We were warned about spiders, and the occasional famine. We drove downtown to see our neighbors. None of them were home. We nestled in yards the municipality had created, reminisced about other, different places— but were they? Hadn’t we known it all before?
In vineyards where the bee’s hymn drowns the monotony, we slept for peace, joining in the great run. He came up to me. It was all as it had been, except for the weight of the present, that scuttled the pact we made with heaven. In truth there was no cause for rejoicing, nor need to turn around, either. We were lost just by standing, listening to the hum of wires overhead.
We mourned that meritocracy which, wildly vibrant, had kept food on the table and milk in the glass. In skid-row, slapdash style we walked back to the original rock crystal he had become, all concern, all fears for us. We went down gently to the bottom-most step. There you can grieve and breathe, rinse your possessions in the chilly spring. Only beware the bears and wolves that frequent it and the shadow that comes when you expect dawn.
A lake of pain, an absence Leading to a flowering sea? Give it a quarter-turn And watch the centuries begin to collapse Through each other, like floors in a burning building, Until we get to this afternoon:
Those delicious few words spread around like jam Don't matter, nor does the shadow. We have lived blasphemously in history And nothing has hurt us or can. But beware of the monstrous tenderness, for out of it The same blunt archives loom. Facts seize hold of the web And leave it ash. Still, it is the personal, Interior life that gives us something to think about. The rest is only drama.
Meanwhile the combinations of every extendable circumstance In our lives continue to blow against it like new leaves At the edge of a forest a battle rages in and out of For a whole day. It's not the background, we're the background, On the outside looking out. The surprises history has For us are nothing compared to the shock we get From each other, though time still wears The colors of meanness and melancholy, and the general life Is still many sizes too big, yet Has style, woven of things that never happened With those that did, so that a mood survives Where life and death never could. Make it sweet again!
We were driving along at twenty-five miles an hour. ‘Desperate’ wants to know how the angle tree has went. Or we now can live over a wombat factory, said the woman coming in to see him about something.
And I was like, a beautiful little tree, or lake. Just the sandwiches now, we’ll look at the rest later when you’re out of time … Oh yeah? Oh, yeah. That’s it. The water has swirled away to a secret hiding place deep within earth.
Timid thing out hitting the sun, get me some peas … You’re going tomorrow, ribald headache misjudged, gray drunkard. Lost vagrants unfold scrolls of pity. I don’t care how big his cock is, I’d … Oh, hullo, Marge. Shredded any cumulus yesterday? A sinister joy overtakes us. Everybody has a body, that’s why they’re called everybody. The affluent strapped to an accordion, just as crazy in Baltimore and Point Reyes. Something I don’t remember eating: the Mother Hubbard ship. You seemed to be going good down there.
The very tegument strained, shuddering, causing it to wobble: more dribs than drabs, what summer is supposedly about, more fluid, even. He had spelling issues but most of all, loved the country, demented servitor, and what that person wants, and what that person wanted.
What others said, as some went about their business, isn’t known. Growing along the ridge, the condition of his parade can’t know. Roger, sir, she meant it for only a little while. ROGER. And when the ducks came squawking back, one by one, you felt it was your responsibility. The floral canopy dragged reproachfully, or so it seemed. When lunch arrived you filled up on tea and goat cheese.
Weather drips quietly through the skeins in my diary. What surly elision is this?
Who faxed the folks news of my homecoming, even unto the platform number? The majestic parlor car slides neatly into its berth, the doors fly open, and it’s Jean and Marcy and all the kids, waving pink plastic pinwheels, chomping on popcorn. Ngarrrh. You know I adore ceremony, even while refusing to stand on it, but this, this is too inane. And the cold anonymity of the station takes over, reins in the crowds that were sifting to the furthest exits. No one is here. Now I know why I’ve always hated the tango, yet loved the intimacy secreted in its curls. And for this to continue, we’ve got to get together, renew old saws, let old grudges ride...
