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.
Sometimes it is a great love to be trapped inside a hatred. It is like unto being a taxidermied bird. It is like unto being trapped inside a taxidermied bird. Something dead is being inhabited. This is the nature of hatred. Some live quite fulfilling lives trapped inside it. They can feel their claws mounted on a stone. Hatred is for display purposes. They appear to the be the claws of a live bird, but they are stuffed. Glued there.
I am the camel-colored spackling sealing the bullet hole in this public white wall
on this busy street in the center of this town. This is Busytown with all the anthropomorphic people who are sometimes animals driving cars and sometimes
animals committing felonies while eating sandwiches or just after. Imagine. You put your finger there, stranger, into my filled tan hole. I think I am punk. I believe
I am punk rock. I am, after all, a bullet hole. But I am old.
You think this is a place where someone almost died, that the bullet could have gone through a human heart, which is really only thick red paper. You think, What a mercy. But you are wrong. The bullet did go through a human heart’s paper. Thick. Red. Wet. You forgot ropy. Heart that is a lantern of blood. And the bullet is still in here. It is still in me. I am the bullet hole that talks. I don’t want to give the bullet back. I’ve just gotten used to it, the feel of it in me like language, or metal type in an old wooden box in a sealed room. It is a form of possession. That’s all I will say. Velocity gave you to me, I say to the bullet in me. A lover will make such stupid statements of bald physics. It’s like the things people say during sex.
I am a public wall that has a desire to retain some dark and decent privacy. So I place one side of me in a place you cannot reach. The dark side of me is buried like an ancient rib deep in the shadows of the building. It is all so Biblical, to be a wall. Touch my outside all you want. Touch the outside of my wall like Southern people turning around a meteor in a church. As Russian people once turned
around Sputnik and touched it. I am rough-textured. You can touch me and stroke me and accuse me. You can drive your car into me and just die. You can shoot bullets into me. Nothing will change my anchoring into this darkness. Only if an earthquake occurs and I fall on you, will you know my inner side. But then how will you tell? See how cleverly I have designed this scenario?
I am the stale bread that you hold in the plastic bag in the middle of the night,
in the middle of your kitchen, in the middle of your life, as you calculate
its weight over and over before throwing it away. I am the cubic zirconia of dread.
Something comes down in your mind like a wall then. Something which allows you to throw me, living bread, away. How am I, bread, alive? That I will feed. That I will colonize a gut or be colonized by primordial forms of life. If left to stale, if left to the colonizing interests of air, the spores and tiny carriers of ladders of still
evolving things. Blue plushness will grow like velvet on my skin of bread. I will
suddenly have antlers of blue mold. Pale green overgrowth textured like the strangest moth will cover me like a blanket. Mold and its cities. You
want me, the bread, to stay in this plastic for eternity. There is less guilt if I can’t escape the plastic wall in which you have immured me, and which you call, ridiculously, a bag.
Abra and Jamal sit in a cafe of sad people.
The cafe people are sitting in wire chairs that pretend they are
chairs on the Parisian street. The people are sitting at small marble tables
that want you to know that they are small marble tables, that they are smooth
and round and grey, and conscious of being small and round and smoothly
grey marble tables.
This is how it is in a cafe that has a name like this one.
The furniture is aware of being special like the children of those
with money, it is too sad to talk about any further.
There are thoughts designed to shut the mind down and there
are thoughts designed to set the mind flowing the way rivers
do when you look at them.
A random crowd of people can be either of those things. It
Abra was sitting in the cafe in the past tense and Jamal
was in the future tense. They were neither of them looking
down at phones, but looking at the other people looking
down at phones. The people were leaking sadness the way
the small phone screens were leaking light.
So Abra and Jamal wanted to finish their pastries, drink their teas,
and get up and walk away down the sidewalk.
Just then it was all about the sadness of the sidewalk ambience
about them. Abra pushed her napkin towards Jamal in a gesture
of dissatisfaction. Jamal stared at the napkin and nodded almost
subconsciously. A timer had been started that was set to begin
the walking away, and the timer was set to anytime soon
The ambiance that was sad people looking down at phones would soon be
retreating behind their backs. They would not look back
but would look into the excitement of oncoming headlights
and honking horns, the silhouettes of people running
across the street, in front of all these headlights, crossing
the dangerous river of people’s will to be somewhere else,
which is the most of that thing of which the world is made. If
we are to tell something like the truth.