Experiments (1)

in love one might collapse and embrase the round
of the earth or leap into some wide blue water
and seek out the gods of drowning

when the red smoke comes one might call down
to the rocks below and smile at the birds
restless as their angry wings

above the rise one might observe the jealousy of the sun
racing against the moon’s temporat gray
in the grass where ant shadows approach like fallen rain clouds

remember the heated or hot words, words like ice
in a closed fist, in fits of memory, remember
or remember the placards at the border

at the border that said love is hate in green letters
or hate is love, the sky at war with the slow penetrative stars
one might walk from one top to another mountain featherless

You, red bear, come down from the mountain
to sit at the rim of a yellow hole in the grass.
The bees circle
and the children climb
out the windows with caution.

In the city people make their windows
tight against the coming of the day.
You write a language
that can be read only in the leaves
circling slowly on the river’s back.

Is that love under your nails,
love the color of a star nova
beneath the leaves
in the evening when the towns
open their doors to the shadows
loud with crickets, fearing the city.

Maybe the cave woman
had you in mind
when she wrote a list in the stone
with ink made from crushed fruit,
things she would make days to come,
outlines of objects she brought
in baskets, bags, and boxes
that harbored the light and smell
of a world whose border is made
when day turns to night, Mexico
maybe, Iran, some other country
where chickens run when the rain falls
or when the ground goes
luminous gray under eclipse.

In the open country where a million
suns flood the hills and fill
the meadow bees with aches
for honey and wine, fear
in you diminishes into distance,
the sunset bones of the tree
limbs and the drip of water
on cave glass where dark
reflects dark and presses
to the walls to hang and shake like bats.

The children cry when you, bear,
rise and follow the lower leaf line,
lumbering to the road.
They want to ride you. They want
to make themselves whole.

The print your hand makes in the grass
is the memory of the red bear
whose thoughts go to sun
and starburst, a yellow leaf
turning on a river toward the sea.

(Sonnet 2012)
dim orange sunlash on the thick treegnarl in late August
marking the times, maybe when war comes soft
overland or on ships wet and windbeaten and crying at the joints,
blanket soft on the chest of the hungry, the insane,

or those resting who dream of fists and winning
hungry for winter to come and cloud an enemy’s eyes,
while hard by the children blink, who will be
the second soldiers; is it warmer there where
the sun rubs against the skin of it, warmer
above and below the shadows of farther, imagined obstacles:
a limb miles away, a neighbor’s fence, a distant cross, maybe,
where the lucky light comes through, a soft orange mark in August:

will I ever see a world where continents crack
together, where words are made thicker than blood.

from the tree in my backyard it is possible
to watch air move over the skin of New Mexico
Arizona Texas and Mexico but from the tree
it is impossible to identify or judge
the identity, flavor, or crimes of any individual
grain of sand

from the tree in my back yard, from a thick low limb
I reach down and pass my fingers across the spines
of a dog’s reaching nose, a dog we know, and from whose
master I often receive a wave of greeting or of goodbye,
a dog who wags his tail and tries to climb the trunk
of the tree but can only tear off small strips of bark

from the tree in my back yard
he avoids the understanding that moves with the thought
that I’ve already lost attending, that I’ve moved to follow
a thought both pink and lacy at the edges, that I could climb
higher and push my fingers into the air above the tree,
reach still farther, reach, so that the bones in me
become the fingers of ancient trees

the tree in my backyard that crawls across the patio every day
like slow moving dreams of crows

where I once saw a doe, a bear, and something else red
swoop in and leave where, one moment later, I decide to make the climb.

100: coma, interlude 23


my mother is fond of the claim:
gardens, time, gardens time.
Yes, she would say,
tomorrow, will another garden be.

In Richard Three:
“. . . our firm estate,
When our sea-walled garden, the whole land,
Is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up”

which was, she said,
the last thing she heard him say.

I was under a tree, she said,
snipping things.  That’s all.
And he, she said, was up the deck
directing, shouting,
saying things like:
I’ll get it all back, I heard,
I’ll go the neighborhood
getting all my stuff back.
And then he quoted Richard,
on gardens or something.
Richard and then he just quite,
closed his eyes,
and went to sleep.

and that’s what
she told after I opened
the door to her
standing there,
with her little hands
closed into balls.

