finish your phrase: a temporary condition



Friday, April 11, 2003
you find yourself swatting black bugs up against
the white walls of a room you never painted...
a room you've never considered painting...
but these insects... very tiny moth-likes...
are dusty black and dot the wall...
not pale... quarter inch body prints
here... and there... smudged life...
make something of that... you poet... you lout


you weren't ready for permission... had expected a grim... a

quick... shake of the head... these paintings have such rich

color... they could not agree... and the flowers seem

so life-like... touch the surface... they dissemble...

they shiver in chilly spring pigment... ask for the secret

of such light... they pull from dirt... all this beauty comes from

stumbling among roots and worms...

tiny white bugs in the damp dark... heat...

and desire... blind enough... for the brush



Thursday, April 10, 2003
when a public signal calls us to the square and the band enters before the dignitaries, we remember what we had forgotten at home... some part of the whole is easier to retrieve... some whole more convincing than any part... the guns, the flags, the tears... a sublime "let's pretend" settles over the crowd... we have nothing better to do... some day we'll all be dead and then it will be too late... they say... but we had other work... somebody had to sweep the streets, wash windows, take out the trash


his manners were appropriate... the women smiled...

still something ragged around the corners of his certainty

jumped out front of the carriage of respectability... he

laughed when the doctor called for a month's rest...

"do nothing, sir... or risk the most dire consequence"

a nineteenth century figure... swoops up from some synapse...

no memory... no history... no reason... he will step his own path



Wednesday, April 09, 2003
suppose you got a good deal on this picture

and you called me up to ask for some background

but i wasn't home so you got my machine

but it wasn't working right

and only caught every fifth word... so

i heard... this....has... century... quick... in...

damn... figure... still... just... you... thing...

and so on... this would be our platonic cave

wherein all rests unglued... separated

from our bellies and hands... parts

here and there... us scratching our chins

while bats scurry out to the humid night



we sat around laughing at utopia's funny story while a light rain fell into our coffee and tea... everyone knew this would be the last day... we were making the most of it... a servant rushed in to complain about the brimstone... we ignored him as best we could... but a crack shivered into our faces ran down our necks divided our chests and so on down to each leg and the thick calloused soles... so we parted... waving thin fingers into the formless night


Tuesday, April 08, 2003
never enough light, oregano calls it... i had to pretend

a bit longer... still we never expected this chill... this cartoon

with our faces attached to gray bubbles spewing

black clouds of serenity through unknowing grins



coughing demands that you spend a day in france

where angels lift heavy boxes... for germany... this

is not political... this is a surprise beneath your bed

just a celebration between the wooden slats...

where justice, for once, has enough to do... and peace

flatters itself into believing the press... when suddenly

a kid turns on the lights and we scatter to dust



here in a dark place... all the books are closed

and cats wander with intent toward cold walls...

here you can taste the bitter white flowers springing

like beetles from the floor... here is a deep pagoda...

speak up... your friends will answer... each with

a kind and courageous figure... elliptical... or sudden




Monday, April 07, 2003
tell me more.. did it move when you kicked it... did it

let out a pathetic sigh and slide over like a woolybooger...

we need to know... our minister of finance has

a report to file... these things must be dead or alive...

they mustn't hover willy-nilly over the edge of some

possibility... there is no category for such behavior...

did it hiss a little when you prodded its snout with your boot



hurry up... there's a cat in the dungeon deep...

there's a small chance... a subtle hope... time

crushes all defeats and victories... look to the desert

sand mirrors... our faces have a terrible shadow there...

hurry up... it's almost time... for the equestrian gods

to stumble past... you wouldn't want to miss them



Sunday, April 06, 2003
no beginning and no end... something stays

caught like a silk scarf always blown up against

a rough fencepost... a romantic present... not this one

some other one... where three or four dancers

consider the floor... imagine the lantern light...

imagine the stiff instructions... the mistakes

of the audience whose performance never apologizes



we like to think they speed up to some mountain top or oak branch at least... where like gentle alternating breezes... circuitous... they mumble incoherently to each other...

some we think might slither down to the roots of plants... down further to underground rivers and black silence...

but we are sure they are not here anymore... their hats hang musty or fill boxes... their toys coagulate in the sun... their papers do not shine



Saturday, April 05, 2003
an alphabet strings us along... promising

more than any magic mirror... watch three birds

become irritable parents... the kids are always late...

turns us into careful people... precise with our utensils

our borders... our destinations... an alphabet

degrades the landscape... takes us aside

to point out the annotated rivers and shrubs...

stands with its back to the lake



this will not do. you can't appeal to their sense of justice because their eyes are not open. you can't demand that they turn back because they are golden orbs, pure light. everything hangs in the balance. your breath. your skin. your perfect ideas.

so stay here. sit still unsafe inside and wait. when they arrive accept their arrival with a nod. behind these doors. offer them your books. raise your paper hands in peace.



inadequate is unfortunate enough... but inadequacy moulders under old lumber like a wave of fire... coming to eat... coming to swipe the small intentions of your daily life... to swallow them down... not trying too hard... not concerned about choking or stumbling onto some hard irreducible bit... inadequacy hands him "the crusty brown loaf" and he's pleased to take it... and live in the moment like a street rat or a hesitant virus


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