Think about the shadow of work
All our lives we were there
Just as in love
We were under someone’s shadow
Long dark scroll of hair
On the nape of a neck
When we visited the ocean we stared at it
From long rows of metal chairs
We were an army of the paralyzed
It was okay to be obliterated by wincing blue light
Is the hawk passive as it flies
Looking for blood to become hunger
Our dreams wonder to themselves
While we are asleep and paralyzed
In between asking themselves
If we are the real ones
If we are the real thieves
This pebble does not even wake at morning
There is no need for it to even know
When the arc of the heavens comes up over it
When dawn rides up with her rosy hood
There is a sweeping sense of existence
For those who rise and look out windows
The pebble that rests on the street
It is as real as you or I or any president
But it cannot care that it is real
Is it more or less true than us?
Granted, it always was exactly what it was
It didn’t vacillate the way we do
Oh, there were tiny erosions
But we wouldn’t know
So we mock it and say “unreal”
Because it never changes so much
Nobody could ever even know to endear
The way we fall in love with the inconstancies
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.
Either/or thinking is a threat human consciousness
makes against the world in philosophy
and other such desperate states
of neediness. Nature gives a hair flip.
People, artistic people, prefer symbols to facts.
There is more of a river to navigate,
a foggy horizon ahead, banks with disappearing trees.
There is a barge to fill and pull. But facts
are symbols too. Examine facts closely,
and you’ll see they’re heading up the same river of fog.
One of the city’s walls begins to peel and it is a type of thinking.
There is no alleluiah or despair. It is pure, untrammeled process.
The truth is that consciousness is a sort of drift, a series of rest stops
or a musical composition where the mind must fill in between notes.
It is only too happy to do so. The mimosa outside this second story window
is pink and alone and thinking its way through a body. A piece of paper
the wind has placed in its branches is a palimpsest of sunlight.
Fish are swimming through a face’s page. We stare and try to unpaste
the two images we are seeing at once. So it is with seeing through
ourselves, the scrim of various personal pronouns, finer than any butterfly net
to which we are accustomed. But the same principle. It is still a net.
There is joy in brightly waking up, and there is joy in darkly understanding sleep.
That’s what the forest tells us when we enter it in the heat of afternoon,
the awareness of two images seeing us at once. Because these birds,
avatars of sunlight, are something we try to unpaste, the thinking wall of trees.
The walls begin to peel, but it is bark. It is a type of backwards home.
For a man to prepare for death, he must draw a circle around his life. The larger the circle is, the more miserable he is. Over decades, he learns to rein in the circle, choke it down to a small radius. A radius not even as long as the distance from his shoulder to his arm. That silly, burgermeister distance. Then much smaller than that. The radius of his eye to his chin, then the radius of an eyelash, then a personal geometry of pain emaciated down to the radius of a single hair on that one eyelash. On certain days, if no one speaks, he can almost convince himself he is an amoeba. Certainly on those extremely quiet days he feels like an amoeba lit by a flashlight. He feels pellucid.
He is now looking down one single hair of one of his eyelashes, like looking down a wife, and the other eye is squinted shut. This might as well be the first microscope ever in existence. The goofy ass of a man looking down the eyelash might as well be Leeuwenhoek. I bet he was a goofy ass of a man, anyway.
That narrow line of sight on that airstrip of the eyelash hair is the full extent of this man’s new sphere of existence. The other eye is tortured shut like the half of consciousness that is pure ice cream, that molten planetary core of liquid ice cream, constantly agitated by the neutrinos in the agitator-cogitator (like a Versailles-size pool of chocolate in sacred, liquid form, tortured by giant stainless steel mixers constantly churning everything, apocalyptic, Aztec bumper cars) that target the cerebral, planetary core of ice cream. The otherness of mind with which we catch the prettiness of pretty women or pretty men as they float past us mostly pretty ectoplasm racing for a bank. That thing.
He is looking down one hair of one of his eyelashes, the eye that is open. He begins wailing, apologizing to some sense of Otherness, maybe not a god this time, wailing at it, apologizing to it, that he even needs a single eye, a single hair on that single eyelash to look down like looking down the sight of a gun. To take off from this like the mobile doom that is a doomed airplane. To exist. And that it feels the need to even exist. That it feels a joy. With or without a sight on its gun, its eyelash. The disembodied feeling of joy itself. Wailing and apologizing for that too. That it enjoys being an animal so much and losing time the way that animals do and apparently love to do.