Minds, Bodies and Other Problems
Deliverance as motivation made an
equation. Deviation"I wanted my body
outside of my body"tamed the pale city.
Later or earlier or sooner or never,
the beginning tumbled forward. She licked
his breast as their telephone oozed
into the sink. Together, they spoke
a language of the gutter, the sewer,
the hedge maze, the burning hair.
I could no longer intercede
between phenomena, I could no longer
trespass between fire and fire, I could
no longer long for martyrdom, or get
under the skin of today's pop song.
As in a dream, the cherries drip their stain
into damp flesh. Fire engines fade
into the pulsing distance. The grimy family
lies heavy under the blossoming tree
where the child tottered forward
with little breathless steps.
Disappearance comes primly, in a
single bite or bound. The dense forest
subsumes the broken house, leaving
a residue of yellow plastic toys and
children's games. This is the moss-eaten
attic, scene of the primal scene.
The man's dark back twisted against a
sensationary blot. Betrayals amidst
the strains of 'My Inflatable You.'
Driving with finality, rocketing through
shabby neighborhoods in permanent twilight.
A poem of resistance and resurrection,
this is not. The connection of the disparate,
from flashing chrome to crashing
chromosome, this is not. The fingernails
of a startled blackboard's dream, this is
not. An insect's speedy crawl across
an ocean of white wallthis offers
no entry into the mind's
machinations and gyrations.
The worm wriggling inside the
green grain of a cerebral apple
whispers, This is not what it was.
An interloper's schism, a plaintive scrawl
or mewl, a way of reaching into the body's
soft cacophonythe list goes on and on.
Yes, my poor prisoner, yes, it is too much
for us. The lens snaps away at us. The frame
struggles to embrace us. Pleasingly wrong,
our mental exhumation resumes. The scan clicks
on a villain, lost in his own limelight, as
a crackle of sparks annuls the screen.
Laughter and greed were his corroded
calling cards. A spotless scenario, he
thought, until the jazzy unraveling
spun him around like a top. They paraded
that thing hidden in his bottom drawer
around the office, sneering. What did
he call it, his secret shame? A human
travesty, a laugh-track played backwards
at earth shattering volume, and he was
on the run, flapping in his big coat.
In your pockets, all the little broken
pieces never to be fit together again.
A blank canvas smeared with your jovial
ancestors, the terrifying ape-like visage
reflected in the mirror. Your trail of
corrosion easily picked up by the monitors.
Betrayed by popular culture, like Robert
Redford in Three Days of the Condor. And yet,
you had never been happier, not on the see saw,
not in the metal swing, not in the sand box.
No, you had never been happier than in this
unendurable spot. Big chunks of your life
collapsed on the sidewalk, the buildings
atrophied. Your pursuers backed off in disgust.
The woman was named Mary or Susan and she
had a way of talking out of a flap in the
side of her mouth that reminded you of
all the people you had met before. On her
bureau, you left your smoking gun. Was that
fair? She had so much to tell you before
your money ran out and the curtain closed,
but you were beaming in messages from other
cultures, and clutching your way of life
in a plastic bag. "My mind is like a
plastic bag," she sang wistfully as you left.
It was the way your father always told you
it was, with his massive beard flying and
his teeth sending out sparks: "Son, in the end,
my dreams all descend into black sound."
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