"the earth vibrates and we get wet//little red leaves fall//breathing on my back (spine) trying to enter me //like I am a door// like I am a room only, like I am-- //through all of the embers//enders//end//end-ings//memory again curses, pulses//revolts the inner workings of the human clock//tickticktick//tock//a bomb going off each time your chest contracts."
As if somnambulist.
As if walking off the cliff
with arms outstretched,
eyes closed. As if
somniloquy: out, out—
our usual discussion.
Goldfish thrashing about
all night. Eyes open,
unblinking. As if lucid.
As if we know how
the sun reveals us: pellucid,
beneath the ice. Mouths
open. Wide open.
Sonnet for The Fool
I am the me in mine own story:
one step away from cliff, a handkerchief
hung on a stick. Stray dog, I’m you. You’re me,
so deeply leap, your whiskers so! Try this:
deal six cards to the dog. Le chien, the kitty,
a face-down pile: the valet, cavalier,
the dame and roi. Don’t forget moi, say me.
I’m your excuse, your guard against the way
that zero multiplies. As zero, I
rule no one yet I’m equal to the king.
No fooling, no u-turns. The joker’s wild,
out of the game. Talk about trick-making!
I count me in & on each hand, unspoken
triumph: never taking, never taken.
Leaving Texas Sonnet (II)
Who knew we still had gold-
mines? Altitude-sick, we’re cold
in the throes of spring. Call it high.
Call it yours, call it mine:
the sandwich between us
on the seat. Jesus-
streaks, the storm clouds part.
A tunnel straight into the heart
of the mountain. Beloved,
there is no mountain, only
paper cut-outs. Each one casts
a layered shadow higher than the last.
If this were your last day on earth
what would you do? Repent, and pray.
Three sparrows on a wire.
No weighty portent, this.
I search mosquito bites, my mumped-up face
for signs. Last year, before
our trouble started, you said:
Scarlet parrots with emerald eyes
escaped from the pet shop, perhaps,
an aviary at the zoo,
or the cynical widow’s window box,
feral now, unfurled
upon the city’s twilit shoulders.
Raucous cries commute their gorgeous warning.
But now the only sound to heed, the folding
of road maps in my lap. Listen:
Don Skiles & Peter Cherches
Days Lost To History With No Eyewitness
Small moments. Places once lived, streets the once familiar routine of someone else’s days. Would it be an epic night, then? A Hank Williams June night in a high school gym in some small Arkansas town circa 1952? There was a motorcycle--a Ducati--parked in a thick scattering of fallen leaves, reds, especially, every hue from a deep, rich wine, crimson red to a soft fading pink. It was a time for one of those small moments, when a woman walks out of a pizza on a warm, humid summer night. Or was it a piazza? Most people are traveling endless highways looking for somebody they left behind. A look, a glance in the street, from someone you don’t know, never did, and never will, hanging like a guitar chord in the cold night air. A song, late at night. Never come back; never return. Cold, Cold Heart.
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