Three Poems


There was nothing but days. Seven
Box stores set along the broken way
Filled with generation. And the people
Came to each as the other six days
Of being amazed. At first thirty or so,
Not enough to survive in
Or anything else. Enough to run

The first person through a face
Surrounded and brought comparison.
A month cut and paved with squares
So Sundays could occur, free to keep
If you like such things. The main point
To be coming home or leaving it
Led on by a promise of signage

Into fluorescence and particle board,
Coated wire, sugar, smart and self-
Circulating waters, heated cups,
Mountain men in a world without
Mountains. Hidden hours broken
Toward then against but little in the way
Of raw materials. Convenient the trap-beds,

Convenient the house shakes if
The truck is full. Privately they
Brought the head to be heard but it
Counts for nothing while alive. Instead
No voice said here are companies,
Cut flash, instruments designed
To produce inviting distances; we won’t

Reject you, you’ll be heard both
Coming and going, sit down and eat,
Come apart and gather in, ask what is
Tolerable, a house the purse far time
Passes. They said it asleep in tombs,
Both sorry and pleased items went
With them to the next domain

But one. And they came to fall,
The days, like gifts without sense. Within
There was nothing but deaf coast, heads
On strings, bills for hands, a house
They were commanded to dream
Was missing nothing but more.
And they were good at substituting

Surnames for possessions, night for day
Cycling past with its messenger bag,
All things published or possessed
In a kind of recirculation seen by any
Everyone. And since the face is made
Of little warm circuits, half-real
Charities friends rely upon, sleep

Now flows like electrical current.
So mechanical the calm about perishing
You’d think an order had been given
To assume the city was always there
In silent commute, and they took to the maze,
Rotating through assaulted exchange
What they could say any of them would.


Christopher Smart


The ecstatic can visit even in prison
And prison isn’t limited. One is
Sent mostly against one’s will
To a less than ideal place, in the ring
Structures of the body electrical
Impulses play about internally,
Uncaring there isn’t conservation
Of mental matter. For every choice
Another that could go missing,
Never to be thought of. I’m talking about
How economically night descends,
How rapidly the opportunity to praise
Becomes a stilling in inventory. And
How easily a stance breaks, why
Among the captures made at night
You mistake stray sounds for small feet.
Nothing but mistakes to make,
Themselves taken for investments
Proceeding from decades or more
Of experience with trackable motion
In the form of a not yet elegy
Padding about the house. Though innate
Your grammar suffers where it obeys
The senses, which are not the final
World on the matter and seem to fail
In a time outside space. Maybe it’s always
When, not if, as the term begins
Ticking, looking for affinities,
Cat being one whereby the world is
Forgotten among acrid intuitions.
It was a garden judgment, that she’d live


A certain amount without ceasing
Then go stopped glass
While nothing else did, so there is
The problem of pertinence, of making
Sure a name is marriage comedy
While also making certain ritual
Is no longer the pertinent question.
Say she let you be for her, though few
Were admitted to the commission
Of her sound. Say it was enough
To constitute a vertical hymn
Everybody could almost agree
Hovers over the smallest being,
Tailored and active, sensible
Through the unreal jacks of the face.
Stare long enough and you can see
The arbitrary relation between
Love and its object, the dais of daisy
Spinning within benevolence.
The two have a strong relationship,
They cry out at each other as in
The history of two orphans,
A musical crash that allows one to
Stay all summer in a new place.
Immediately you feel you have it
You’re thinking again of the future,
The moment’s lost its pentothal
And with it electricity has one fewer
Home. Water under flowing glass,
If you want to live again
Put the prefix where the suffix goes.


Second Intensity

I stood in Pound’s fake spring 100 years
Later, pessimistic the continuous
Renovations are really for us,
Mistaking thinking this for joining

A tradition of finding each other
Through laments we’re unavailable,
Bad light on the chambered face
Anonymous as a pomegranate.

Translation: I took the underground
Ferry to the past while waiting
For a train, pretended I could count
Mosaic, tally the work they had done

In navy and cream tiles for the three of us
Then five ranged along the platform
Never satisfied with being
A general petal of our privacy.

Observation: it’s embarrassing
Still to be using this system, antiquated
As reading a newspaper or using
The semicolon, looking into a face

Rather than at it; and the oldest thing,
Talking silently to the other strangers,
Which I’ve been doing seven minutes
Now into a lack of encouragement.

Anyway: in a can’t-win world
I hear you out against dull roar
As the minimum of sustenance
Though you aren’t exactly talking

But somehow enough while seeming not
To be anywhere close. We met once
Or was it every time, hard to say
When the crowd closed its eye, the door

Opened onto stations slick
With succeeding. You grew accustomed
To light below ground, somewhere between
Tradition and addiction as it makes you

Legitimate again. It’s like the last time
Never ended and you forgot
To be more than looped postures,
Temporary lights in their yellow baskets

That when you look at them are the eyes
Anything is, the eyes we bring
To spring’s green stanchions unaware
They’re become or becoming

Part. And forgive me for adding you
When you’re just the faintest example
Of empire stress at the other end
Of the poem, with the F due in two minutes

While you lean against the freshly painted
Faith it will come, water in the tracks
Patient as a rat. There are so many
Of you, that’s what right now means,

Chances lost before their apprehension
Yet all the same continuing.
You get the feeling your being at risk
Doesn’t require a definite event,

Could close back down into routine
Like being bathed and carried once was.
Now you’ve gone from remembering
Not having to ask for that care

To walking down worn out steps
With a soft dip in their middle
Without much of a protest.
You shouldn’t be able to

Be here where everything is out of place
And even variety looks typical
But there is no making things
Happen faster. It’s the opposite

Of dreaming except that objects
Are alive and episodic, connected
By comforting blurs. And just the two
Of us now, alone with the signs for scar

Repair and jobs on the force. I watched you
Ignore them all at once, do it
Like a veteran, shaking without moving,
Then forgot myself in the same way.