But

But I wanted love to be a quickening like sugar, she said, as we entered the dark park. We entered the dark slope of the park in autumn. We had all breath sucked out of us going downhill. It was entering a Brueghel painting. Or worse.

Dark park slope, read us.

The trees reached for us. They were in their own motives. Trees bare of leaves, no longer possessed of the business of themselves. Or so it seemed. They had to do what, just dream all winter long? Just keep the sap moving, I guess. How not to think of neon, loneliness used to outline bars. Leftover humans. It makes me think of leftover humans with rug burns. Talking about them forever.

All our muses were stray dogs.

On ledges.

The serrated park was separated from the prison on the hill by a creek where the Canada geese had their menages in summer. They had their menages on the water. Mostly fighting with other couples. There were really just four of them. Maybe they had lovers too. A filthy creek. The prison, we looked up to it. Just then: no geese. The light bulbs were coming on inside, out. It was a unification principle. Some of the lights were odd greens. Getting dark early, the men must have stirred harder.

The men with figures in their heads, constantly counting back to acts. Who does that?  Useless, locked up ponytails.

Farming the human body gets you there. I mean menders with drugs.

We flowed down the hill talking blithely of sugar, love, death, vegetables gone sour. Here eat this, she said, meaning a strange fruit she had picked from the ground like a poison dream in a fairy tale. I laughed. There was a jagged glass ring on a branch end, neck of a broken bottle someone (probably a kid) had stuck there. The bethrothal. I marry you, forced nature, with this piece of broken glass.

There had been an actual wedding here a week ago. Parks are never safe from brides and grooms. Pastel tissue flowers melted in the rain. There was inexplicably a hunk of watermelon. The dogs jerked back like Frankenstein’s monsters when we screamed. The watermelon was a bomb, we told them. Dogs will believe anything. We are a social state suddenly. When we have pets. Other people had touched it. All the animals that follow, who come after other people have left, they must have had their mouths all over it. Easy watermelon, I distrust you. If something is dropped or dipped in nature, it will be much scrutinized and then enter all mouths when the appropriate, manipulative stars shine.

There is a hatred of easiness, easiness.

We were in relation to each other but bugging.

It is a way to be, sitting on tree trunks as we were now never known, listening to our own stories like skeins of geese that had passed over us quite some time back, giving us a reference point for the narrative we would soon chuck into the all night grocery store. Maybe 3 a.m. talking to overlapping lobsters, milling carapaces in a glass tank refracts them in ways they will never know.

What you said, what I said, as the prison on the hill dreamt.

Under Houses

Who knew such delicate things could spit such necromancy,
I mean a wedding dress in a basement. It breathed
through its plastic skin, coated with a layer
of dust and asbestos. Plaster it bore
dropped from stubborn beams, gypsum
from an old ceiling, shaken out
with the carefulness of grudgework
in a small town with straightjacket lives,
by all those muffled earthquakes, tinny years.
Heavy shoes walked over a headless ghost
whose waist or wait would never give an iota.
From an old heaven above, where they lived,
or rather its underside, erosion below their feet,
gerrymandering ceiling of cracks, it took
its look like history. Something old: a recoil
of a gun, dream-kicking the observer
back to an age that pretended gilding,
whose women would often hang
waiting their whole lives, as if the stars
moved them on tracks like figures
in a medieval clock.  Drugged.
The dress had weirdly hung its promise
of nearly royal treatment in whose
snailshell years beyond knowing:
did it come true? Something new:
a shuddering sense of someone
buried alive down there, breathing,
starving for life, waiting to emerge,
a boil under Alencon lace and seed pearls
still weirdly optimistic, young,
something like a paper doll
whose child died a century ago
wanting you, wanting anyone,
an invitation to undo, redo.
Its own dead body was no concern
to its ambition, its (              ) form.
Something borrowed: a ghost in you,
the observer underground,
dust-smocked Orpheus,
uphill, suddenly, just to breathe.
Something blue: a light switch
popped its tongue like a witch
as I reversed in a spell
out of the past
by walking backwards
up nobody’s rickety stairs,
out of the dark
and its hopes.

Photobomb

I want to mischievously send you a photo of you as you were
long ago. When I knew you. When I so much more
than knew you. It will come out of the personal blue,
from a bogeyman’s slingshot, a shot in the dark, an idiom
which admits the dark has agency, weird intent,
as I had for you, and you intense for me. Once.
Once isn’t the right word for something that happened
so many times, but it will haunt and have to do,
and it strikes just the right note of an asshole ghost.

