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Thread: Three Documentaries

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    Three Documentaries

    Photograph #1, The Lying-in Hospital

    Past the Emergency Pavilion's bordered brick, over
    a roundabout, through the revolving door's glass
    triangles that refuse to scatter into shadow,
    turn at the Diagnostic Imaging Center beside the sign,
    etched in stone: This Building Dedicated
    To the Well-Being of Mothers and Babies,
    Anno Domini, 1928,
    to the room where a sonogram machine spins
    its own story, where language
    skims the surface of the image and fails,
    where at this moment someone
    watches herself, singularity erased.


    Photograph #2, Queensboro Bridge

    The sky salt white. The rails scrawl
    across the water, a barge piled high with tires.
    First the shock that there's a world
    beyond my body. First this landscape
    outside the magnetic field I can't step into,
    tube of light where my child lies,
    small fists tied down, fairy-tale oven.
    I don't want to see it, so I watch
    the green black water, remember
    a butterfly clip pinching a vein
    open, needle of wicker-colored fluid
    spilling my body's secrets, promising
    faith. The only promise is that the self
    will be crowded out of the body.
    That the bridge scripts the river.


    Photograph #3, Interior; Mother & Child

    The road back to myself will be lined
    with gravel, stuttered with dirt, running
    through the family plots beyond the house,
    Mother, Beloved Mother; all unnamed.
    The other body within mine at first
    not yet solid, not vapor. Then,
    all afternoon the child surfaces from sleep
    on the white bed, fastens herself to me.
    One grave in the family plot repeated.
    One body that is its own vanishing point.
    This self that now fits only in the edges
    of my life, this body that keeps making and
    unmaking, taking in darkness, giving back light.
    .






    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.”

  2. #2
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    Re: Three Documentaries

    My Father's Drums

    His mad jazz slammed its way up basement stairs
    through closed doors and double-glazed windows
    all over the neighborhood. The one true
    American art form, he called it, records turned up so loud
    the floorboards buzzed. No rock and roll
    allowed. No three-chord progressions in this house;
    no rudimentary hook, no bridge, no lame refrain,
    no silly haircuts please, we are musicians.
    Bashing along with the hi-fi he banged through our days and nights
    with a rat-a-tat rage, the fury fired down from his shoulders,
    shot into his wrists. When he pounded his high-hats,
    the pictures flew off their nails. Woodchopper's Ball;
    The Big Crash from China; Sing, Sing, Sing;
    Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. Never the whiz of his belt buckle,
    never the sting of his open hand, only those long incredulous looks
    whenever we smarted off, when his head came around
    in slow motion, eyes narrowed, lips curling into a deep
    underwater snarl: What did you say to me, Mister?
    Young lady, what-did-you-just-say-to-me?
    Sometimes we thought he beat them instead,
    rattled their cymbals and snares to spare the dullard
    child brains inside our skulls, wore down
    their tight-stretched skins with his hammering sticks
    to save our lackluster souls, our sorry hides.
    .






    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.”

  3. #3
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    Re: Three Documentaries

    What the Seed Knows

    winter plods on like a Russian novel, spring
    hints, haiku

    tight blouses unbutton, jackets unzip,
    skin is not just skin

    rich soil proliferates
    in the heart, in the hand
    that can never let go

    rivers flow unseen, underground, unfettered
    unfathomable

    some dig down, some rise up
    some survive

    sleep is not dreamless:
    how else the orange, the dogwood?
    the phalanx of asparagus?

    coddled in the pod,
    all the seed needs:

    darkness, more snug
    than light

    grit splits the rock, raises
    a tiny fist, screams
    the world into profusion
    of petaled racket

    to uncurl and unfurl
    to unhusk from the crust

    to inhale, exhale
    turn toward what's bright
    .






    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: Three Documentaries

    Staff Sgt. Metz

    Metz is alive for now, standing in line
    at the airport Starbucks in his camo gear
    and buzz cut, his beautiful new
    camel-colored suede boots. His hands
    are thick-veined. The good blood
    still flows through, given an extra surge
    when he slurps his latte, a fleck of foam
    caught on his bottom lip.

    I can see into the canal in his right ear,
    a narrow darkness spiraling deep inside his head
    toward the place of dreaming and fractions,
    ponds of quiet thought.

    In the sixties my brother left for Vietnam,
    a war no one understood, and I hated him for it.
    When my boyfriend was drafted I made a vow
    to write a letter every day, and then broke it.
    I was a girl torn between love and the idea of love.
    I burned their letters in the metal trash bin
    behind the broken fence. It was the summer of love
    and I wore nothing under my cotton vest,
    my Mexican skirt.

    I see Metz later, outside baggage claim,
    hunched over a cigarette, mumbling
    into his cell phone. He's more real to me now
    than my brother was to me then, his big eyes
    darting from car to car as they pass.
    I watch him breathe into his hands.

