actually learned something. And all your thoughts reflect outward from the shimmering bubble, like you inside a snow globe. Only in this one you can be the one who shakes it.
I have to pee right now so we have to make this quick. Let’s
try and come around the other side of death. I mean, since there is birth in
this world (which is fucking bananas) then there is also music. The one and
then the other and a whole bunch of other stuff in between. Take these words
and walk up a mountain and find something like the golden last light of the day
you’re in, and try these words: "Hey, night, I know I am a part of you, just
as you’re a part of me, and the air and the stars and all the rest of the shit I
don’t even know about is all out there and in here, awash and spinning. Like the
spirits of everything are haunting everyone, even the sand and the ditches and
the mustard in the fridge. You can’t push this out. Everything made is made
with the care requisite to prop it up in the precarious abandon of the crashing
world. For a time every thing and every being has its own grace, and then
clunks away." Right. I’m done. There’s the poem. You might have missed it. I
have to go pee now.
Use the old tools and dig up the new earth. Then wash your hands and show me. Eat. Be alive. Then your house will quake. Stand on the ground where you saw what you needed. Focus on the lights ahead. Be the runner and the one who wakes up. There are no tricks. We just pretend we know what we're doing and then shout onward. This is the way to the best mess.
The cloud rolled away and I found my head. It was under the bristling conifers, wavering in the breeze. I had a frog and an orchid in my ears. They moved in iridescent green pathways through my oblong conundrum. I gyred and cawed. My eyes drew close to me with tears and a hurrying hound looked back. There was me, shuttled between planets, old and new. My hands and fins made tiny parabolas in the swim.
A million miles under the lamps. A million miles in rain. A mile for every shoe you've never worn. You can see them now, shimmying in the given starlight, becoming soil in endless graves, worn and waiting in the foyers of a billion homes. And the planet wrinkles like a crow's foot, chuckles onward through night. Statues and statues of selves in the tsunami whorl of history. And history is a ruse for thinking that we make time. Of course time makes us, then lets us go. These horses in this field...what bridles and what bonds can hold you, when you see beyond the rim of the world?
Songs and stories of infraction. I need to tender my heart, huge and weevil-addled, unfurling in wind. A demon ache. A love. If there is a love in me, may it swirl forth. I am unproduced. This is the stuff of silliness and myth. Whatever me there is begins with a goof and continues with death. The outline of my body in time. The digital wisp of night in the internet.
It strikes me that I was replacing how much I missed you with how much I wanted her. But she was the stand-in for how much I wanted to rescue myself, like the old sea turtle. I watched her lay eggs in the sand, 85 years old and still trying to save her species, still willing to swim the high seas, through oil slicks and past the ghosts of battleships.
I had your favorite music playing while I twisted her. It was the best. She was in love with me and I was in love with the you in her. And none of us was actually there.
It was the perfect seance. Cherubs crushed their faces against her windows, trying to get out. It's been years and I can only write about it now. Because I am in time, but not of it.
And time recalls me, works me back to those cracking moments with little bruises and short breaths. Eyes were on me and I didn't know how to do spring in autumn. It was okay to be alive, but not okay to want. In this nocturne, I'm counting the faces of my former selves like beads on a rosary.
Your arms were long and I was in the rain. We turned wishes into earthquakes, chuckling away while the world fell.
Then we went where two rivers met. We saw how we held hands the first time and laughed. We saw ourselves in pictures and stepped off the canyon edge into a willing sky. We flew for a while and knew every blue flower. This was all the roughness before civilization. We had to make complete cuts, meaning nothing and nothing again. Up against every word. I'm up against all of them and they form a thirsting army. You had a knife on the rim of your halo. Your scent was gasoline. There is nothing like a corpse. It does not wait and it does not want. It changes every minute and it does not regret. There is nothing like where bees come from. Not springtime, and not God. That was always a thick and foolish foolishness. Then we put our hands in soil and our hands were covered in soil.
Quick breathing in the open break, worlds away from toasty destiny, I'm with you and our past, shivering in alleys and cold hallways. In cold walls and eastern walks we gathered our stolen hearts and shared them up again in brightish light. Then fire bit our hands and we shoved off, our cabin wheeling. Cave spun, hair tangled in smarting roots, we dozed for a while and struck racking seas. The wreck of storms was for us and for distance and in my life I saw you polishing drab stars. My shoulderblades unbuckled and trees bent sidewise in a warming wind. I was all for finding perfect moments in our veering mind.
A cheery band of brigands cradled the thicket of silver in their eyes, retired forethought, afterthought, and simply went where the growing was warm. They took toads with them. Old toads that stammered and halted until their feet could hardly kick. Stunted feet in crisp envelopes. Under a bush a painter sat, wondered aloud in the silence and made do with hooey. The gun stunned the fly and the liar. A hokey shadow named itself King Me, and played at the lacquered instrument until my hands could almost move without. Water poured on things that grew, then went back down. A tired functionary filed the form to end addictive delirium. A banker unfroze the accounts and went warbling through the town for the sake of songbreaking. He skipped in the rain. He rejoined the fish and added the day to the list. And the names, too.
Filing into the hovel, towards tenderness, the ants gathered at the feet of the squat old man. He had long since gone beyond disgust. He would never harm them. They were old and he was old. They were dying and he would sweep them into the jungle when they expired. He would sprinkle them onto good soil so their dead bodies could nourish it. They were confident in their feeling that he would care for them. How strange for the ants to think this way. Of course, they did not exaclty think. Their thoughts were, in fine, formations of the old man.
Long gone from the boil, an old pot gathered in the corner and shouted to everyone: "I am old, a dead vessel, full of ruses and knuckles and the way you look at me is broken." It tumbled forward and extended its arms out into the dust, awkwardly rolling from side to side, with nowhere to go and no one to help it. Everyone was gone from the house years ago, and only the beams of sunlight were there to witness the scene. The old pot, rolling from side to side, the cold blackened fireplace, the sunbeams, and the dust. They made a family and agreed to stay together until that grande dame, night, came calling. Then they would forget themselves again and roll about in wasted solitude. It was an altogether fine reality. The walls leaked cold air all around them and no one had a care in the world.
An Italian-American Spaceman Foresees His Death:
Smashing against ashen walls, alone in space,/
Weirdly wired, mind warping/
Through the void, veering over/
The vapid edge of madness, mumbling aloud,/
"Per aspera ad astra, you young asshole./
It’s a rough road to the stars, Rotando."