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

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