Issue 228, Spring 2019
8. Light Articulation of the Left Hand
He could understand the things at home.
—Wallace Stevens, “Things of August”
Scribbled on the expansive mist, the desire
of many dwindles to us
and our “activities,” wholesome
or otherwise. Soon it becomes apparent
that neither they nor I have any prise
on the fabliau’s demands of unity.
We are aching neither here nor there.
The tent caterpillars shrug off the tent, and proceed.
Was there a maxillary half-buried in the silt?
If so, what were we doing in earth-heaven?
Times came to be, trembled
on the tilt of a sword’s point and slid off
into the grass. See, there was no warranty.
It’s not like stuff you send away for
and it comes and you can’t remember
why you ordered it. These, our time, were like grain,
necessary and inedible. In time the minute palace got chucked.
We were standing on the green, putting,
and our recollections came to resemble history:
serious, but not too serious,
redundant—and so on.
16. Alternating Fingers at Speed
When I think about it the total simplicity
charms me the way a wreck would, or a wraith.
Obviously there’s nothing wrong with standing to one side
while the boars brush past, or invoking a ton of nymphs
if you want to: that’s show business, and horse trading
as well. Nor is it bad form to challenge the deity
over pale attributes emitted but never
knowingly received. While there’s a dead-letter office
one should be gradual in assuming and allocating
blame, lest one’s last donation loom smallest
in the rear-view mirror’s tailpiece.
That said, I think there’s some point in listening.
You may never get over exactly what it was you wanted to experience,
yet neither may those who wanted to offend you at all costs
when, emerging from the drum in which you had been hiding
since World War II, you were struck by the freshness of everything,
even the gnats clustered at the hem of a curtain
for some reason, not wanting to get out
along with everything else: placid, and confirmed, but not
going to stick around much longer, either,
as long as the climate was divided up by an infinite
number of propositions whose sum equalled that of the passengers
delayed by the strike and anxious to get home
early this night of chiseled dreams taking the helm
again, Laodicean, an ass between two bundles of hay.
21. Parallel Movement of the Hands
Don’t put me on the desk.
I was afraid I was going to die very soon,
on a paper spree. Any nice person will
die very shortly. It doesn’t really fit.
A missing dog or donkey (registered)
does the American state police talk show
no favors, just as in the past you coaxed
belligerent sweetness from the hedge and then
it was gone. Color? Why no color?
What did you expect from the microtonal
overlap of minutes? And then when it
did stand up, it was like nothing you ever imagined.
There was an unshapely tuft where the chimes rang
and forever after it was solid wall.
Nothing so became it as its tiresome
leave-taking. We were all pretty much
dispatched to our different sectors when the truth
happened, and bombed yet again.
What registers no vibration can’t
expect to be named a consequence
or co-respondent if the peaceful enemy is really
coming back to engage the shares that were laid down
ages ago and are now indistinguishable
from gaps in the truth. See here,
it seems to say, this is a consequence
(though inconsequential) and all of what was first
only by dreaming itself into position.