    I don't believe in anything anymore:
    god, country, money or love.
    All that matters to me now
    is his life, the body so perfectly made,
    mysterious in its workings, its oiled
    and moving parts, the whole of him
    standing up and raising one arm
    to hail a bus, his legs pulling him forward,
    all muscle and sinew and living gristle,
    the countless bones of his foot trapped in his boot,
    stepping off the red curb.
    .






    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.”

  5. #5
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    Re: Three Documentaries

    Engagement

    The young man knows he's going to die today, but he's wrong.
    The other young man figures the army is the best way to improve his life,
    but he's wrong.
    They both think their weapons will protect them, but they're wrong.
    They both believe their prayers will help.

    Their commanders have intentions and intelligence, but they're wrong.
    We've heard the story before. It's wrong.
    The news will document it, but it will be wrong.
    The war on terror, the war on Islam, the clash of civilizations.

    The explosion will exceed the necessity of the occasion.
    The exchange of fire will be unbalanced.
    The response will be disproportionate.
    The reporter is factually incorrect, theoretically misinformed, morally
    reprehensible.

    The clear typeface and perfect binding are misleading.
    The reader is uncomfortably and inappropriately implicated.
    The tranquil mind is insufficient to the task.
    The young men, necks dirty and damp, advance.
    .






    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.”

  6. #6
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    Re: Three Documentaries

    Another Fable

    The old man, in his day, well let’s just say
    He took a lot of meat without a license.
    That he was arrogant, well that just goes
    Without saying, so we don’t, but see,
    He had a reason. He thought that a man
    Who owned his land shouldn’t have to pay to
    Hunt. Not the Government, especially.
    So though he never, as some poachers do,
    Hunted in the spring or summer, killing
    Does with fawns out of sheer depravity
    Or desperation or both (sometimes it’s hard
    To tell the difference, though There Are Roughly
    Zones). He never—it was a point of honor—
    Hunted legally—not antelope
    Nor deer nor elk. He never had a fishing
    License either, for that matter, never.
    No harm, really, except his son, before
    He was old enough, himself, to learn to poach,
    Was terrified each time the old man brought
    A gutted carcass home and strung it up
    In the tool shed with a pulley hooked to a stave
    That cross-pierced slits behind Achilles tendons,
    And put a Master padlock on the door,
    And told his son the word was mum in case
    The game warden came to snoop around. Remember,
    The son was very young and he still thought
    That those who broke the law were put in jail,
    That the whole family could go to jail
    Since they knew, and would not tell, what hung
    In the tool shed, behind the padlocked door.
    It isn’t imagery, the painterly,
    I’m after here, but stale fear in a boy
    Each time he opens the tool shed door, even
    In spring or summer when there’s no meat hung,
    The smell of blood and the prey’s adrenaline,
    Which triggers in the boy a predatory
    Inability to turn and run.
    .






    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: Three Documentaries

    Two Poems

    Restoration Ode

    What tends toward orbit and return,
    comets and melodies, robins and trash trucks
    restore us. What would be an arrow, a dove
    to pierce our hearts restore us. Restore us

    minutes clustered like nursing baby bats
    and minutes that are shards of glass. Mountains
    that are vapor, mice living in cathedrals,
    and the heft and lightness of snow restore us.

    One hope inside dread, "Oh what the hell"
    inside "I can't" like a pearl inside a cake
    of soap, love in lust in loss, and the tub
    filled with dirt in the backyard restore us.

    Sunflowers, let me wait, let me please
    see the bridge again from my smacked-up
    desk on Euclid, jog by the Black Angel
    without begging, dream without thrashing.

    Let us be quick and accurate with the knife
    and everything that dashes restore us,
    salmon, shadows buzzing in the wind,
    wren trapped in the atrium, and all

    that stills at last, my friend's cat,
    a pile of leaves after much practice,
    and ash beneath the grate, last ember
    winked shut restore us. And the one who comes

    out from the back wiping his hands on a rag,
    saying, "Who knows, there might be a chance."
    And one more undestroyed, knocked-down nest
    stitched with cellophane and dental floss,

    one more gift to gently shake
    and one more guess and one more chance.


    Scavenger Hunt

    Three young foxes spilling down the culvert.
    A red shirt in the closet. Stick jammed
    in the undercarriage. Steaming plates
    presented by a weeping waiter. Some days
    the sea is calm, others it would rip apart
    the world. You always wake in another room.
    It makes you want to be buried in the air
    but not yet. Some things separate themselves
    effortlessly from the abyss, the undifferentiated
    primordial clot that owns us. Others
    not. A hole remains in the argument.
    The strain remains in the ballet, the stain
    on the gown. When you lose something,
    it's so you can learn how to search.
    You will lose almost everything,
    which makes for a good, long search.
    .






