Clouds and Trees

"Nothing ever goes away enough or arrives enough,/ and I want to cry when I think of my heart,/ muscle pounding in muscle, greedy always for joy." – 'A Warning', Eric Anderson

Month: April, 2011

Matterknot

These fluttering chapbook pages
shriek, “Look at me, look at

Trees thrust up through

this hole that was broken into
womanhood like a board

stiff ground and grass seams

snapped in half. Nothing gushes out
not even blood or the grabbing hands

birthing limbs.

of a brother, baby
son, just wood crackling,

Not shocking. Wordless

wind.

breath of becoming and un.”

Lakebed

She lies down in grass
unfolded like old origami
crane creased, incomplete.
“Grandma get up from the grass”
Her fingers arch, stiffen,
but can’t lift the hand,
spider legs struggling to unbend,
three brothers, severed or missing.

Fingers always seeking tips
curve out from the palm
as if endlessly plucking
an invisible blossom.
Elbows hook
and grass imprint sighs
like a shadow unlocked from feet
dying back to green.

She reminds me of a dream
in which Carl Jung described me
as a classic Bedivere–
perfectly-sinewed except for a hand missing,
knowing that with it I could swim
to the bottom of the lake
embrace the lady and give her a sword
old age couldn’t break.

Standing Next to Shadows (excerpt)

Between the sun and myself on the metal railing stood two pigeons which had been made into absolute shadows. They appeared to be printed on the spherical surface of my vision, tiny birds pre-existent on my brain projected by the light of my eyes. They were momentary avatars of  my ‘self-centerness’ within my world. I seemed now satellite to them: from them grew the metal railing, the deck, myself sitting and watching them, the water of The Serpentine, all of the park bounded by the expanse of my knowledge of London, then what was visible of the sky progressively unveiled by the retreating storm.

As I walked I considered the notion that we experience most truly in memory, and this seemed to be accurate in some way. In certain moments, when we are ‘traveling’ say, there is a divorce between expectation, which exists ‘pre-present’, and actuality, which by its mere reality cannot stand up to imagination. In the duality between evaluation against preexistent mental world and existing physical world, actuality acquires a strange distance of its own, as if it is more unreal than how we imagined it in the first place. In remembering the event we are able to reattach the plastic of imagination though this time colored with our chosen emotion, so that it is either a fantasy or a nightmare, but either way more ‘real’ than the moment of its experience.

But as I reflected on sitting by the lake and reading, it seemed to me that this notion was incomplete. There was a feeling in that present moment, unadulterated by expectation or memory; it was the ‘inside’ of what was physically before me, what I knew I would attempt to describe to myself as I walked away from it. I knew also that even during describing there was a feeling, an inside to that moment as well. This is the endless paradox of experience, lived out through the struggle of the writer: we live in the present moment and all the ones superseding it and to describe, to stand up and turn around, is to change bodies, to move through time, to lose and renew the position you looked out from a moment before, living, perpetual recrystallization.

Orange With A Wick

I walk past people not talking
with mouths zipped around faces.
Clothing not questionable–
these are wagon spokes they’re wearing
to walk, blue collar, bruised
skin turning inky, future noose
loosening, the benefits of growing up–
growing down to earth.
Not sure I can weather the tree fall
timber storm and steel swimming
up into cloud cover.
Too many miles to climb–
the world is only as high
as the bottoms of my feet.
When the whistle calls,
like train punching through clocks
melting off of walls,
will I be untied from the track
my back relies on?
If I plant the seed quick enough,
maybe an oak tree 500 years tall
will explode from railroad
and smash cowplow teeth right out
of locomotive mouth.

Subject Matter

Honestly, the tree twisted
out of the ground
in bursted seams
where the grass split,
birthing limbs.

You laugh at this
and I want to say,
Not everything has to be shocking
to be worth words!

Yet these fluttering chapbook
pages shriek,
Look at me, look at
this hole that was broken
into womanhood like a board
snapped in half. Nothing gushes forth,
not even blood or the clawing hands
of a brother, baby
son, just air, wood, the crackling
breath of becoming and un.

Kidney

I am the blink
the mirror doesn’t see.
You are my companion-
shipwrecked in a bathtub
or a kitchen sink.

I stare at you,
then back at the bathroom tile.
Like looking at the sun,
patterns never appear.

I trick myself into intoxication.
Making
indelible inkdots on my brain?

Outsmoke me tonight
I will be the winner of drinks!
Wasting ink on waking up
and falling asleep.

God give me,
whip or will,
flawed as I am,
bricks to outlive this winter
the dry-spell you cast on me.

Match made,
check box,
game set.

The Fat Lady sings to me
and I kiss her lips
say, for once in my life
let me do this
ending thing.