82: coma, canto 27

canto 27

in myths, one builds
an arc to save a family
as not many other forms
come to hand for maneuvers
just so: We’ll build a floating house,
Gilgamesh said, no,
come floods or great rains,
and it is known that my father,
to extend his feel, his sense,
his outlines and thicknesses,
smell, his longitudes
on the eastwestness of time,
would tell me coma stories
and fleck them with a vision
of the heaven of other stories
and I would listen from my bed
or at the dinner table
or in the back seat of our arc
(making for certain salvation places,
vacations, of course)
when such a story would come,
not always, not always, no.

yes, he would say,
the light reminded me of heaven,
the ventilator light, he said,
places of waiting
among the sounds
of waiting, like the silences
before the big rains,
like the brevity
of hushed air,
momentous and momentary,
under the flashfast
of lightning,
swallowed after suddenly
by atoms made angry by heat.

I have a friend,
a poet, who says,
write about walking
to grab the mail when bored.
But I said, isn’t poetry
the poetry of energy not the mundane?
He said he didn’t know.
And so, how to turn into poetry
giving everything away,
when giving everything away
is so like going for mail.

I could write:
giving all away is not so easy.
I could write: it’s not so easy
to give away a car,
the one in the garage
my father kept for instance
from the Sixties.
He doesn’t know where to start,
my mother said. I told him
start slow, start small, she said.
He’s trying, my mother said,
again, an example of which, one,
the poet, my poet friend, would say
is mundane enough for poetry.

Imelda told me she wanted a white house,
a small frame, white house out in the desert
somewhere, where she was from, a snaky
road to it, where the tires meet stone,
gravel, and the driver must stop fast
for tortoise and wait for hours,
but in such a place, no need is wanting
for the need to get there any sooner
than the tortoise,
for above that white house
is a canyon that cuts into the mountain
and water trickles down from a mountain spring
and falls into pools of water icecold
and waterskipper skimmed
in stone bowls
and continuing
into the sand
where it ends
and where
the white house

on a way home
(with this image: my father
writing a big black sign
with white letters that said: All Free!)
I stopped on the shoulder
of a bridge
and stood at the metal railing
and watched the million cars
go under me.

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