99: coma, interlude 22


sometimes pauses come
at awkward periods.
In this case the thought
of my father closing
his fingers
around the guide bar
of the saw
before the chain
had a chance to stop

followed my hand to the door
knob soon after the soft knock
came and the silence behind
the door as I reached
to turn it brought terror to me,
a momentary electricity

and I drew my hand back,
wondering why
the image, the terror
for such an everyday procedure.

why now, with Lucy gone,
everyone gone,
my father at home
my mother at home?

why now?

98: coma, canto 37

canto 37

and so I told
her I would wait
and she said
wait for what:
for love,
for sex,
for companionship,
for the presence of me
among the Meadows
where I grew flowers
and made friendships with the ducks?

henry and Lucy
took me for drinks
for consolation,
something frothy
in a glass,
while Cruz and his girl friend,
Maricela, sat nearby
and told me stories
about Texas
they knew
differently than I,
consoling me
for my losses
and how they accumulate.
Consider, Cruz said:
the story of the painter child who
covered the whole sheet in one color
and as things accumulated
other marks emerged
on the canvas
of things,
how the names of things,
Maricela broke in signify
the deeps of memory,
as if every whale underneath
was given a name
and you must remember them
as signs for events
in the world,
such as the gray whale
with the image of a man
on its back
is significant
for its memory
of Imelda
and Cruz said,
the white whale,
the little one beside
its mother who
has a horn on its nose
for tearing through ice,
is significant for its
memory of this conversation
or a character named May,
who hates
eating apples
because they hurt
the hand she uses to hold it,
and so, Maricela broke in, the deep
whales, the whales under us,
become the translucence
of the memory of us,
who we are,
as you are or were with Imelda,
what might have been,
and what wasn’t
but was urged for anyway.

my father,
I said,
hasn’t a grand enough
net to secure
his memories
of what wasn’t
but was urged for anyway.
I think maybe
I should just disappear.

you can’t disappear
to him, Lucy said.

lord, not now, I said.
Ah ha, Henry said.
He does come in handy, then,
for your linguistic sporting.
but the thing is, I said,
there is no sport
and sometimes the wind
howls through us, Henry,
and the words we speak
are like fallen leaves
crisping the yard grass
and glutting the watergrates
on the road
and sometimes
what moves through us
is an underground train,
some dark speeding hulk
of smoke and metal grind,
manufactured tonnage
motioned by oils
and fires and glass
smeared by passing images,
and sure, sometimes, I wish
I could be the superspeaker
who convinces all of the reasoned path,
or leaps in with food for millions
of the starving
or bulletproof skin
to advance against the pirates,
with hands large enough
to cup the falling planes
and land them without violence,
and sometimes I wish
I could buffer
that town against wind
and flood or sand storm,
or use my mighty lungs
to suck the CO2 excesses
from our black skies,
or use my massive network
to work against the corrupt
and the insane,
or, like that Bones
with his futuristic helmet,
maneuver through the gray
matter and put those broken
neurons, like the tangle
of trees after storms I’ve known,
back to electronic rights,
but no, there is no sport
like that, but imagine
the power of doing it,
image the man of steel
scattering all the enemies
to everlasting fucking hell,
image the disweaver
of dreams and how
truly small we are standing
against the universe’s
evershifting center,
or image me this:
I, who lift this glass
of froth, can do little
else but drink to his friends
and to their health
and hope that tomorrow
he and she and you
will be there and that the sun
will rise and the moon will turn
and that we under them
will simply be under them
intact and sound, of right mind,
and not so miserable
with one another
that we can’t raise
another froth
to the sky
and say

97: coma, canto 36

canto 36

we had conversation
where our boxes
gave us every other
word or several
other words redacted
so that what might
have been:
When the sun rises
when the sun rises
the night turns tail
and the bushes
and the corners
of the buildings
and the silver fenders
of the automobiles
emerge and the men
and women and children
appear to me as people
I once knew
but no longer knew
and the children
are men and women
and the children
I knew as children
have children
of their own.

When the sun rises
when the sun rises
the night turns tail
and the bushes
and the corners
of the buildings
and the silver fenders
of the automobiles
emerge and the men
and women and children
appear to me as people
I once knew
but no longer knew
and the children
are men and women
and the children
I knew as children
have children
of their own.

and what might
have been:
I’m back home
now, as the border
was a mess
and the guards
turned suspicious
of me on both sides
and the Dominionist
lost his way
one day
and it is told
lost his ears
to gun fire
on his travels
for preachings.
And Lucy comes
and goes
and my mother is
as my mother is
and my father is
as my father is
but called
and asked that Lucy
return the things
she’d taken,
the very day I returned
I found her coming and going
and weeping
because he’d called
and not quite in an accusatory
rage but she claimed
as a tempest behind
his teeth, saw blades
grinding into his tongue,
accused her of absconding
with mere bibles
but that they were his
just the same
and that one day he woke
to a world full of thieves,
and he said it had all been
my fault bringing these thieves
into his home
and he suffering the indignity
of coma because of me,
Lucy telling me
my father telling her
my fault it was, all of it,
from the start,
and where were his things:
his books,
his tables,
his tools,
his pingpong table,
his oldfashioned lamps,
all gone, stolen,
and what will I read with
and what will I I read on
and whose fool idea was it
to give all his stuff away
for a legend, for a myth,
for the greatest quakery
of the ages

became to Imelda,
so far away, on these phone lines
not quite so trustable:
I’m back home
now, as the border
was a mess
and the guards
turned suspicious
of me on both sides
and the Dominionist
lost his way
one day
and it is told
lost his ears
to gun fire
on his travels
for preachings.
And Lucy comes
and goes
and my mother is
as my mother is
and my father is
as my father is
but called
and asked that Lucy
return the things
she’d taken,
the very day I returned
I found her coming and going
and weeping
because he’d called
and not quite in an accusatory
rage but she claimed
as a tempest behind
his teeth, saw blades
grinding into his tongue,
accused her of absconding
with mere bibles
but that they were his
just the same
and that one day he woke
to a world full of thieves,
and he said it had all been
my fault bringing these thieves
into his home
and he suffering the indignity
of coma because of me,
Lucy telling me
my father telling her
my fault it was, all of it,
from the start,
and where were his things:
his books,
his tables,
his tools,
his pingpong table,
his oldfashioned lamps,
all gone, stolen,
and what will I read with
and what will I I read on
and whose fool idea was it
to give all his stuff away
for a legend, for a myth,
for the greatest quakery
of the ages

96: coma, canto 35

canto 35

at the border fence
I walked west for a time
or so
or so

went back east
through fierce-looking bushes,
in and out of which black
meat-eating wasps
threaded their orange wings,
and on their branches
seed hulls like skeletons
hung rattling
in the winds
gritty with sand.

then west again, scrapping
my shoulder gainst the chains
and using my eyes to peer
deep into what Imelda had called
Mexico, all the while guards
in their green uniforms
watched me come west,
go east,
west, east,
west, east,
and I swore
my shoulders began to bleed.

on the other side of the fence
people sitting on wooden crates
watched me. I called out in Spanish:
have you seen Imelda?
Do you know where she lives?
A man said, who was very far away:
I know where she lives,
but I knew he was lying.

in the hotel I met
a dominionist
by poetical chance,
with long fingers
and an eye good
for spying godlessness
and good beer
who told me it was useless
to sneak in, useless to sneak
through the fence
for the love of anyone
cept the lord.
Your lord, I said,
the one with the fangs?
The feeder of the hungry?
It on the off chance?
Is it on the other side of the fence?
Mine doesn’t have fangs
but if you mean by that
the sharp teeth of truth
I’m with that, he said, drinking.
I told him that wasn’t
it at all, rather, I said:
I’m with the liars;
one of the demons,
who’ve taken over the country,
though I don’t feel I’ve
taken over much;
one of those reckoned
for the vat of purification.
I observed all that, he said:
but, oh, you needn’t fear.

how big is Mexico?
I asked this dominionist.
I guess you could walk
forever down there, he said.
Why down? I said.
Because it’s down there,
he said, pointing outside.
And that’s where she is,
he said, and I’m afraid
that’s where she’ll
have to stay, and you, sir,
can do nothing,
nothing at all, I’m afraid,
about that.

it’s true, he said,
just as god will soon
govern these united states,
all these civic dividends,
formulations, and transactions
and just as soonly Christ will return.
You’ll be waiting a long time,
I said, but hopefully not as long
as I, I said.

she called me later,
said she was in a car,
a van then a bus then a train
and that the night significant
outside her black windows
was as deep as the sea
with a light here and there
and then no lights
then many many lights
in the distance,
evidence, she said,
of a city approaching.

