Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lean into the place obscured by shadow, turn your head to the left as if you expect to find there a long-lost cousin. The same who borrowed twenty dollars and refused to pay it back. So you haunted the street outside the bodega where he worked at all hours of the evening, reminiscing out loud. Asking strangers whether they’d be willing to stand guard while you went to the truck stop to shower. My larynx seems oversized lately, swollen from too much use. This could, of course, just be my imagination, which never seems entirely satisfied with the dreamscapes and the partial sonatas it conjures up from the raw material we all have access to. The tales told by itinerant workers, involving incest and the Liberty Bell. The poems in the anthology without a cover. I can count on one hand the number of times someone has asked me what the discolored patch of skin on my arm means and then asked my forgiveness for the intrusion. Most people seem to think my mind is at their disposal because they happen to be standing in my vicinity. I am to open it up and let them have a look around as if my head were no more than a trunk and I was attempting to smuggle it in over the border. Imagine for a moment a handful of triangles made of a material that sticks readily to felt. I suppose that material is probably felt as well, but I can’t be certain. I didn’t pay attention when that chapter was covered. Each triangle circles the other in an intricate pattern, the whole of it resembling in numerous aspects the workings of the universe itself, or at least that portion of it we find ourselves occupying at present. The movements are stiff and erratic, the triangles frequently jumping from one place to another far away without occupying any of the intervening spaces. It’s as if they don’t believe in the laws of arithmetic that wind up making all the other laws possible. Those that keep you glued to the armchair instead of floating about near the rafters, those that say when you can and can not purchase bonds from whichever agency or institution is charged with making bonds available to ordinary citizens. There’s really only so much of this we can take before we too are turned into the sorts of entities that orient themselves neither skyward nor toward the smell of clover but simply revolve around themselves indefinitely, shutting out all stimuli that arise from the environment around them. All light and every cymbal crash, every glance in your direction meant to communicate something you can’t quite put into words, but which you know the meaning of as surely as you know the meaning of a white flag flying unattended in a field full of artillery pieces. Or someone’s clearing his throat at the precise moment you have decided to speak.

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