Monday, April 12, 2004

for Alli Warren, among others

A camera lens, a lamp, two sinks, an open
. The difficulty of the problem
is its arrangement into a square, trimmed
like bread and pooling in the center.
What sounds like rhythm is really only
a faucet dripping; an X marks the spot
where the airline's routes cross somewhere over
Kansas. The jagged icon pulls
the string behind it.
............................... Contributors
are listed in the order in which their heads
can be fit to a vanishing framework.
What I'm feeling can only be expressed
in a reversed alphabet, something developing
over the course of long, repeated walks
by a waveless lake.
................................. There are days
when the office buildings can be seen
too clearly, when the air doesn't
show itself like a plastic wrapper
but just stays out of the way.
This may be what they call a new
America, where "71% now approve
of interracial marriage, even for their children."

What we're moving toward could be
an apparatus that keeps us up all night
with its talking out loud, its level-headed
judgment, its love of discount racks.
But for now a line of heroic gadgets
steps up to take the blame for what
is, after all, printed on demand.

There's a dilating iris behind each tree,
like the leaves were something other than there
just to break the light. But moving on:
we return to the scene of the sell-off, hair
hanging lank with three days of smoke
and hamburgers. It's nothing more
than a moment in the history of sighs.

Do you ever feel like a little paper
is waiting somehwere for you, already
dented by the press of your pen but saying
nothing? I do. It must be so
we can be seen doing everything we'd do
anyway, even without the promise
of a flak-jacket greeting card.
A careful search of the envelope would reveal
a bit of hair or dander, or a strategy
for sleeping well at night: so don't
give up before the real thing shines
through a tear in the shirt you're wearing, soft
like a peach-fuzz blanket or a tire tread.

No comments: