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Thread: Burn Lake

  1. #1
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    Burn Lake

    When you were building the I-10 bypass,
    one of your dozers, moving earth
    at the center of a great pit,
    slipped its thick blade beneath
    the water table, slicing into the earth's
    wet palm, and the silt moistened
    beneath the huge thing's tires, and the crew
    was sent home for the day.
    Next morning, water filled the pit.
    Nothing anyone could do to stop it coming.
    It was a revelation: kidney-shaped, deep
    green, there between the interstate
    and the sewage treatment plant.
    When nothing else worked, you called it
    a lake and opened it to the public.
    And we were the public.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    El Camino Real 2


    In the dead summer
    of 1598, midway through
    the Jornada del Muerto,
    where the river turned away
    and went off into terrain
    too rough for the horses,
    after he and his column
    had exhausted the last
    of their supplies but before
    they came to the place
    they'd call Socorro, before
    the pueblo there
    sent runners with water
    and sweet corn
    to save them, Don Juan
    de Oñate, sweating to death
    in his chaps and iron chest plate,
    thought, "After this
    suffering, if we survive this
    suffering, we'll be there;
    we'll walk into the open hands
    of the sea."
    And in his mind
    he began once again
    to compose the letter
    to the viceroy,
    which, one had to assume,
    would find its way
    to the king: Dear Sirs,
    We're here.
    The coast is very much
    as I'd imagined it:
    water indefinitely, empty
    and ours.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    Father and Son at the Mesilla Valley Drive-thru Bank

    It's a late Friday afternoon. The sky
    is making that colossal pink gesture
    that often precedes the dark.

    The car in front of them finally pulls forward,
    and the boy's father feeds the zipped bag of money
    to the open mouth of the building.

    From behind the glass, the woman speaks
    into a long, thin microphone. She's so close,
    if it weren't for the glass, she could lean over

    and touch the roof of the car.
    "This will only take a moment," she says,
    smiling broadly.

    Then, as if she'd disappeared entirely
    from their view, she licks her thumb
    and begins, without mercy, to count the bills.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    The Flagellation



    Soon they'll knock nails into him, but first there's this,
    a lesson in perspective with two worlds coming together:
    one gloomy and transgressive, let's call it super-real,
    a world behind this world, in which a man is tied to
    a column—his hair and beard unkempt, his body raw,
    though not bleeding—muttering, "I am afraid to fall down,
    but I will not be dominated"; the other world is surreally
    calm, with saturated colors and costumes of the day,
    a youth's head framed by a laurel tree, nothing
    appearing larger than it is, so the eyes drift back
    to the deviant, the melancholic, the real, emotion
    punching through the rational—like mother cat with five
    kittens in her tummy purring in my lap now—
    as a man for his beliefs receives blow after blow.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    The Death of the Frontier

    It is during sleep that the distinction between
    good men and bad is least apparent.
    —Aristotle

    In the dream, we wandered farther

    into our thoughts,
    toward the waters at their edge,
    the overhanging cliffs—

    we forded rivers, sometimes

    snow fell on the squat cactuses,
    the taut canvas covers;
    it slipped through the steam

    bursting from the horses' nostrils.

    When our wheels broke,
    we balanced on the thumbs
    of our footprints,

    dragged the children behind us

    on palettes we'd gathered
    from the City's back alleys.
    We attended to our huddling

    voices, dark around the fire,

    we tipped our heads back
    to examine the stars, though
    at that remove our words failed

    to describe them. Their whispers

    floated over us,
    behind us, wrapped the horizon
    we kept pushing toward.

    When the thread of the idea

    we tugged on as a guide
    led us through the emberlit camps
    of strangers,

    we stabbed them in their sleep;

    and when we circled the wagons
    in the night, we made
    of ourselves a city—

    like an animal bristling its fur.

    Then, slowly, we awoke:
    we were back in our beds,
    the lights of the City

    in the windows, the bridge—

    an idea threading the bay.
    At breakfast, we sat quietly
    for a long time, the paper

    open before us, its letters

    winding down the page.
    Now where would we go,
    what should be next? The day

    was crisp, the light, polleny—

    and up the street, that film
    we'd wanted to see for years
    was still showing.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    from Doppler Elegies

    [I'm worried about a friend]

    I'm worried about a friend
    among panicles of spent
    flowers. I'm on the phone
    There's an argument here regarding
    Cathedral windows thicker at the base
    It does not concern you
    flowing glass. Can we talk
    about the drinking
    They call them smoke trees