Later I’m posting this to you. I just thought of you, you see, as indeed I do several million times a day. I need your disapproval, can’t live without your churlish ways.
Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you, At incredible speed, traveling day and night, Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through narrow passes. But will he know where to find you, Recognize you when he sees you, Give you the thing he has for you?
Hardly anything grows here, Yet the granaries are bursting with meal, The sacks of meal piled to the rafters. The streams run with sweetness, fattening fish; Birds darken the sky. Is it enough That the dish of milk is set out at night, That we think of him sometimes, Sometimes and always, with mixed feelings?
The immense hope, and forbearance Trailing out of night, to sidewalks of the day Like air breathed into a paper city, exhaled As night returns bringing doubts That swarm around the sleeper’s head But are fended off with clubs and knives, so that morning Installs again in cold hope The air that was yesterday, is what you are, In so many phases the head slips form the hand. The tears ride freely, laughs or sobs: What do they matter? There is free giving and taking; The giant body relaxed as though beside a stream Wakens to the force of it and has to recognize The secret sweetness before it turns into life— Sucked out of many exchanges, torn from the womb, Disinterred before completely dead—and heaves Its mountain-broad chest. “They were long in coming, Those others, and mattered so little that it slowed them To almost nothing. They were presumed dead, Their names honorably grafted on the landscape To be a memory to me. Until today We have been living in their shell. Now we break forth like a river breaking through a dam, Pausing over the puzzled, frightened plain, And our further progress shall be terrible, Turning fresh knives in the wounds In the gulf of recreation, that bare canvas As matter-of-fact as the traffic and that day’s noise.” The mountain stopped shaking; its body Arched into its own contradiction, its enjoyment, As far from us lights were put out, memories of boys and girls Who walked here before the great change, Before the air mirrored us, Taking the opposite shape of our effort, Its inseparable comment and corollary But casting us further and further out. Wha—what happened? You are with The orange tree, so that its summer produce Can go back to where we got it wrong, then drip gently Into history, if it wants to. A page turned; we were Just now floundering in the wind of its colossal death. And whether it is Thursday, or the day is stormy, With thunder and rain, or the birds attack each other, We have rolled into another dream. No use charging the barriers of that other: It no longer exists. But you, Gracious and growing thing, with those leaves like stars, We shall soon give all out attention to you.
I am still completely happy. My resolve to win further I have Thrown out, and am charged by the thrill Of the sun coming up. Birds and trees, houses, These are but the stations for the new sign of being In me that is to close late, long After the sun has set and darkness come To the surrounding fields and hills. But if breath could kill, then there would not be Such an easy time of it, with men locked back there In the smokestacks and corruption of the city. Now as my questioning but admiring gaze expands To magnificent outposts, I am not so much at home With these memorabilia of vision as on a tour Of my remotest properties, and the eidolon Sinks into the effective "being" of each thing, Stump or shrub, and they carry me inside On motionless explorations of how dense a thing can be, How light, and these are finished before they have begun Leaving me refreshed and somehow younger. Night has deployed rather awesome forces Against this state of affairs: ten thousand helmeted footsoldiers, A Spanish armada stretching to the horizon, all Absolutely motionless until the hour to strike But I think there is not too much to be said or be done And that these things eventually take care of themselves With rest and fresh air and the outdoors, and a good view of things. So we might pass over this to the real Subject of our concern, and that is Have you begun to be in the context you feel
Now that the danger has been removed? Light falls on your shoulders, as is its way, And the process of purification continues happily, Unimpeded, but has the motion started That is to quiver your head, send anxious beams Into the dusty corners of the rooms Eventually shoot out over the landscape In stars and bursts? For other than this we know nothing And space is a coffin, and the sky will put out the light. I see you eager in your wishing it the way We may join it, if it passes close enough: This sets the seal of distinction on the success or failure of your attempt. There is growing in that knowledge We may perhaps remain here, cautious yet free On the edge, as it rolls its unblinking chariot Into the vast open, the incredible violence and yielding Turmoil that is to be our route.