Poem for July 18th

July 18, 2012 § Leave a comment


White rhythm,

it’s basically militant.

Joni Mitchell

Interruption reads us. All the shells, cast up on the beach.

Signs of grace, they don’t ‘develop.’

No more themes, a full stop in the moving wind, a vacant mass dead center on the screen.

Having canceled the old notion of ‘shipwreck,’ too familiar now to mean.

True development might begin when development as such comes to an end.

Once they had been real on the horizon, these airs.

The sounds of interrogation, pure duration coming from the other room.

Patience and fatigue, some absolute passivity, whatever won’t reduce to measure.

Low-level radiation, amphetamines, great leaps forward on whose prosthetic limbs.

Rehabilitative technologies all listed under current assets, positive externalities, unanticipated casualties affect costs.

Turning now to use, we wonder what it means ‘to produce new unoccupied places,’ and the dissident designs to live there.

Other sounds inside the clotted air, breeding species out of stem cells.

Out on the field the pep squad achieves this terrible generality.

Under the bleachers other billions hold our dirt and dust not land increasingly in common.

Shared tongues lick unspoken language against the other’s teeth.

We did it — limbs twine in blackout, signs abrade our skin, blown into the body.

Useful guts, an erose void eating space for the sibilant pact to couple, triple, multiply.

Small twitches of sinew make a move on time. Twenty-eight days.

Flesh absorbing and absorbed in reconstruction of groundwork.

‘May the road rise with you,’ means climb my heap of rubble into extraction’s rarefied airs. Parched. Thirty days.

‘No one has yet determined the power of the body,’ or what his meat might do, making time.

You notice the upper partials only in their absence, warning signals not to be heard.

One fucking billion people saying NO — can’t imagine what that would sound like, and there you have the problem.

You feel the building sway, though. Day after day we go on exchanging final farewells like this.

Across the spectacle of pure display, our consciousness spread out like a slick.

— the blood, the body splayed not ours. What was common between us —

This fragile, gawky sticking-out. It was where we lived, not what we lived on.

Nor what lived through us. Thirty-two days to span biography.

The commanding heights less so. Not ours —

But the idea of imminent detention extinguished all our fantasies of physical affection.

That tongue, a dream inside our ass, a figure for living labor.

An imaginary refusal taking shape inside this dislocation.

The hollows speak a hollow speech the volubility of exposed flesh.

Within the time of command there are edges of articulation escaping into noise.

The current has its uses until it’s ours to use.

Something seems to swell and rise above us.

Cancel your own permission to count, refuse to find value on the blank frontier.

Whose flesh will carry such a load bags of bedding, styrofoam and jugs across the interruptions.

Between the clock and the rule of war, take my hand.

You will not watch this nothing to see. The wiretap nets only banal requests for meat and money. Our names, our stamps.

Something remains in excess of the excess, something above and below the current crashes back upon us

— in these intervals, a blank, no present feeling between my arms —

A deeper gouge, sloughing skin and fat.

This slim margin, a shudder in which we feel the fullness of us pressing close.

Against what’s flayed, a future memory in the ashy snow, a decommissioned bugle.

It’s our own forgotten substance, misused and fallen back upon us, irritating the oversensitive skin.

The proof of not having died, given with the sign that we are dying.

-Taylor Brady and Rob Halpern, from Snow Sensitive Skin (Displaced Press, 2011; originally published in Atticus/Finch, 2007)

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