95: coma, interlude 21


it’s often the case
one doesn’t know
who one’s with.

for example, once
I slapped a roach
off Henry’s shoulder
but it was a skin roach,
a roach construed
of melanin and the tree
shadows convening
on the lake shore,
some outing time,
some autumn, maybe.

it’s likely, I said,
that a roach’d fall
from the trees and land
on your shoulder
and that out of goodness
I would use
my hand to slap it off.

in the tree dappling,
in the strange play
of onioncolored light on the water,
in the oddest formations
of the freckles of him
he became a monster
there, watched by me,
an alien eating
hamburger, chips,
watching me with green eyes,
an elephant nose on his forehead,
an albatross wing cross his cheek,
his green eyes watching me
as green eyes would watch,
spying a devil appearing
out of myth
to watch him back with brown eyes
in staring match,
watching for things to emerge.

all while the future
accreted in some stinking future
pool, waiting
to crawl out on fins
and seed the world
with woe
out of their little
pumping asses.

94: coma, interlude 20


I said
and felt a long rectangle
extend out into gray space
where I had yet to reach
but hoped to reach

and imagined
a nightwing moth
coming to the bush flowers
and the other flowers
I used to watch
where the moth
would visit
and the leaves
and the flowers
would reach erect
to touch
its soft withy tongue
in an expression
of pleasure, night pleasure,
reaching, a strange
romance of the natural
where the edges grow sharp
behind the moth blur,
and the light grows dim

and I wonder at the law
and its incipience,
taking things away,
but making beginnings,
where I disappear,
under the moth wing’s quiet,
like a hum, a silent buzz,
like that time I touched
a spider in its wed,
just to touch it,
and it turned to my finger,
grasped it with its little eight legs,
and hung on for dear life.

93: coma, canto 34

canto 34

and Lucy was provided for,
coming in with a bible,
a study bible,
another bible,
colored red,
a Jerusalem version,
and lessons on the real
creator of the universe
in pamphlets,
given her,
she said,
by my father.

with a smile?
I asked,
and she smiled.

she sat at the couch
and put these things
on the coffee table
which is not poetic,
more poetic was that
borrowing of my
recently bought
computer, which was like
a piece of notebook
paper, and, seated at the couch,
she leafed through the creation
pamphlet, then poked
at my new computer,
like a piece of thick paper.
I watched her tap
and turn, turn pages, read,
then go to tapping
and reading from the screen,
watched her from my station,
where my monitor
wrote poetry about money
and more more money
and slippage here
and slippage there,
and spoke poetry
of the economies of things,
of value,
and I watched her then go
to the red bible,
which she read,
then tapped again at my
new computer,
so much like a piece of paper,
or, perhaps, more poetic with prosody,
like a slim stack of pieces
of paper,

and this became annoying
so I asked her, I asked Lucy,
What are you doing?

she showed me lists
on the microblogging app,
inside which another app
told her where soandso
had just arrived
and more soandsos
arrived, places I knew,
cafes, schools, businesses
local, close, far,
the app declaring
where this and that person
was, informing Lucy
who was where and where
soandso was in real time
and she said: So I tell Ned,
I tell James, I tell Jimmy
and then they know
where soandso isn’t,
do you know what I mean?

I said: You can’t be serious,
that Ned, James, Jimmy,
who I know live underground,
know where soandso isn’t
because you tell them,
and this is how you manage
your affairs, and Henry,
does Henry know.

I swear I can be serious,
Lucy said, with her smile,
and her butter hands
tapping, and then she said:
I would love one of these.

the screen said that @. . .
had just arrived at a local cafe.
And now what? I said.
What do you do?
Now I text Ned, because I know
who that person is and Ned,
Ned who’s tall, Ned who has good hands
can visit where @. . . isn’t and borrow,
borrow this, borrow that,
knowing that @. . . is elsewhere,
she said, using the word
elsewhere exactly as conspired
by the makers of languages.

I rose (did I shake my head?
Did I dare inform Thor?
Did I dare call some authority?)
Instead, I answered the phone,
ringing like some interposing
glassbreak, something stunning,
to Imelda, I watching Lucy
convey with her phone
with language her news
to James or Ned or Jimmy.

and Imelda said:
I can’t see you tonight.
I said: Why not see me tonight?
Because, she said, I’m going to Mexico.
Mexico, I said.
Yes, Mexico, she said,
because I don’t have my papers.
I never got my papers.
Don’t worry, she said,
it’s the second time, she said.
I said: what, what, what.
But, she said, I just wanted to say
I love you, but they found me,
they found me, but I do
indeed, in both Spanish and English,
love you.

all while in the background
the papers turned,
the butterfinger tapped,
and the butterfingers texted.

and I said
to empty air.

