I open a door in my head

I Open a Door in my Head

Here is a boy in a listless room, breathing
with the world, a terrier or anything
the shape of a terrier below the table.

There is food -apple teacake, pears
sleeping like birds. The dog lying on a layer of gristle
fed steadily into its basket and veiled with cloth.

All is quarantine. Laughter on ration;
hunger preceeding the eating and following it.
The chrome toaster leers, prey in teeth.

Nothing moves except the boy's hand,
reaching under the table, restless, mysterious.



Flatlands Stanzas

I

We might speak into this blackening stretch and expect the sound
of nothing to return to us, borderless and narrow, diffuse and echoing,
but not even a black-whisper breaks the monotony uncovered in flatlands.
Biting dirt in spools and threads lifts off the surface; rare detail among strips
of sclerophyll interspersed with mnemonic red, strata upon strata upon strata
slowing not for weather or salvation. Luminous floes of air have battened
the surface into an ancestral boredom with space. Night rolls out like a thunderhead.

II

This is what we have for the sublime, and it is no wonder Gnosticism never
took off. We are on the horizon, and the horizon interminable, bands and levels
erasing sibilants and giving us flat lines, serious and trackless. We cannot shake
it, the country, its focused planes and plateaux, the madness rocking under
its eaves. Unfurling vagaries of land hide the slender guises of life: wires of
scrub, tundra -both meaningless and mathematical -go on oblivion. The tongue
floured with sienna and sweeping, as though through description comes understanding.

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Some were cold, some were near, some were clear
- On a line of John Ashbery's

I was there. The dead
were an injunction.

All around, waves eating
waves, the hush of sky hung.

I saw them, hoisted
into the water; I made myself

watch. The bodies finally
what they were, visible

and outlined in azure, flotsam
incapable of allegory,

urging me near. I suspected
the trance was in the telling.

This was my inheritance:
infinite motion. For a time

the sea and I stood, quiet,
as illustrations.

 

 

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