You have devoured the pheasant
and now you sweep your desk
with its blue tail feather.
So you didn’t write back
to your friend in dark need.
Of his own intricate making.
You get tired of talking to it.
The browner fields that lay wet all winter,
When you can’t not think of their bones,
There is really nothing in there,
Chunks, pried ice more than anything,
Maybe a few Gordian knots of roots,
The leftovers of the salad days,
They’re only here to be looked on.
It is and isn’t like a body laid open
By surgeons on a metal table.
The love knots and their strangulations
Of the anticipative past
You could display
As natural forms, as art.
Some of those look Gaelic.
They make for sexy tattoos of constancy,
The only real human threat.
The passivity of that earth,
strange as if it were a ring of Saturn,
why does it soothe you driving past?
Your soul is a photosynthesis of darkness.
The largeness of small chemicals
Should not be underestimated.
The smell of language’s chemicals,
How you use them to char the images
That float in the dark bath.
The swipe of your hand
Using the blue feather
In a lightless room,
Jabbing at furious dark and future dust,
Maybe this is really you.
It darkens the dust almost like an apology.
The world is in two pieces: you and it.
This wound into two is done.
The mouth suddenly closes.
The heart skips a beat of iron.
The blue feather commands your attention.
Your friend is gone into.
It does its little blue sutra.
Green, a winter’s lamp
is green. Perched on a stump.
and you float on them.
Words are going somewhere
whether we keep up
or not. Why was the lamp
green, to sing
in the landscape?
The forest was behind
the stump, it began
there. As a promise
that the past
is real. Now
it is brutally
it may be
we were always together
in those days like mercury
and a thermometer I sat
in a ball at your spine
we were lovers then up and down
like an elevator in a shaft
I forgive the shaft its terror
the ride was sometimes lovely
returning from the night
at 3 a.m. in my sandals
expecting a murderer
when the doors dinged open
we were lovers then
now we would be strangers
again renewing strangeness
if the elevator doors ever opened
and you were just there what to do?
I have begun to look like Beckett now
and frankly a door has no excuse
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.
I live in a place where the trains still come through.
Beyond the night, beyond daylight they go,
but carry few people anymore. We can be
virtually anywhere in virtuality in microseconds,
but the brute back of the world, its metals,
sugars and meats, cannot. We still need
iron, manganese, even a fund of chrome
for our bodies. These move in foods that move
the way they did centuries past, the way
those centuries moved. Heavy. Slow. Clank clank.
The future doesn’t brake for the past. That’s
the grandiose thought. But if you listen carefully,
behind the trees, behind in general, you’ll realize the past
doesn’t brake for the future either. Something’s always
coming on from each direction fast, and either force can kill you
if you’re not the sort to pay attention.
The water has stopped flowing in the canal,
and now we have only the ghosts of old lovers
in dormer windows. You look twice
and they are gone. Can we think of this
as nutrition too, as we do with the museums
which are filled with dead things?