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Thread: Lifeboat, Wingspan

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    Lifeboat, Wingspan

    When I build a city on the Mississippi,
    there's an egret gliding through the air.
    She crosses the river then circles back
    and lands on a piece of sunlight.
    In my city, many buildings surround the egret.
    Many clouds sit on the buildings.
    There are many ways to predict the weather.
    When my head feels light, it rains on Monday.
    When the sun returns, the phone rings.
    It's my sister saying hello. She's putting
    a bullet in my brain. There's no time
    for twilight. Or a certain pill has my name
    on it, but there's no time to swallow.
    I'm on a balcony looking at the Mississippi
    like a pill with nowhere to go.
    Once I was the luckiest bird in the world
    and still I wanted to be something else.
    I wanted to be a weightless architect
    who finds her mirrored windows on fire.
    Once it was a Monday, and I was an egret
    holding my red glass breath, not knowing
    how to be burned alive. Someone said,
    we need water to put out the fire. Soon
    water became scarce, water was the new oil.
    We remembered how it used to rain.
    Each dot on the street was a new idea
    until all the dots became one big wet.
    Now it's Monday, and when I see an egret,
    my tongue flattens. A white stain waves
    good-bye very slowly. I hear a voice
    on the phone. It's my sister saying hello.
    When I deny having a sister, the sun
    burns her skin. When I deny it's spring,
    rain begins to fall. When twilight arrives,
    my city on the Mississippi begins to
    disappear. I wave good-bye to the egret.
    I'm ready for the pluvial air.
    .






    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: Lifeboat, Wingspan

    Wolf Lake, white gown blown open

    White sky, a tinge of blue,
    birds like silver crucifixes
    children wear at their First Communion—

    the lake, melted candelabra—

    no wind, no dust of summer moths, no weeping.

    Lichen sleeps like fur on a dead thing
    and the bones of the trees don't creak
    and the woody stems of the cattails hold
    the earth steady—

    bearded fish are like drunken tangents of thought
    that trail so far from the original idea—

    for instance

    I once fished here, bass after bass,
    shined the flashlight down their throats
    and saw all the way to the gold ovaries,
    gill slits like louvered blinds
    letting out light—

    meat, heart, memory.

    The boat was the green of naiveté,
    the oars mismatched,

    and who was that girl—a bride—

    catching everything
    and releasing nothing?

    *

    Jack in the Pulpit breaks through.
    Purple veins comb the spathe, then the spadex
    furred-over with male and female blooms
    and the cone of firm red berries—

    and the trillium's white gown blown open—

    and the lapping sound of water,
    like a dog compelled to lick itself.

    Lake infested with black swans,
    beaks breaking the surface tension
    of the water

    then pulling out, swallowing down
    a writhing fish, another,

    dissatisfied.

    *

    There is mist, there is a smudge of moonlight on the water—

    lake the color of the groom's Italian leather shoes.

    I grind against him on the muddy edge,
    open the gold buttons to get to the skin,
    the throbbing lip and tongue and cock—

    flesh, right now, the wet smear of him
    on my palm and lips and inside me,
    inside, where I live, right now bitter with him,
    dandelion juice, phosphorous,
    muck, milk, food—

    and beneath us snail shells burst
    like the skulls of the dead in the crematorium.

    *

    There is body, there is experience, there is narrative,
    there is idea, memory, philosophy, love—

    and there are gods
    and there are the operas of the gods—

    there is desire
    and desire's cold blue-eyed twin—

    and this place in-between—water,
    weeds bound by tangled fishing line,
    bones washed clean,

    and ghosts, laced and corseted, dragging
    their anchors and sinkers and veils.
    .






    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: Lifeboat, Wingspan

    Thirty Lines About the Fro

    The fro is homage, shrubbery, and revolt—all at once.
    The fro and pick have a co-dependent relationship, so
    many strands, snags, such snap and sizzle between
    the two. The fro wants to sleep on a silk pillowcase,
    abhorring the historical atrocity of cotton.
    The fro guffaws at relaxers—how could any other style
    claim relaxation when the fro has a gangsta lean,
    diamond-in-the-back, sun-roof top kinda attitude,
    growing slowly from scalp into sky, launching pad
    for brilliance and bravery, for ideas uncontained by
    barbershops and their maniacal clippers, monotony
    of the fade and buzzcut. The fro has much respect
    for dreads, but won't go through life that twisted,
    that coiled. Still, much love lives between
    the two: secret handshakes, funk-bottomed struts.
    The fro doesn't hate you because you're beautiful.
    Or ugly. Or out-of-work or working for the Man.
    Because who knows who the Man is anymore?
    Is the president the Man? He used to have a fro
    the size of Toledo, but now it's trimmed down
    to respectability, more gray sneaking in each day,
    and you've got to wonder if he misses his pick,
    for he must have had one of those black power ones
    with a fist on the end. After all, the fro is a fist,
    all curled power, rebellious shake, impervious
    and improper. Water does not scare the fro,
    because water cannot change that which is
    immutable—that soul-sonic force, that sly
    stone-tastic, natural mystic, roots-and-rhythm
    crown for the ages, blessed by God and gratitude.
    .






    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: Lifeboat, Wingspan

    Dramatis Personæ

    Once upon a time,
    Books began this
    Way—the O of once let
    The reader beware up
    Front that a story as
    Ornate and colorful as
    We are would follow—
    And not for any of us
    To be shocked to find
    We must return and
    Stand for what we are.
    .






