From Here Your Future Looks Very Small
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The Day is a Manhole
The day is a manhole you drop into
in broad daylight. Everything had been
quite fine, though
the electronic chirps of birds from the far east
roused you from an early dream in which
women were heaving their bodies
like Rusalkas into the sea. The way he squeezed you
was criminal. The way your future looks from here
is very small. Through a telescope
you can see him by the pool, his pale children
in their suits. He cannot hear Jeanne-Marie Darré
playing Chopin’s waltz
or Rimsky’s Scheherazade popping with age
on the record player by the open window.
And outside? Miles
of trees, reddish crowns you are too late
identifying as fire, an emptiness both familiar
and penitent, like wondering
about a particular sign that says CAUTION
as you’re falling.
Birds in Space
On the list of things I can live without:
tomato slicers, wedding speeches,
miniature replicas of the world’s majestic structures.
The towering Cyclone with its 60-degree
plunge. Everything starts somewhere, most obviously
in the body where the multiplicate cells split
and copy, 50 billion of them a day, while the nerves leap
and desist in turn. So many things designed
to prompt them! The Romanian sculptor and his birds
in space. Subjective sensations argued
by Schopenhauer. Artificial lights;
county fairs. I don’t want to get stuck
in a car chain-linked to other cars, creeping up the back rail
of a trestle. I don’t want to be taken inside any
leery version of something else, debating the Principle
of Sufficient Reason, thrown into space
and held there in a rusty portal
to bliss. At Coney Island, the benches line the boardwalk
like Neolithic stones to the Fun House.
In the Hall of Mirrors, your actual body cannot
be found. Each convexed figure peers out from the infinite,
the thrill in the ad infinitum, the fun a vacuum
of your own repeating face.