There is a way to be curt with a field. The runnels of self-pity, the sludge of preponderance. I don’t use words aright, alway. I am dumb as a post. I mean dead as a post. A goat cast asunder a ship. The sounds come out wooden. This must be the sea left over. I went where the sea met the mud, the slag of the alluvial guts of some dragon-sing, the earth’s spit and image. So I am curt with the field, a-winter the shelved bark I gnaw like a scarab come home. And that is me protesting love. I mean into you a field of sound. Green as.
Morning goes across a small, dark pond. The pond goes across the color pink. The color pink goes across the mind of an early walker. The early walker goes across the page of human mind, endlessly turning. This turning goes across the mourning dove who watches from above, in the branches of the frou-frou mimosa. The mimosa goes across geological eras, carrying itself with feminine self-possession. Self-possession goes across my mind briefly, but then I am all these things again. I am the memory of a coffee spoon on a crosstown bus. Where did I leave myself again?
Energy in this room. Furnishings in this room. Particles of life. Photons. Papers with ideograms which are not always loyal. A television’s most sincere dreams. I cherish the t.v’s dreams like those of a bride. I feel a twinge when I must turn it off. It is like leaving a lover when I must leave the room. I close the door behind me, to let the television know that I am its protector. When I find dust on the forehead of the television, I could weep. But it lets me know how faithful my television is. When I see a television thrown out, lying with the garbage in a street, I feel an urge to rescue it. Even if it is dead, it deserves better. How could you not offer a decent burial to one of your closest living relations. What sort of animal lives in that house?
Keep your white hair, she says. I go around and walk around an artificial lake that has become real. With the snow and the geese, it has become real. There is no place not to be real. That is the unavoidable thing. Keep, she says, in a place where she is disappearing. She wants me to be old with her, to walk on the mountain that is disappearing. The mountain of us. I hear the single word Keep, and all through the night like my reflection in the dark plate glass of the artificial lake. A radio has been left on, somewhere in the night. Which is no longer a thing. Now it is a piece of paper I could hand to you. The lake, the geese that no one wants, that no one will bury, the ice they walked on, verifying existence. Their nests, your nests. It lives inside a piece of paper. As you will, soon enough.
Here is a kind coffee cup and here is an unkind coffee cup. They share the same table. I tell you that I want to get high. You sweep the kitchen behind my back. I try to figure out if the broom is a symbol. I try to figure out if the broom is a form of symbolic communication, or if it was just that you wanted to sweep something up. Maybe the kind coffee cup is warmer. Or maybe it is the unkind cup. Warmth and coldness can be so confusing, can’t they? I mean their usefulness. I didn’t say they had coffee in them. The cups. Maybe they do. I tell you I am going outside for a walk. You say, “Good, because I don’t think it would be a good idea if you took a walk inside the house.” You smile battily. You do something with your hair. We are in the fidgeting phase of the conversation, not the bargaining phase. I put on my jacket and go through the front door. I walk, but only around the block. It’s a small block. When I come back in, back home, I see the broom but not you. The broom is standing where you were standing when I left. There is the table that “took place” behind our conversation. Why is it wrong to say a table “takes place?” One of the cups is missing. Is it the kind cup or the unkind one? It seems kind of important.
The pencil in the room before the light is on is different. It is different from the same pencil in the same room when the light is on. When I can just barely see the pencil, there in the dark, gleaming with its own darkness (even the eraser) then I believe in the pencil more. The pencil is one with the gleam of darkness. What it has to to say comes from a place of darkness, a place we intuitively know will last longer than light.
We have tried. And the walls of the rooms in this house have tried. And the windows with their many views, green leaves in one season, gold fronds in another, did their best to display the children playing soccer in the back yard as mementos, keepsakes, well-framed photographs. Figurines. The small animals and the ghosts of previous small animals tried. The feet tried to find music, the body to brim with it, the hand bringing the fork to the lips tried to help the head imagine sustenance as a cube of some earth-grown thing that enters the mouth.
If only that were sustenance.
We have tried. And the walls of the rooms in this house have laughed. They have wanted to x-ray themselves. And the windows with their many views, sophomoric pleasure in one season, wrathful desire in another, betrayed the garden. The small animals and the ghosts of previous small animals took sides and bit ankles. The feet that could not find music now dance in the darkest basement there is, expertly, savagely, a tango anyone dangerous would love to watch. And the hand that fed the cube-brought- forth-of-earth to the mouth is tracing a nipple with an ice cube. For the soul is not a bicycle kickstand. As much as we wish.