    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: Three Documentaries

    In Honor of Xipe

    Xipe Totec, Aztec god of Spring

    I

    Slicked
    with a birther's goo, it

    gleams up green from the ground—

    Little blade.

    How much toil, to split the sealed doors
    of the mother—

    And scrape up
    through rock and clay; the hard sharp March

    of the ground—

    our little god, our flayed lord.



    Xipe Totec (shee-pay toh-tek) appears in Aztec art as a human
    figure wearing a tunic of human skin.

    The hand-skins flop prominently below his elbows, and his
    human face, usually grinning, peers out through the eye-slits
    and mouth-hole of a skinned-face mask.

    He was a god of transitions, oppositions.

    After which the rotting skin was removed, and a "new"
    human being appeared.



    —in the shimmer,
    their hummingbird cloaks, their

    plumed heads
    as they ran toward slaughter—flowers

    in riot on a field—

    They flayed the slain captives' skins and wore them, dyed
    "golden clothes"—to impersonate Spring's

    Skinless Lord—

    conjure a power I wanted. You know,

    to make the corn stand up. Piercing the hardpan
    inside my head, new self



    green and scored—

    Died. My sister died. In the fourth year
    of parentless night.

    Aztec blood-drinking, why should I oppose it? Or put down
    my proper



    terror of the earth—


    2

    They each of them lived in an eating world. Members
    of the Wheel of Mouths—

    Owned implements of autosacrifice: a thorn, a carved
    bone,

    it was a sacred gift,
    to pierce the soft tissue, feed the earth

    as the earth fed you—

    And so gain power
    over the killing-wheel: not you, not you, the gods

    in chorus—

    When my sister died, after my parents died;

    when my sister died; "—stalking your family like a serial killer,"
    someone said;

    "Death is a serial killer," I had said, when my sister died—



    It was called Tlacaxipehualiztli, which means "Skinning of
    Men," and was the first feast of the year within the number
    of their calendar, celebrated every twenty days...

    ...and the festival of Tlacaxipehualiztli, before the time of
    sowing...

    ...who have studied this divinity and his strange ceremonial
    and concluded...

    ... an agricultural rite in which the skin of the victim
    represented the husk of an ear of corn about to ripen...

    ...like Prosperpine [sic]...



    Plants change with the conditions.

    For the sun their lifting
    cotyledons.

    Light being
    at home in their bodies—and the way they

    turn from the dark

    when brought in to winter. Half dying, half spreading
    their green hands:

    DAY, DAY, DAY—

    And when the priest thrust up the still-steaming heart,
    the crowd lifted ears of corn.

    Saying, Thy precious water hath come down from Coapan.
    It hath made the cypress a quetzal.

    Plants
    converting light by a windowsill.



    I was tending them. Those Xipes, Spring's
    excruciates—

    Easing the blinds
    to bend the sun into their green city

    Onto transcripts of birdsong,
    gods of rain and war.

    To loved/was loved, an alien power, under which
    (decreed)

    all would thrive—

    Shocked
    into green.
    .






    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: Three Documentaries

    Two Poems

    Manifesto
    after Breton
    When I dream, I vote.

    Exercise my rights
    as citizen of the dream state
    to terra-form the future.

    Work to abolish
    the most abject poverty of all—

    that of knowing
    only one world.

    Activists, lovers—
    don't just entwine your bodies,
    but also dreams.

    When you sleep together,
    go all the way!


    Progress Report

    By trade, a waster
    of paper, food,
    product, time.

    By nature: wasted.

    Each month I can hardly wait
    to throw my check away.

    Technology, we've learned,
    should be balanced with human folly
    in order to malfunction
    in the optimal way.

    I try my best to deplete
    our planet's resources,
    but even so, can't gain the attention
    of higher-ups who spectacularly
    and regularly waste whole cities,
    countries, civilizations
    in a morning's work.

    My boss remains optimistic,
    recognizing an innate talent,
    still he chides me for my small-town ways.
    .






    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.”

  10. #10
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    Re: Three Documentaries

    Two Poems

    Neanderthought

    Knuckle-pure & forehead-finished, spear-perfect & canine-wise, it wrestles with mammoth-peculiarities & flint-feelings. Unnumbered, its days amble stag-free across the cave-plains of Lascaux-like visions & Altamira-like ambiguities. She-wife tolerates & transposes & transcends he-husband's mud-mutterings & dirt-ditherings & finds love buried like the first & fragile shoots of ungathered & unlooked-for affections.


    Bildungsromangst

    Two cups of squalor & three heaping teaspoons of overcast/oppressive village, add several cases of undiagnosed childhood consumption with a dash of petty larceny, stir over a low heat of human indifference, cool with a blast of bitter accusations & serve thick/black wedges to starving artists on the eve of the only war they will ever regret.
    .






    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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