You see, there is a pond and a telephone pole
“You see” is the vernacular
It is the language of the immigrant just off the boat
So polite, softening the blow
Or the one explaining to the one stepping off the boat
The condescending or begging side of it
That is our patriotism
A pond and a telephone pole at a polite distance
Maybe it is a large pond
Generally, I don’t really know what the size of anything is in life
I’m not Home Depot
The late evening light above these two things is not fair
The evening clouds above this duo are in riot beauty gear
Orange fluorescence of clouds, like looking up into the piled guts
Of some weird divinity
You don’t want to put a face to it
Let it stay guts
Those people can admittedly be annoying
The ones who need a face attached to it
Admittedly, it exists!
Am I already on the other side?
As the clouds move, as they “off themselves” in the vernacular
It is a feeling like soap
I am bathing old limbs of my mind
In this new soap
It is a feeling like a thought
For the telephone pole (that could have been there a century)
And the pond of indeterminate scale or size
Think the colors like a painting where you don’t know where anything begins or ends
Some sorta Whoville maybe
The clouds are set design, they are being changed
No other structure anywhere near these things
(I don’t count me)
Just myself and a spinning armor of a compass
Just myself and a spinning arrow of a compass
Do you why Freudian analysis was in the humanities, really,
And not in science, and you are really too young to remember Freud,
The targets he put on heads
Freudianism, it’s a feeling maybe a sap
It is shooting a b.b. gun, for sure
I have come to watch it freeze I mean a lake pond
You see, I have enlarged its idea already in my mind
Like a pawnbroker, like a realist
There is this grocery list
I have plagiarized reality
I have come to stare at this pond and its (I think its) pole
I have come to watch it freeze to death
That disincarnate side, it is talking most
Though you are a stranger, I know
There are rules to you, to baseball, to everything
In your incertitude of being, its warmth, it is freezing
In your uncertitude of being, its warmth, it is freezing
I prefer it wrong
The surface of the pond is an old television
And an old dead t.v. moves in wind out there somewhere across the ice
I hadn’t realized it had already frozen
No longer an old broken television set hockey puck howling winds
Like a television show
I hadn’t realized it had froze
Fast to earth as babe to tit
That quick or how long was I standing here?
Somebody tried to throw it through the surface
To crack the pond’s face mightily, to operatically break it
But all they did was craze its face with details
Hypnotic thousandfold details
Scratched black vinyl in the middle of the night
When the moon is shy
The way we will be reliving our lives as musical variations with age
It is no use trying to be like today today
Standing around on a street corner doing nothing you’d do better
The surface crunches underfoot crazies talks to itself
When I walk out on the ice to pet the t.v.
It has a face pointed to the west
It is getting dark
It has a kind face
A youthful face though it is lying
Will anyone ever fish it out
After it falls through?
It’s like theory
It is like meeting you today or it was meeting you today
Which was, I think, spitting watermelon seeds erotically
Into each other’s mouths like a performance in a basement
We were in folding chairs
You will wish to recall
I’m sorry, this is not a poem; this is an arson
All aboard, I hope
Unless you have been displaced too as this pond, this telephone pole
Unless you are safely cold
Like the pole and lake or pond whatever it is
At least they have each other
I mean god, could you imagine it if it was just either one out there?
