Friday, February 29, 2008

To the Warming Orchestra

To the Warming Orchestra

Tune towards clairvoyance this once
beneath the stage. Tune the radio.
Satellites plummet silent
above us.
Tune out the audience coughs. Our one privacy.

Instruments, I’ve come to listen to you
absorb the shoulder’s heat. I appraise the moment

the bow lifts; your hollows continue to sing.
A violinist pulls hair from her mouth. Silent

at a distance. Each radio set to receive. My thoughts
my own only. Quicker than pronouncement.

Only their own.
I set out before the performance.

Each morning I hear the freeway score
shift keys. Headlights arrive like random notes

to the page and by daybreak the first movement
of rush hour whirrs away. A thousand tires cross

concrete though I hear a metaphor, a river
or seashell that amplifies the days one drawn breath.

By night even its murmur overwhelms the bayou
swells of rhythm unless you stand still and hum
perched on the culvert singing, “Moonlight on the Bayou.”
To youth insects are song.
To us they are waiting.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How the Jellyfish Got in My Cereal

How the Jellyfish Got in My Cereal

It didn’t just swim from the Gulf into my milk bottle.

Perhaps it was placed into my bowl as a gift

the way the Central Intelligence Agency

booby-trapped explosives in shellfish

for Castro to open.

I found out only later I was not a participant

in my parent’s separation. It was too late anyway.

It floated there so miserably, opalescent and gelatinous

as the brain of Roosevelt ignoring or expecting

the Japanese fleet of kamikazes on Pearl Harbor,

seagulls spearing the ocean for fish.

Just to feel valued I threw myself down the stairs,

forgetting no one was home.

There were raisins too around the jellyfish

like little people down below Operation Frequent Wind,

the choppers airlifting American soldiers and citizens

from Saigon.

Away from everyone you love, or everyone you love

away from you, captivity and torture

seem to be the same as a child deserted on a raft

while parents on shore sunbathe sleepily.

Soft marine animal, blobbed on the top, adopting the color

of milk. Color has always been an issue for artists and tribes

to war with. The Sudan Liberation Movement

protests the Janjaweed and Janjaweed protest the SLM.

So naturally if one runs out of caviar for the dinner party

there are no neighbors.

I suffered without quarters at the arcade and I ate my candy

before dinner, so my father slapped me and ordered me

to my room. After he was asleep I ate more candy

staring at myself through the glass of his rifle cabinet.

I don’t know how it got here, like the discovery of God

or likewise the discovery of there being no God at all

or a God with laryngitis, mouthing signs with his hands,

and the translators, all of them, misunderstand or disfigure

or relay the message in their own image. Which is very God.

Then I knew. And bit into the brainless bell

of the invertebrate’s mushroom head.

The Subway Portraits: William Stobb

Mark Rothko gives his copy of The Trial
to a girl he wants to sleep with.
She must be overcast and threatening.
In any case threatening. In any case it works.

To commemorate what passes between them
he paints outdoor figures
gazing at the sea.

The subway scenes make more sense to me.
Nervous glances between passengers
premonition of something sharp flashing out
and in fact he uses a knife to make people thin.

In full exposure, I can't believe the figures.
The sea's like a cartoon --
ha ha time, ha ha vanishing point.

William Stobb on Imagery

Kosslyn's Studies on Mental Imagery

Mental Imagery: Chapter 7 of Stanford's Psych Book. Standford is the Iowa of Psych.