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Matchbook on the counter, jazz club:
Two parents met in the eighties
His hands inky, design, her eyelids too,
Construction. A house of cards, they say.
He’s alone with the matchbook, the counter
Glazed in uneaten frittata. Remember the Alamo,
It says. Each one a redwood in autumn, aflame
Abloom. His little fingers want to be black
Like his father’s, dusty like his mother’s womb.
He struck the giant along the desert, the burnt sand
Like he saw in Indiana Jones with acridity. Shivers
He in the primed supernova – heat is alive
In his fingers. Again – another inferno that warms
Each tugging sinew. It signals the birth of something
In his heart, the control of a trigger, a gruff chin,
Each hair a new cactus that shadows his desert face
Soon. He’ll push to a fiendish prie-dieu, pull fasteners
Loose, frustrated at purpose, tighten his throat, narrowed
By a widen chest. It’s the worst thing he’ll know
And it’s the only thing that he will remember.
It starts like this.
I detach from my galoshes to the Rorschach screens
Sent to me like the eyes of split barley made
To be lite. But it’s not that – it isn’t, it isn’t. It is
A friendly blunderbuss that forgets the rest of us.
How big? How much pleasure? I want to laugh
In the thick of it, but my wallet shakes a fever.
How big? How much pleasure? Don’t touch the receiver!
It’s for a night I’ll never forget that I can’t recall.
It’s for a Northern Exposure indoors, a winter fall:
So I can join the March of the Penguins. To be about
Without surrendering to sequences. Without
Remembering the many nights I can’t recall.
It’s for a moment of touch from the only person
You can trust. A digital whisper over the secret
Ground, that is somehow more foreign or uncertain
Than the moments of senseless reason, recent
Clarity that blurs the digital prayer for digital worship.
I watch the March, I can’t help it. What it’s for,
What it’s all for, is the impulsive, click-purchase
Of a bottle of clear pills for one cellar door.
But not in the silent exchange of any
Digits by digits – 01111000 – could I say
A prayer worth to abort for. I forgot too many
Terms and conditions to know how to obey.
So I live another white and ochre day.
The sharp edge of a page pressed against telescopes
To see deeper than thought possible. Swallowing oceans
Breath life into the contours resting beneath an inheritance,
Reminders of how he traveled here. Casual miracle of motions
Brought neurons, kidneys, DNA, arteries, tendons, sense,
20 feet of intestine. My god, what a hideous creature
A Gollum that carves its own clay. That carves
Its own clay so that she and he and them
Can learn how to carve their clay. Their clay
Blessed with birthmarks from a Polish immigrant
That you’ve never met. Now taking pottery lessons
From a thing closer to you than Poland is. Poland is so
Far away from Wikipedia. So far – and alone, buried under
Watered-down earth that fills your mouth, your kidneys,
Your DNA, your arteries if you’d let it. If you’d give it
A chance. Let the jabbering jabberwocky
That makes you Thanksgiving dinner have a chance, a day
Of autumnal trek that you chaff against over too-sweet teriyaki
Before you must go, must go, to the natural state, the cracked bouquet
That lies between a crushed can, a ChapStick, and the earth you’ve carved out
To make your clay.