92: coma, canto 33

canto 33

look at all the water
surrounding you,
who would ask me for more?

look how your father
with the club of his hand
waves as the crowds
embark with that old fridge,
those book boxes,
crates of wine year-aged,
at the window you watch
with your mother,
who may or may not be weeping,
as a van departs with a mattress,
a truck with a couch,
several cars with his
downstairs electronics,
the hospital’s library van
with his store
of books on the history
of science, neurology,
and esoterica on subjects
phrenological, physiognomical, pathognomical,
for kicks,
and he will come
in when it’s all gone
and lay the bandaging
down on the counter
and it will push a coffee cup
a few inches until he remembers
to use his other hand
and he asks you the condition
of Imelda, Lucy, Henry, Cruz, Maricela
and you ask him
if he has in his intensions
deep for tomorrow to don
itchy Assisi robes, bound about the waist
by string, would he attend to the lepers
on the street corners,
would he divorce my mother
and remarry Lady Poverty,
and maybe the marring under those bandages
he considered another form
of stigmata, yes, that’s it,
mata mar, blood by god’s saw,
I can follow you over concrete
by the sandal prints you leave behind?

but he smiled.
The destroyer comes,
he said, the everskeptic.
My mistake, he said,
to have, I assume, overdrafted
you into the arcana of my science
and the stories which must, over time,
have come to sound absurd,
contradictory, the images,
the emotions,
my white room . . .

which interprets
something you disintend
to prove, I said . . .

. . . my white room,
he repeated, with his coffee,
with his wound,
my mother outside now
working to clean things,
examining some little destruction
to her beds,
the white room god gave me,
he said, and, no, he said,
if I have to answer you,
I don’t intend to follow the ways
of Assisi; I intend, rather,
to wander these rooms
and count, to deincrement,
to encounter the emptier spaces
and ask of him, What else,
in the way of the hard and physical?
And to perhaps wonder why
it is that you find me dishonest;
why you can’t take me seriously;
what that horror in you means:
jealousy, regret, maybe even a dose
of envy, that I have comfort,
that I have some amount of courage
little known to you, to let this world go?

I reminded him of his manic
disposition, that what I regretted
was the loss of his fingers,
that I regretted the loss
of his reason, point blank, I said it:
do you not recall that you
said you saw nothing,
that you woke with the severest
memory loss from deepsleep
and denied us,
that we learned to live
with your reckless quotation,
that we must learn to live
with whatever unanticipateable permutation
of you. What will it be tomorrow?
What will you cut off tomorrow?
What will you do tomorrow
that for humanity’s sake,
for filial sake, we’ll be forced
to live with, at your irresponsible
whimsy. You, I said, didn’t decide
to give everything away
just weeks ago for some devotion
that I can see as real: this,
father dear, is your brain
working some strange magic,
and you would’ve mastered
it in others, called it what it was,
prognosticated by method,
deduction, fingered the lists
of possibilities other.
Do you think I believe anything
you say or do?

and there was that odd
smile of the amputee again,
the smile of the believer
relieved of calculation or premises,
a gently swallow of the coffee,
the sun playing behind him
in the leaves like yellow
cloth wisps playing in wind.
He said, Back at you kiddo.
But I sense him close,
sense him calling, driving,
with your dead brother
there, too. Oh how the strength
of it is like a taste on my whole
tongue, young sir,
my tongue fat with his sauce,
with his herb and with his tang.

he stuck his old man’s
tongue at me and sucked
it back inside his mouth,
clamped it shut,
stood, and left the kitchen.

91: coma, canto 32

canto 32

until I improved.
But I wondered:
what would I do
if improvement never
came, which should
happen, according to the evidence,
and if death comes
who would find me?

maybe the sun
fears its own chilling . . .
but then I heard
a pol on TV call for mass prayer,
saying: god help us
because our problem
can only be solved
by your interventions.
Bring us water here
for the ground
is like a man’s mouth
who’s not had liquid for years
and his lips make the sound
of dry leaves;
his heart makes the sound
one hears kicking old tires,
crumbly in the junk yard.