There is no way to talk about it without sounding like witches. Their toys are still found in the forest. Sometimes, you come upon a stuffed animal sitting under a tree, moss growing nearby but the plush pet unmolested by this green fur. The animal will look so fresh, seemingly set down only a moment before, untouched by the weather, the long time they have been there in the woods. You might believe the child’s hand had just let go, it looks that warm. If things can look warm. You might believe that the child hides behind the trunk of the tree against which the furry pink elephant rests his back. For perhaps obvious reasons of mojo, of superstition, with an eye to good cess, the country folk talk about the children in a thinly-veiled code. For example, they drop off the first letters of their names. Bess becomes “Ess” and Tara becomes “Ara.” Sometimes, they merely use the children’s initials. Everyone remembers how the daughter buried the cat in the box. How the younger boy discovered this, returned with the cat in the box, put it on the dining room table in the house, an offering to his parents. She wept, was confessed. The cat became a religious symbol in their household. Feline martyr. The white cat glowed. Her siblings drew and painted it. Had it been the medieval period, there would have been a stained glass window in which the cat figured prominently, heroically. She forgave the little brother who condemned her. Who outed the witch in her. And then she took him for a walk deep into the woods one day and he was never seen or held again. She wept. She “lost” him. He was never found. She was very clever. She could roll her spirit shut the way a pill bug rolls its body shut, the way it becomes a little armored pill. The young father (so young he looked more like her brother) saw when she went for the next boy; it was a close call with a snowstorm, a wicked game. A grandfather’s boat was involved. And then the father took her for a walk deep in the woods and “lost” her. He said it wasn’t as easy as all that. He came back with strange marks on him. Later, he woke up with a tattoo on his body that he had never seen applied. Then the rest of the family disappeared and their house remains empty to this day. The forest remains empty. The trees are still hung, here and there, with little photographs in frames. That is her work. There is always a cool breeze, even in the warmer months. Even in the swamping heat of July. The forest keeps this cool space and its blue shadows. People blame it on a cave, but there is no cave exhaling this cool air. Children who come through know not to touch the little icons of the photographs. Not to touch the trees even. But you can see her entire family in the photographs. And other long-dead people who are mysteries. Which ones are hers? Who knows. The animals sit under the trees. Old stuffed animals with strange eyes of sorts you don’t see anymore on the animal dolls we give our children. Icon eyes. Terror and amusement at once in those old plastic eyes. Strange ecstasy. Maybe it’s the way the eyes are when one sees a human circus. One knows the horror. A dark part of one might be titillated. She is close. She is listening to us. It cannot be otherwise, for that is what the story tells us. The trees feel compassionate and invite us in. There may be a child’s tea party, the tea laid and waiting for us. Plastic tea set aping porcelain. Teacups steaming. Miniature table. Tiny chairs where tiny witches sit. But they are not what we imagine. We know better. One child walking barefoot encountered a lobster in the middle of the woods. It was crawling along the forest floor, though the ocean is more than an hour’s drive away . Sometimes a cloud will descend on a clear blue day and fill the space between the trees. And some days there are elephants. They seem lost. They cry as they wander through the fog and a girl’s laugh curdles your listening. Some unwise children leave her notes. These she reads. And sometimes she responds. Sometimes she comes to “help.”
Even the hummingbird
a tiny green thrum
made the world
the Aztecs knew
and you do
it is the pulse
almost too quick to be felt
if you throw a stone at it
you will miss
its jewel-point workings
these flowers tumble
before the invisible
if we had hands like this
we would know
That is a god to the senses
Can be forgiven.
If love: Even in ancient China, we learn from a text written in the 3rd century by Lie Zi, there was an automaton crafted by Yan Shi, a mechanical engineer, who supplicated to King Mu of Zhou (1023-957), a life-size human figure that walked, that winked its eye at court ladies, and that was made only of leather, wood, glue and lacquer: white, black, red and blue lacquer. All the internal organs were present as a sort of visual gift. A condescension. If the King removed its heart, this poor creature could not speak. So much poetry had gone into the crafting of a monster. Nobody knows or knew whence its muscles, its bones and limbs with joints, skin, its teeth and hair the King loved to finger. Perhaps it is best never ask. There is a darkness to such editing. The King continued to explore his new beloved. If he removed the liver, its eyes went blank. If he stole its kidneys, the legs could no longer cross the ballroom. The King was delighted.
To what to be close? To white tiny
hairs on the ears of night?
To hold such office
at the darkest window
of the tallest office blight?
To syncope, sliding like a cloth
off the shoulder of a planet?
To round of circle, to blue
of sty? To oryx, to Arabella,
prefix, suffix of thought
and feeling, evolution’s
delicate cosmic thing
of a robin’s egg
cupped in child palm?
To the rigging
in which it all lives,
to the marble faun
at whose feet a crush
of styrofoam cup?
To his archaic street,
satyr’s sense of smile,
an author of white stone.
To slickness of soap,
to barren coin
of monster emperor,
to homeyness, homelessness,
none the better
for any difference
is how shelter
managed to conceive
itself? To what
to hearken, to hold,
to burrow, to invade,
to throw to appetite,
to mourn, to forget,
to be, without knowing
one is? To telescope
shut in the end,
to hold the infinitive
as the apple
from the tree’s
core, a score,
We are dangled over our family histories. Like Pin the Tail on the.
corrupt sausage-grinders. knuckle bashers. donkey punchers.
We’re sooted in school chairs. Going up to the chalkboard.
To perform a striptease. This is our progressive school. We will model.
The economy. Nobody has the great tenderness of the boiler room.
Nobody in the whole high school. Only the janitor who is Hephaestus.
Lame down below. Waits for the rumbling explosion. And its golden net.
It will capture the whole school. In a new mythology. And when it explodes.
Like the Hindenburg. Like the Bismarck. Some primordial animal will say
and sway in the grasses behind the school. Also beautifully on fire
like Chinese paper flowers
God, this is so lame