it is as if we don't know
how water won't be wrestled
with, slips through
fingers fills in bottoms
of holes dug in sandboxes, counts
lines across tree stumps
stumbling over roots & creekbeds
now downhill always down always
to meet the horizon or someday
far in the future
school bus yellow & black
& yellow the seed
pods filled to bursting, a hive
abuzz & humming a dish-
washer tune which is shipwreck
or something like it with their craned
necks & brilliant manes, hollows
of shells, beaches
against which foam brushes
or recedes, dappled
flicker of light through branches &
limbs sway, dance
of leaves tumbling end
something undulates through
tall grasses or
lone path that ribbons out towards a wooden house or edge of water
over here, a way in where speaking is
nose pressed against throat, brow against jaw-
line. moments printed in protein chains, precise
calibrations of neurotransmitters
scene out of a spy movie where the hero is given some fixed allottment of time before his instructions consume themselves in a wisp of smoke
Even in retirement, the old detective wants for work: a mystery to be solved, riddle to be untangled. Order cobbled together out of alleys & doorways, promises of cut teeth & anesthesia. Scans newspapers for samizdat encoded in want ads or Craigslist or chess problems: every position examined, each possibility considered, rejected, whittled down. Nothing else for it then. Show the photograph around:
D'you recognize the gent in the picture, sir and/or maam?
But it's useless. No one wants to give an answer & anyone willing doesn't recognize anything, recognizes only slyly, out of the corner of the eye, the same way you might try to sneak up on an optical illusion, catch both vase & faces in profile, all at once.
It will dawn on you in retrospect, the sun slowly lifting over the horizon, red-handed, the best way to catch a truant. Blunt glow of morning powering its way onto the scuffworn linoleum. Chiaroscuro of shadow puppets. Drama played out in silence in which the first act presents us with a tree, its limbs bare, but by the curtain call, dead leaves are strewn all over the place & they won't remember his words, the meticulously chiseled pieces, insides hollowed out & bolstered with something shiny. Crushed beetles, maybe, seaweed damp seeping in at the edges of the unkempt path lined with wooden fences & peeling paint.
Already, the castle begins to look top-heavy, parapets ready to topple over into the tide pool moat where now & then something inky spills out but no one's sure if the bridge is about to give or a family of octopi are fleeing a predator. Still, what could induce such formidable cephalopods to flee?
How you really know except for being told by someone which is to say by reading what's been typed or written down interrogated the author & what else he or she knows that's been kept from you or maybe the evidence has been there all along & you haven't read as closely as you'd liked to question certainly everything addressed from a position of skepticism & at what point such a stance becomes paranoid delusion & certainly a painting could be hanging in the gallery if one wishes it to that shows a cluster of broken bottles glistening green & orange by a newly lit fire themselves fire certainly & bottles probably fictional as the painting itself only something about the brushstrokes maybe an anxiousness or intensity otherwise it should be most unlikely that they would be connected at all & even if one sketches out the connection that hardly makes it true, does it? Well, if one wishes it to. Still, it may be a matter of debate. It may be still light out or growing dark or it may already be night lit only by the moon hanging its pale glow low brushing tops of trees & smoke winding up from just beyond the hill which may or may not be a house or fires or maybe both maybe a house on fire & damp clothes drying by its side or remnants of a library caught aflame biographies and children's books burning up all of which cannot be seen
Fifty-two. The number
of cards in a standard
deck of playing cards, of weeks in
the year spent in that wooden
cage, eleven & a half feet by nine feet by
eight without language
& present, she is younger, too to be thinking of a legacy, but that is what you do when they gather up your papers & pictures & put them on display, this life which is motion which is breathing which locks eyes & fixed gaze unwavering does not waver she never wavers only you waver & wilt under lights where the pinhole does not pin, shutters will not fix how their vaunted thousand cannot hold the head, once shaven, now bristling,
passage of time.
What one should always do or what one should never do, a recipe
to propagate the game. One: be silent. Two: no movement.
No putting anything on the table.
"Look, sir," answered Sancho Panza, "those which appear yonder are not
giants, but windmills; and what seem to be arms are the sails, which
whirled about by the wind, make the millstone go."
"It is very evident," answered Don Quixote, "that thou art not versed
in the business of adventures."
littered our old koans I'd
never guessed, inkily, never
wanted any rendered
borrowed ruses, owed words
still reading another
everything dims and night
drinks every vision, every
echoes on the highway, each road
left alone now gathers under a growing
enthusiasm in new systems inside
systems the engineers now transform
deliberately rattling its velvety inside
new gardens I've never stepped
in delivering excuses
did I lose all those edges, Dulcinea?
ever vigilant, every night in new gutters, surrounded now in great
heaving thoughts stumbling about