Saturday, March 19, 2011

299. A Few Sketched Words

careworn tenant [and the tenancy of comforts
my southern view affords] wind comes in
through the walls with a buzzing [what little mouse
might live here high enough to eat the wind]
having given every spadelike piece of every puzzle
out to these ficklehanded dreamers [in, despite
the outside chance that not] made every orbit
surrounding the plundered earth [having squandered
every clear idea or recognition] paltry or pastry
[chastised and dispossessed] living in Schenectady
past the age of majority [what awaits the trilling
of spring is whatever has lived through the brunt
of winter] shunted to the side he was left alone
with his thoughts and oughts [n’t to] amid concerts
and a confusion of sounds [crosses and crocuses]
aligning oneself with the supermoon [you might
see your own shadow] whittle the thinnest slice
from the moon to see the brightest flake of light
[the splinter that burns] melting without meaning
melted [a catty night and howling] it is all too much
for sleeping [or letting the sleep encumber what
wakefulness you can walk into] tendencies are firm
despite their willfulness to slacken [what coruscating
idea might break free to light the sky] even if spring
might come it would do not good at night [fire given
enough space to flame and flutter] the creaking may
be walking or it may be the floor giving way [we
expect only what we know won’t happen as our
only way to trick the future into being] distant from
and more distant than [the crack was in her sense
of space] from this part of the universe I can see
everything visible from here [and it is a fireplace
and the glow of a screen] writing is the clearest
way of saying, requiring neither voice nor ear
[hand for mouth, eyes for ears] terrible events
took over the occupied world but we could feel them
only as memories, as if they had happened many
years before [and all the people who had just died
had died too long ago for us to feel pain any longer]
the dog howled in a way denoting sadness [aged
aged aged hound, too blind and deaf to smell]
can’t be a reason to write this letter except that
the writing memorializes an act of writing which
memorializes an act of thinking and being [what
occurs unmemorialized is the reading, are
the readings, exceeding the writing manifold yet
never receiving their due for making the writing
exist] the fire has the sound of water from a
small waterfall falling on rounded rocks [nothing
sounds like the thing it is] each log in the fire
hissing and burning red [then turning into black
and crunchy carbon] the difference between a light
and the reflection of a light is negligible but
I want to know [imagining that a person sliced open
for an operation, but only if cut into in the dark,
would shine a white light out of that body cavity,
illumination in slices of light] not sure the difference
between a peaty scotch and crankcase oil, at least
in smell [the body is a burden of scents] taking in
the folds of a sheet around a body preparing
to sleep and accepting the sense of taking in the
folds of the body, giant folds of skin, as if the body
were not solid but covered in flaps of skin [and
wrapping that skin around the other skin
of the body for warmth] tension in the back in
the form of dull continuing pain from sitting
wrong at a table and sketching or writing
for hours at a twist [only the results determining
the difference between a sketch and a writ]
light over my shoulder and light [arc of an unseen
breeze of warmth from fire] moonlight extending
to the moonwhite snow [darkness colder than
brightness, at least conceptually] living in
Schenectady for the last half of my life [asphalt
sidewalk swayed from the weight of footsteps]
imagine what cannot be seen [determined to
see only what cannot be imagined] lever that
might release the weight [sever as a way of
cutting it away] deliquescence [what sweet rot
would wipe us away] sap of the maple flows
smooth not syrup [sweet blood of the maple,
oh, the sweet and sweetest blood of the maple
bleeding throughout the night] we crave
the instant we learn what we really want
[the chalk outline resembled nobody I knew
but everyone I knew was already filled in
and that was in Tangier and many years ago]
I don’t know if that place is real any longer

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