You lost yourself in a swamp and
didn't know what to bury.
In a room you couldn't see, sprawled on a couch,
hundreds of corporate sycophants sucked up
teeth and ankles, men and women, in threes.
A new type of angst was in the wind
it was pure genius, and in the drugged
wine of this quagmire it was all you could see.
Somehow you managed to measure the
milkwoman's backbone on the rug, but
all you saw was the purple flamenco
a ghostship coming in. You chased a
clergyman across the hearth,
into the sculptured peach tree grove,
past the wind schedule.
You tried to reproduce a discourse, to replicate
the history of flinching. It's done to perfection,
you said, like Hitchcock in a house of cards,
intimate. You reverted to Chelsea's noun theory.
In the room you couldn't see,
Chelsea's shoulders revealed a frame under attack
in a tub: blue dinosaurs floating beneath the
black-pupiled eyes of a night hunter.
The Crackup of Edward Peter
Edward hunched forward like an exorcized habit, raking
the beach with light. Quivering, he breathed out a sweaty gecko
with fractals, leaving the audience to infer the petty fire escapes.
One observer noted the cosmic modal in both clauses,
with the astrologist strangling the girl. The hands on the throat
were rounded by hot, tenuous auxiliary verbs. Murder was implicit;
her wrists were made of silicates or clowns. Her profile
bent backward, out of the ungrammatical iron, kicking and gurgling.
Edward fingered the pearled clasp at her throat. She resembled
a bagel more than a pancake, yet shrieked silent like a dissipated
friendship. In a show of strength she knocked over a lamp.
The cold got explicit, reading love or maybe sex into the struggling
silhouettes. Tiny dust particles left behind tense, aspect, and modal,
emptying as always their own birth. Warming at the door, it was Edward,
scrambling over the corpse, glowing with a less limited range.
Now the music swells, faintly audible.
A Sense of Tabitha
She would toss me into the afternoon like a miniature cobbler's certificate,
in the halcyon we shared before terminating us. All with a salty finger
snap. When I finished squinting, I found myself on a fogged river bottom,
calculating the esoteric ancestry of orchids, learning to wobble. It was
all a sham, even the nights we spent stalking mango breaths and locking up
our frenzied sponsors. When she proclaimed her brooding off-limits, I wept
at my blindness, neutralized my wits, and, in the end, turned slightly
stucco. Her genius for negotiating ice sculptures was severe: she could cut
a perfect yawning angel from an echo. I would get lost in her margins
between health and capitalism. I don't know what she was. She was a pistol.
She was not the sandman.
A Catholic Nightmare or a Chinese Miracle
The sky was knotted together like the greed of Saint Thomas. A sidewalk had
beaten the bitterroot salesman and awaited his confession. "It's like
this," he said, "my wife echoed twice yesterday before breaking apart.
I'm drunk as a newly-set candle, but I don't owe anyone anything." Several
street lanterns stopped slurping their tea to watch. Teeth were flickering
everywhere. The salesman promised his mirrors into the chaos, grasping
that charity was not forthcoming. He heard a dragging padlock, a retreating
footstep, and knew someone else had witnessed this wake for the truth. In
a parody of scraping, he buried himself in the gutter, waiting for a
redemption that couldn't, wouldn't come.
afterwards, wilderness as a chapel with living buttresses
discharging time into a gurgle of boggled words
after the passing of gentlemen, only a forest of signs
no one observing the lake with familiar looks
after long echoes intermix in the distance
the cosmos a fearsome, low-pitched disunity
vastness as muggy as life itself
after we answer with perfumes, colors, and sounds
and wrap our infant flesh in cool essences
silkiness like oboes, greenness like prairies
and, after the others, infected, rich, and triumphant
after the annexation of infinite things
amber, musk, benzoin, and incense
after we croon the undercutting of mind and sense
© by Steven Stewart