Heberto

There is a plant in that front room which some would call a living room. But I don’t do much living in there. It’s kept dark during the day. I have hung heavy blankets over the curtains. This darkness is in case I decide to watch movies or television. But I have largely lost interest in that. There is a plant in there in a large plastic pot by the shrouded bay window at the front of the room, which is the house’s front which faces the street. It is an areca palm, which I have sentenced to eternal darkness like some villain in a Superman movie. It was once tall and flourishing. When I was in my last relationship all those years ago, I lived in a large apartment complex of many buildings. It was pretty landscaping. There were rolling hills. Only infrequently would terrifying things happen there. I remember an escaped convict with a gun. I remember a hurricane. There was an apple orchard behind us. A gym was included in the deal. It was right across the street from my building’s parking lot. I’d take my old boombox over there and exercise at three in the morning when no one else was around. I liked looking at the exercise equipment when no one was using it. I could see them in my mind’s eye on display in museums of the future as curious relics. There was also a community swimming pool in summer where I would go to lie in that one ridiculously floral chaise that hid under the shadows of a tree whose large trunk was just outside the pool’s fence. I’d lie there and read Nabokov in the shadows. Sometimes I’d study people. I’d wonder.  But I was a different person then. I’m much more about darkness now. The areca palm is still alive. It is tortured, but it began dying long before I darkened this room. There is still a central shoot of green coming up with new leaves, still wrapped up, like an unopened umbrella, that seems to survive only on the light that glows within those dark curtains and their coverings. Can you take nourishment from the light that lives inside another? I think you can. Nourishment moves in strange, mysterious ways. Am I somehow nourishing you right now, or will you immediately spit these words out? Sorry. The curtains covered by heavy blankets look like Rothko paintings when it is sunny outside. But even darker. The light seems to nest in the curtains and does not really penetrate into the room, but a little gets through. So I water this plant for no real reason. It’s like religion. It’s kindness with no real explanation behind it. But it is alive. A little bit. It’s behind the big screen t.v. that looks more like a Rauschenberg glossy black painting than a Rothko. It’s quoting the same period, anyway. The same school of alcoholic painters. So the dark room has a weird consistency. It’s trapped in the middle of the last century. I fill a Garfield coffee mug from the seventies (is Garfield dead?) from my kitchen tap, and I walk into the dark room to water the palm that refuses to die. When I step into the room, it’s like walking into a dark painting, not looking at one, but entering one, where the possibility of form and the doubt of form are having a strange conversation. It’s like stumbling around in a movie theater when you come in late for a show, that weird excitement and fear that there might be a killer or a lover only a few inches away from your one and only body, the only one you will ever truly possess, as you look for a place to settle your adrenaline. I always think someone might stab me or kiss me in those moments. I do know I feel very alive then. I think about the pointlessness of what I’m doing, being life support for a largely dead plant. Maybe this is one of those romances with the past. We all have those. I can’t even get behind the television to prune back all the dead parts it still carries. There are weird little beads that form on it and then turn white or some off-color like white. The dead fronds fall behind the television set. I think of Beckett and his ideas about pointlessness and his clear love of the rituals of pointless existence. I feel a certain fondness towards the dead man. So maybe I am paying homage to Beckett by watering this dead plant. But it is a little alive. Just a little. I think I also like walking in the darkness.Walking into the darkness. Don’t underestimate the importance of the little thrills in your life.  I think I like that feeling of not knowing form which the dark room gives me. It’s like beginning a sentence. If you stop and examine the phenomenon, you will see the greatest thrill of a sentence (if you are the one speaking or writing it) is the moment before the sentence unfolds, when you feel the compression of form and energy that is bidding you to unfold it, to speak it. It’s like the chrysalis of a butterfly the moment before that final deshicence. The white cracked shell of yourself lies on the floor of your mind. The sentence is birthed, flies off. You are generative. Yes, I like walking into that dark room where form is negotiable. The word is nescience. I think nescience brings something good to our lives. Nescience can be almost erotic. I feel my body’s tiniest hairs hearkening to the darkness when I walk into that room. It’s the cat inside of me. It’s quite possible the dead plant will outlive me. But I know it will die immediately after I do. Because nobody will invest time into it who doesn’t know the plant’s backstory. I can’t write anyone on earth and ask him or her to save the largely dead plant. I know we are inextricably tied together in this pointless bond. But we all have people we carry like this too. We all carry some dying things on our backs. When I see someone who isn’t carrying anything like this on his or her back, I realize that person is either very lucky or very sad. It could really just go either way.