- Two Poems
The Geographics: Step Five
Antennae lie buried beneath the floor because the reception is better that way. The airwaves brought us crumbs & pocket change but nothing worth diving in for. We learned whoever pounds the rock makes fire, and whoever plows the flame grows their own flaw. Instinct rode us down, looted our conversation, kept us in our seats. That’s why we cannot listen to these unwrapped winds and murmurs.
It’s dark now. It was dark when we started out. The moon is a crooked tooth buried in the sky’s smoke stained roof. Over time you changed my system and now I feel like something northern has happened to us.
They’ve left me some taste of mental health. Up in the old hat factory a miniature horse circles a track. Final exams are held between laps; that’s when they test our spoiled grey faces for muscular decisions. We learn how to hold our ass in place, to shake nickels into dimes. A routine physical disclosed how I had been screwed up by savage cooking, the kind done with pencils and safety pins.
I titled her the same way she authored me — with bitten facts dealt like marked cards. She raked back her hair so she could bend to her task, and that’s when I felt left out. The forecast called for black ice and dark coughs. An army of starlings broke ranks when some dust blew down from the hills. She was waving from the porch but I stayed clean in a rented van.
The paper that cut me was white bond. The fair and chiseled marble remains visible in the way she conjugates her nerves like Henry James. Behind the gas tanks, underneath the carnival tent, or any place where temperature accumulates, a gorgeous pinch of cypress leaves can be hidden. I am summoned by their scent. Out there in the blood thick mist, a cicada drones. Or is it the arrival of my gift of mourning tongues?
The Geographics: Step Six
Where does the world leave its dying heat? On the Lido, in the stone and stucco courtyards? Does it create mechanic pressures among the city’s darkened swirls? One day the gifts we bought will remind us of arriving in an early morning rain, of that balcony, and of an argument we had behind its beveled glass doors. If we had acted like we belonged, no one would have asked us for our tickets.
Some call it a station but he knows it’s a terminal. The train falters in another state, so he swallows and waits until the new pills are proved upon his pulse. He believes his watch is about to burst. The platform is crowded with petals, the tracks hum with a distant approach, and welding sparks lift a small awning of yellow light above two workmen in the tunnel’s gloom. He saw this and knew he had become the ticket-of-leave apostle.
I unwrapped a new thesaurus and looked up a synonym for the word desicate but I ended up feeling sad because every word was chained to another. The toxin bled through the old school halls; neon stained snow fell forever in the streets outside.
Meeting in rooms. Look at my sofa, listen to my lamp. I live here in an ice-age marriage to my open floor. No one prepares you for this. You get booklets, brochures, and hints from other tourists, but nothing helps. When I turned the dial to the left, there was a rumba; when I turned right, it was cha-cha-cha, but your purple-heart treason has worn my footwork down to a walk.
Covered in smoke, buried beneath a painted cowboy-sky, the sun roars through your hair. You once lived a magazine life, then you entered the pedestrian crosswalk that stilled you. Come to me, speak through my microphone scars and soon we will be such lovers I will be able to hear you tanning on the roof. You will smuggle my complaint across your border and we will finally begin to burn where it counts.