    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: Lifeboat, Wingspan

    Ghost Aurora

    All of the apostles, the fortune tellers, all of those committed
    to the origins of reason or faith—each is now lost in the hum

    of her or his own deepening meditation. What could be the purpose
    of those songs the troubadour from Avignon brought us in his leather bag?

    What could be the meaning of the carvings of green falcons along
    the gourd-like back of his lute? What could be more useful than a loving

    principle lifted slowly out of particles, like the frond of a morning fern
    uncurling? Take up your coat; take up the morning. This is what it means

    to lure the phantom out of the dark, until she lifts us into the space of song
    .






    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: Lifeboat, Wingspan

    Milk

    The nurse has made up the bed so crisply.
    Tucked the corners' rote origami
    so soundly into the aluminum frame.

    Your lips glisten, moistened with a square
    of sponge. I hold your hand—weightless
    thing of parchment and twig—

    no more your daughter than a seed
    cast from hoof-split rattlegrass, no more than
    an asterisk sprung from thistle, caught, wished upon,

    let go. I inhale the antiseptic scent of bay,
    of balsam. Rooted here, in this cheap plastic chair,
    as if I'll miss something,

    as if my missing it would matter.
    Just as—branch-snap to feeding deer, wing-shadow
    to the scuttling mouse—it has always mattered.

    The window frames a square of light
    white and blameless as milk. I turn from you
    and drink, and drink, and drink.
    .






    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: Lifeboat, Wingspan

    Lisa Longs to Hold Harry

    Lisa longed to hold Harry
    Cut
    Lisa desired
    Cut
    Desiring Harry, Lisa
    Cut
    Desiring, Lisa
    Cut
    Lisa wanted Harry in the most
    Cut
    Lisa took Harry
    Cut
    Lisa surrounded Harry's hairy arms and begged for
    Cut
    Ever since Lisa was a little girl
    Cut
    Lisa as a little girl desired
    Cut
    The little girl playing in the sandbox hit the little boy with
    Cut
    When her family lived in Baltimore, Lisa
    Cut
    When her family lived in Boston, Lisa lost
    Cut
    When her family lived in San Francisco, Lisa stole a
    Cut
    When her family lived in a high rise overlooking Lincoln Park, Lisa explored the
    Cut
    Harry graduated a year before
    Cut
    Because he took summer classes, Harry
    Cut
    Lisa spent her summers alone. She worked at Marshall
    Cut
    Lisa looked longingly at the silver water pitcher perched on the glass shelf,
    ruminating how
    Cut
    Even though they both attended Loyola University, Lisa
    Cut
    Harry bit his lip. Lisa sucked
    Cut
    When Harry bit down on a
    Cut
    Lisa had planned pot roast for the night she
    Cut
    Lisa picked up her cell to text Harry as she pulled over to exit North Avenue
    Cut
    Inside the burning car, Lisa wondered
    Cut
    Upside down, Lisa read Harry's
    Cut
    Hanging from her seatbelt, surrounded by flames, Lisa texted Harry, "I long
    to hold you."
    .






    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: Lifeboat, Wingspan

    Eclogue

    Twenty-two Months

    Rent in the neighborhood is dropping.
    Rent everywhere is dropping. Can you spare
    a little CHANGE,
    asks the sign where my bank,
    merging with the bank across the street,
    fails. I want to own land in my country.
    I want to make my place in this city certain.
    The fish in the bar next to the laundromat:
    do they know the limits of their translucent world?
    When my wife died I thought,
    All within us praise his holy name,
    His power and glory ever more proclaimed.
    Even then I knew that life didn't really end,
    that it would fissure into two places,
    inside and out. The woman I love now
    distinguishes absence from loss.
    When there is no fog on a nearby hill
    we walk through her old neighborhood
    to the city's highest point.
    .






    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: Lifeboat, Wingspan

    Scale

    Nineteen Months

    That spring I pursued the other side of anxiety.
    I measured exact distances wherever I went:
    days since your death, weeks until your birthday,
    how many steps it took to cross the interstate park
    where every three weeks the billboard changed
    until Oscar season. How I missed being in love.
    How I wanted to explain: I miss being in love.
    The night your brother stopped talking to his wife
    I knew it meant I'd have to choose sides.
    I sat dumb and silent, smiling weakly at everything.
    At the climbing gym he got faster up the hard-candy steps,
    his fingertips smooth and dull. Your nephew
    and I registered online an animatronic vulture
    whose virtual home contained separate rooms
    for each family member. The week he finally
    blew out his back your brother slept on the sofa.
    He said he didn't want to wake the kids.
    Each time he hobbled to the medicine cabinet
    the television drowned out his sighs and moans.
    I sat in my room listening carefully to music
    I knew would make me weep.
    Sleeping pills erased the dark room.
    Through the window his truck engine turned over four times
    before it began its morning loop around the city.
    .






    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: Lifeboat, Wingspan

    Pin Setter

    All jobs have been a variation
    of this first one: manual pin setter
    at a two-lane bowling alley (paid a dime a game).
    I learned it is very quiet
    before a firing squad,
    and that bowling pins, like moments,
    exist as little gods,
    and we are curiously inaccurate.
    .






    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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