I considered the risks of this.
Breathing better, listening
to the sandy sound
of my kidneys working,
feeling the bugs jumping
from my forehead to the ground.
What if the leader
asks for divine aide
and the request
goes unanswered
no joke?

I asked Lucy and Henry
and Imelda. Henry complained:
why do you bother? Would
you rather the dots on me
scramble into the cast of a heathen?
I don’t know, I said,
but it’s a reasonable question.
Why would the deity
intervene for the Pol?
And not all the others?
A good theory always
carries predictions:
we could ask: what is the likelihood?

why do you bother me?
Henry said.
It was my turn to grow stern:
Why is it a bother
and why then can’t my
friends marry, for this Pol
certainly intends to bother them
with his praying,
and did he not pay,
attend to, pay attention
in science class, enough attend
to know why it’s raining
now, outside, our own maddening rain,
which never quits?

it’s you who resents, Henry said.
Can you taste it, who has nothing
to resort to for comfort
other than a pill and contention?

resort is your word, I said,
and improper, I said,
as it implies resolution,
solution, something real;
resort would be fine
if I said: we shall resort
to walking a few blocks
for the gas that will make
our car go, as we know
this will bring resolution.
And if, I said,
the last resort came,
and we had no more resorts,
nothing else to imaging
but a prayer,
all the nuts and bolts
gone from the box,
all the springs used up
and we’ve eaten all our fingers,
and we’ve given away all
our sharp things,
read the last book
on the shelf . . .
but then I stopped
for there in the camera shot,
there where the Pol
had his flattened
his hand as all
serious prayer
is conveyed,
was a water
bottle, spring water
standing beside
his hand, as he had his
head down praying
and so his ignorance

look, I said,
it worked.
Water. It worked,
his prayer,
but his eyes are shut,
all he has to do
is open his eyes
and open the bottle
and make wise division
of the contents.
Imagine the deity, vexed,
I said, saying: Well, sir,
you never asked how much you wanted.
And by the way water
is in the very air you’re breathing.

90: coma, interlude 19


I saw two small wasps
having sexual intercourse
on my balcony wall,

but not much happened
in the periods following.
I grew ill, I had difficulty
perceiving clearly
whether it was on the wall
or not on the wall,
the shape of my hands,
Lucy sounds,
as she passed here and there,
with her quiet Lucy sounds,
sometimes in the dark,
as I lay unsleeping,
unwaking, the world turning
under me.

the streets stayed quiet.
I went weaker and withdrew.
The world at the edges grew blurry.
Blinking, the lids wend slower
down and up. And I waited.

89: coma, interlude 18

Oddly enough I could not remember anything else than the most elementary facts of my life.


I saw two small wasps
having sexual intercourse
on my balcony wall,

one on the top
the other beneath
the one on top
wriggling over the one
on the bottom, who
also wriggled
in a strange
small, energetic struggle

on their route
to light, according
to Vajrayana.

the wasps grew to one wasp
when I moved to the railing
then grew to two wasps
once more as I drew close
and watched them, small
vespids doing what vespids
do with small dots of pollen
on their shuddering forms,
I watched, until the one on top
finished and flew away
and the one on the bottom
flew away into the light
behind the trees.

did you find it fascinating?
the woman with the tulip cup
said, watching the wasp.

it was two wasps, I said,
having sex, mating.

I only saw you studying
one wasp or what I thought
might be a small stain,
the woman said.

that’s because from your
distance they appeared
as one wasp
or a small stain
but they
were really two wasps,
mating, having sexual

and you were watching them,
the woman observed,
but this time she held
a wine glass with red liquid inside.

yes, I said. I have a question,
I said. She said, What’s your question?
I’ve been living here a year,
you’ve been living here not too long
and I’ve never asked for your name.
It’s true, she said, you never have.

88: coma, canto 31

I walk outside on legs of fragile reeds.

canto 31

Henry had a bird on his hand,
that fluttered when he moved
his fingers through Lucy’s
hair now dyed red,
the color of the small bird
made by the discolor
on Henry’s hands,
while my father
wondered on his new bed
at the strange itch
in his knuckles
and my mother,
said to herself:
if I had just let him
give the thing away
goddamn you.

