Friday, September 19, 2008

Les Vapeurs

At night in the wooden precipice of sleep
I see between the black branches of oak trees
a lighter dark to the sky beyond,
so far beyond that the idea of distance
as a measure of travel unhinges
from language and bobs away
before filling with ocean and going down.

Because he may be sick tonight,
I want to think of my father, put him up
in place of my childhood. I think
of still water closing over the boat.
Instead I get the memory of a bus-stop
beside a concrete wall, a gaggle of children,
a blue bench of faded plastic, tin ashtray
filled with rain water and the soggy tea of butts.

I’m not even sure I am one of these children
I think I remember, so honey suckle grows
over the picture and I advance a fear of bees
which brings me back to my father
who is deadly allergic to bees.
Maybe it is the vine and its green steamy
odor, sledge of bright perfume that
always makes me think of triffids
or other sinister botanical assassins
drawing me in with a puff of pink
pollen and a tentacled vine.

Maybe it’s the blankets twisting
up my thigh and words over the bright
forever of space. Maybe the only way
I can ever conquer my childhood
is to be a beekeeper like Sylvia Plath,
grow larger than everything else, at least
in my mind, so I can squash it all.
Maybe I like to sit at empty bus stops
and smoke because that is the true
place of distillation. Distances becoming.

A pure turn of the bowl for the tea
ceremony, the leaves crumbled just
so, whisk of tree branch across the sky,
the steam evaporates, so begins autumn
which withers up the vines.


Friday, September 05, 2008

9th Circle

Relentlessly Bleak

So much rain these mosquitoes emerge
from the carboniferous where too much
oxygen had bugs as big as Pintos. Light
flash of synaptic carry overs finds them
nudging into my house on the dog’s belly
though I try to brush them away, they
only squash into smears of blood, mine
and the dogs mixed to resonate that
tiny grinding of some microscopic
insect lollapalooza bloodbath.

Black they are as the souls of Scando
death rockers, Viking boats upon the dog’s
stomach, braided beards, red knot
entry to the kingdom and late night
assail upon my domesticity. Fuck.
They creep me out. What can I do
but take the job serving hotdogs
at their fairgrounds. I can’t not take
the dog out to piss, that’s an alternative
of too much mopping and wood rot.

I should do what everyone does and
consider my role in the food-chain
as symbolic. I am the systemic sacrifice
who also leads the lamb, here dog,
together we are walking troughs
of divine substance for those creatures
whose purity will outlive us both in
number if not in duration. Hissing
presence in a cavernous nowhere, their
wings buzz the neon blood bank.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Where route 27 bends into Georgia is a man in a wheelchair
who waves at the cars as they pass going seventy.
The wheelchair may be the result of a spinal defect,
degeneration of the structure of the back, like my father
and brother, the core too tired of holding its end of everything
up. On Monday mornings the dog wakes everyone
barking at the garbage truck, recycling, a glitter
sparkling stars as the shatter of glass emerges me from sleep.
There are other drivers on the road, the cars are
thick armor for the jellyfish brains operating from inside,
bleary eyed and translucent to the radio’s swell.
I wonder if back pain is the vengeance of evolution,
payback for up righting out of the pond, a coalescing
of paramecium like two minivans meeting head on
in the swale. My eyes are old fashioned swivel dials of the radio.
Crows mock me to motion from the dead center
of my lane and make me swerve like I know what they know.
That there is ten miles of cellular dead air here past
Swamp Creek, past where my ankle is cramping at pushing
the gas. I pass the man on the border of two states,
one is moderate health care, the other is a heavy riff of sludge
metal. His wave is encouraging, saying go on, push
through it. Resigned, the both of us, just sitting there.


Monday, September 01, 2008