The agents of red reminded us
That we only had a short time
Left. We knew these agents refused
To have any discussion beyond "a few minutes".
They would always say that we only
Had a short time. They would not listen
For any footsteps on the staircase.
Every time I move I am
Filled up with years tied
To a history I am unable
To imagine. This is unfortunate.
It is my own history. I can tell
By the way my wrists are bound,
By room after room that
Smell of stars and freshly cut fields.
“Who are you talking to, boy?”
“You have no idea of yourself.”
I see the bees forming lines.
They fly 'round and 'round the house.
I hear the hollow roar of the blood
Rushing through its veins and arteries
Constantly searching for
That once was plants or animals.
There remain only streets
In a darkened
And closed system,
Ruled by breathing
And the chambered
Cathedral of the heart.
TRANSFORMED BY INSECTS
He replaced his fingers with bullets.
His head was a cobalt blue.
Through the big windows he could see
The huge insects moving closer to the houses.
They looked as if they couldn’t be real,
As if their exoskeletons covered masses
Of circuits and flashing lights. He wasn’t
Going to stay in this house any longer.
They had called the aircraft in.
Soon there would be fires below the ridge.
They thought it was possible to stop
The changes in the land. Purple clouds,
Full of unknowing, a ruby gas leaking into
All their bodies, men standing in front of one
Another killing each other in the most obscene
Ways possible. He packed up what little food
He had and climbed to the rooftop.
He could already feel the heat of the fires.
His wings felt comfortable on his body.
They glistened as he raised and lowered them
With his back muscles. This was the time,
This was the last moment. He leapt
From the edge of the roof. He began to fly.
WE’VE LOST THE SHIP
We saw it going down
From the bedroom
Where we had been making love.
You looked out over the trees
As you sat on the edge of the bed.
“The ship is going down,” you said.
“Look, its lights are rising
To the vertical, and the trees
Have white shadows.”
“This is terrible,” I say.
“Yes,” you say, “but it is very
NO MATTER WHAT
I’ve burned all the maps
Telling others how to get here.
I want you to know that not even
The horses can find us.
No matter what direction
I look, I can’t see
Anything but you.
THE CATS IN LOCKE
Something broke downstairs.
I got out of bed and went downstairs
To have a look around.
There must have been
Seven or eight cats
Just sitting around
Taking bets on what
They thought I might
Be doing there.
APOLOGY FOR THE SEA
I made up these phantoms
And now they haunt me like
Coastal redwoods lifting from dark
Ravines and billowing high above
Our heads. Oh, that dreams should
Wear such garments, that the wind
Should be hollow and play flute
Music on our bones.
The beautiful marks teeth make
On the dimmest of lamps,
Always calling for more light, another
Way to know the mother of it all.
The spinning of the days, the warp
And wefts opened up to reveal
The weaving, a random assemblage
Of parts pulled from the sea edge
And old magazine photos, from patterns
Of shells gathered between tides,
Mixed with plastic and that unmeasured
Sound the wind makes as it drags
Everything behind it, pretending
To be a parade of boiled stars and dawn.
AN ULTIMATE GOOD
An infinity of misery.
It has its own landscape and is bereft
Of people. Cricket sounds,
A part of the night thrown
Across a plain. Parts of the plain
Were dark, while others had light.
Haphazard contradictions. A house
With its lights blazing and, four feet
Away, children swimming in a sunlit
Pond. To inhabit this kind of place.
Imagination seems higher than anything.
Come here. Sit beside me. We shall talk
Of the shifting of the light
In this manner. Imagine
An ultimate good.
We will call this our lives.
THE ALL, THE MOON, THE VOID.
How about some chips
And a cold beer? It will
Make this poem go by
That much quicker.
The little brunette
With the cute rear end
Will help too.
We have things to do.
We can’t sit around
All day reading poetry.
The next thing you know
You’ll be expecting the moon
To rise over an abalone shell.
—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's fine poems and pix!