Thor taps on the glass.
He says: when I get out
I’m gonna cut off your
fucking fingers, too.
For fucking my Lucy,
for taking her;
I’ll hunt to whatever
lake you try to hide
in, wherever you go,
and I turned back to him,
where he sat
behind the glass,
his body lesser,
the hair cut to stubbing,
his big knuckle rapping
the glass again,
he said:
sorry about him, anyway,
he didn’t do nothing to me.

and I wonder
if I should’ve said:
it’s not me who’s touching
Lucy, fool, thief,
that in the koran
the hands, it is said,
may bear witness
against the user,
for what the hands make
will become evidence
of the maker’s making.

but I refused
to change the image
in him of Lucy and me,
me and Lucy because
I sensed a mission in him,
a mission to destroy me,
this murderer and thief
behind the glass,
perhaps not eating as well
as he was used.

I ask him how he’d been.
He says: should be obvious
in this place.
I told him
he’d probably
never see the sun
in the park,
the sun from the mountain,
the sun from a car,
the sun on the rise
or the sun on the fall
and that my father’s
hand was like a club now,
with just two fingers
remaining but somewhat
chewed up, healing though.

he said: taking your stuff
brought me bad luck;
because you’re cursed.
And now I’m here
and the trial won’t go well,
I reckon, he said.

no, I said:
the sun from your little
window is all you’ll know of it
maybe till you die.
He crashed the window, then,
hammering at the glass
with the meat parts
of his palm,
which is what the guards
had been waiting for, I assume,
for they tackled him,
subdued him,
and dragged him
and as they dragged
him he called:
I’ll hunt you
or hire someone
to hunt. Yes, hire.
Look for peace if you can.

days horribly wet
to come. In the showers,
persistent and loud out the windows,
my mother gave away, sold,
and hid all the sharp things,
the sheers and the knives,
the saws and the axes,
for fear of their chaos
and when she brought
my father home
she put him to bed
where he lay for sleeping
and closed the curtains
to mute the rain and thunder
crash, closed the door
slowly, and made soup.

87: coma, canto 30

canto 30

she said:
I froze, or, rather,
felt the muscles seize,
the same way children
might at the appearance
of a bus, a car, approaching
and the senses convey
swerve and soon, in the soonness
of immediacy, simple geometry,
and the impendingness of impend
ing crumple, blood, and shock,
the bus, the car will meet
and that the watcher is helpless
to act but hears afterward,
after the smoke and the crash,
and maybe a shout of godsaveus,
the voices say: don’t.

the world in its entirety changes.
the funny part being
other words she gave me,
a week before in the garage,
my father arranging all his things
to give away. My mother
followed him and said,
not that, not that, not that.
He said, all all all’s the only way.
For the god of all things
provides all and all is his.
Our ideas are his ideas.
Those algorithms have been made
by him already, snug in our
supple hemispheric curlups.
Not in my language, she said.
And especially not the garden barrels,
the sprinklers, the rakes and hoes,
the saws, my trusty old chainsaw,
small enough for one hand
on the trigger, for tight
maneuvers, when the snow,
if you recall, brings things
down and one after the other
we must clear the ground
and the path,
and he handed her the little chainsaw
that would a week later
so flummox his neurodoctor’s
hands, so flummock her voice.

still, they came with their stories.
They said: this and this and this
all free? No. He said: this is yours.
And this and this and this, too.
We lost our things in the crash, they said.
We’ve lost our jobs and have none
of these and these, these we
had to sell and so can get them
back for free? See our house
up the way, it’s not ours
but the bank’s,
then take this and this and this,
my father said,
but not that, my mother said,
who would hide
the things my father
forgot were not his to give
away, for how would they
heat their toast,
where would they rest
their coffee cups,
how will we watch the sun
go up and the sun go down,
hear the news,
light the reading room
where we read sometimes,
and how will you tap
out your letters and emails
if you give that away
and soon be asking to borrow mine,
and surely you don’t intend
to tie a wire
to conjoin two cans
for speaking at a distance?

but he demands all all all
and see all the people in the yard
combing through
this and this and this
and I had no idea
we had that and that and that
in the basement,
boxes of thats and thises,
racks of thisthats
and whatchamacallits
and see the people there.
We’d forget the needs of them,
suffering foreclosure,
jobloss, in their country
where the leaders
have gone to sleep,
the parents coming for a few toys,
the comfortless coming
for just a little of it, see?

she told me a few moments after,
she said, told me:
he said: he’s taken my fingers,
he’s taken my fingers.
He wants every part of me,
he does.

god, his fingers looked
like cruel little flowers
in the grass, suddenly grown,
and the blood down his arms
was the reddest red.