    I'm pretty much dead
    by any measure
    already. When we were kids, the leaves
    but that's a story, fallen or reflected
    obscured the well. I cut this
    In the dream, they are always
    younger. Ari woke me
    You were screaming
    Everything is so

    easy for you
    You mean was
    so easy, like walking slowly
    Out of the photo, even those
    They are blooming early. I mean that
    literally. You can see it from space
    he took. Can we talk
    about the drinking
    Sometime in May
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  7. #7
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    Re: Burn Lake

    [A flowering no one attends]

    A flowering no one attends
    The enterprise known
    variously as waking, April, or
    Bats are disappearing like
    color into function. I wanted to open
    In a new window
    the eyes of a friend
    by force if necessary. Amber light
    is a useless phrase

    but will have to do
    what painting did
    Dense smoke from the burning wells
    for our parents. Ben
    there is a man at the door who says
    I've made small changes
    he found your notebook
    throughout in red. The recurring dream
    contrived in places

    Of waning significance
    it resembles the hand
    after a difficult passage
    opening, a key word in the early
    Blue of rippled glass
    atonal circles. They phased us out
    across the backward capitals
    like paper money
    Or is that two words
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  8. #8
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    Re: Burn Lake

    Movie

    why have I spent so

    much of my time witnessing

    actors pretend things?


    we are not actors

    don't want to go down in flames

    with people watching


    the twin towers shown

    as an establishing shot

    saddens many films


    the Empire State used

    as an action location

    gladdens many too


    so why do I cry

    when Kong turns to the sunrise

    softly thumps his chest?
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  9. #9
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    Re: Burn Lake

    The Swifts

    One August night, ten thousand.
    Four thousand now, in this long, September dusk.
    Some repeaters, staying over.

    No first-growth stumps in sight—
    no forests at all on this stretch of flyway—
    and so they roost in a school's brick chimney,
    ten thousand then, four thousand now,

    turning in wide, counterclockwise gyres
    above the chimney's rusted clockface, turning
    their four-inch, half-ounce shapes, three heartbeats
    per wingbeat, three heartbeats per clipped syllable
    of each high-pitched cry, some repeaters,

    staying over. Just to the west,
    the sunset that stains their bellies
    to the dusty gold of mine canaries

    slips over the gray Pacific, while to the east, under
    Kentucky and Illinois, the root-tips of fossil forests
    reach down through the roofs of coalmine shafts.
    Tropical then, the trees, three hundred million years ago,

    rain-filled, before the planet quickly warmed
    and the magma shifted and the world's first birds
    cast their first neuronic blips
    and the world's first flocks answered in unison.
    What? the miners asked, brushed on the nape

    by a weightlessness three hundred million years
    whittled. Only the roots of absence, tepid
    across the skin. And tangible in that darkness

    as the sudden blip that any moment now
    will draw this flock, like airborne ash, backward
    through the chimney. The cell-phone camera eyes,
    like miners' headlamps, tip up in unison

    toward a micro-ounce of source too swift
    for mystery. Wing dip? Cell click? Could the answer
    be corporeal? Attention to the matter?
    Their eyes are bigger than their beaks. Their sleep—
    no opposable toes—is vertical. Just to the west,

    a line of contrail draws us—
    and down they drop, wings tucked, past
    the chipped mortar and carbon dust, past the open flue,
    the first birds overlapped by the next, and those

    by the next, and next, climbing the chimney's shadow shape
    in four-inch repetitions. Ten thousand then,
    four thousand now, upright on the bricks.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    On Aggression

    My beautiful, bowlegged, jade-eyed tabby
    was lounging on the patio
    when a sparrow, swooping
    down from the blue,

    thumped against the screen door. And there
    it thrashed, its claws
    caught in the mesh.
    How swiftly all of this happened

    from where I sat on the living room couch
    reading about the war—
    the cat darted, leapt, his outstretched body
    rising and rising

    until the sparrow fluttered
    in his jaws. No time to think—
    the newspaper skated
    across the wooden floor,

    the door screeched along its track,
    my hands clamped around the cat's throat
    and squeezed, blood shuttling
    quicker through my veins.

    Drop it, I commanded,
    and he obeyed. And I let go. And the sparrow
    scuttled on the concrete
    before ruffling a line in the lawn,

    then sailed over the trellis
    mobbed with lavender flowers,
    over a rooftop, the black arrow
    of its shadow sliding across the shingles.

    The world slowed then, the blood cooled.
    Far off, wind jostled wind chimes—
    the sound of a broom
    endlessly sweeping broken glass.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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