From Inside a Ziggurat

They said you missed out on so much being the way you are. They said it without punctuation like that and so it will go. On. Without punctuation. Not the way a life is when someone stops on the stairs merely to be aware they are stopping on the stairs. Shall we address Gertrude Stein from here?

This painting is a solid color and is uterine.

They said that but whether they addressed me or not might be irrelevant if I took it to heart, to the place underneath this potted plant. And that cop standing next to it. The truth is they were talking to someone else and I overheard and it was suddenly addressed to me as though I were the someone else on the p.a. they did not actually address, but talk about behind her back, as people generally do, because language only exists behind backs, everywhere, really, this is true. There is nowhere to say anything that is not behind many, many backs. That poems exist is proof of this fact. They are so far behind all human backs it is ridiculous.

I was putting cheese on my grilled cheese at the time, middle of the night, and my hands were freezing, they were just ice, and I imagined a tumor in a place in my shoulder, I had to check, but the hands were a misery, a punishment, a cold of Inquisition (they didn’t use only fire; think), iciness of a surgical x-ray table you have to lay on, just get it done, verify there is no tumor, flip the grilled cheese sandwich, discard thoughts of vice, remember that the second side always browns exponentially (existentially) faster (it’s like a second marriage). Don’t make the same mistake again and flip the sandwich, did, it is now on the plate and who were they (we) talking about, the ghosts in love with criticism of others? ghosts on stairs? Let me open up the melt of the sandwich and add a fresh slice of tomato, but salt it first, like memory, salt the slug of the world. Get down into the dissolution of the salt in a flavor. You can’t hold it anymore. That red pulpy thing. The salt and the tomato are inseparable like beach and skyline on a perfect day. The festering voices go past like countless buses and you must learn to sit and knit inside them. You are not young enough to die on a ledge anymore.

[3 a.m. crickets, wall of sound: the ghosts of monks chanting in the yard]

                                        Their mind mass slows to the cool
September air, the tempo a function of temperature,
their self-explanatory dying, told without pity. Count the beats
to know how much impersonal darkness they have left.
I can’t hear it impersonally. I want to personify the sound.
I believe there is someone making that sound,
even if my someone is only dark splinters on the ground.
I feel it’s talking to me, and somehow performing my mind.
If I can’t take it any longer, I will throw open the front door
of my house and yell at them. They will grow quiet for a moment
as if listening to me. And then they (no they there) will continue
their chant. The sound will close back over me
like starlight, and I will drown in that.

After Philip K. Dick

I brought in an agency to study my agency.
I had to hire from outside, “off the street”
so to speak. I had to fill these chairs
with otherness. How can I trust these strangers
to represent the agency I think of as mine?
I worry about the foreign interest problem.
I wanted my business to run smoothly as the Cogito,
in a cool circle. What if I told you my business
is recycling my business, and that’s all we do here?
We never need to open or close the doors.
We never gain new employees or lose one to attrition.
We break down the formulas, furniture and other infrastructure
and produce new offices daily from that. Growth
is the least of our worries, since it’s entropy’s best friend.
Ever since we shut our doors forever, business is booming.

Sides

Let the poem be organic images. Let the poem
hide its words from itself. A thunderstorm
turns around our house, goes by the window
twice. Then again. It seems to be in love
with the cat’s fear. Things fill up with our
crazy intentions. Eventually, you notice
language is doing the same thing. These
crazy drive-bys it does. And we never
did a thing to it, except maybe encroach
by accident on its alien turf. You can’t
even walk down its street without
taking someone’s side, unawares.