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Thread: How It Is

  1. #1
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    How It Is

    The old stone streets of Durham are losing their cobbles like sore teeth.

    On they drill, those big shouldered county council blokes

    in pit hats and yellow jackets, ear-splitting stone-splitters cordoned off

    to prise up time’s suppurating slag and lay down new time in new rocks.

    But time is space, and the paving they pound in is never so heavy

    as the air they work in. It’s not even air that’s wrinkling them into

    grey twists of men smoking outside the hospital doors after coronary

    scares, or bodies wheeled through fluorescent corridors, gazing at you

    in astonishment, grateful for the latest in hip replacements.

    Tick tock go the secretaries’ heels, statistics in command

    checking out the wards. Nurses glide by, their professional competence

    neutered by their brogues and starchy caps, raised drips in hand.

    Everyone is being taken care of, don’t worry, you will be all right,

    say the men in green fatigues, removing their gloves and mouth masks.

    Screens are still talking brightly when the theatres close for the night,

    but it’s hard to believe you’re the blokes you thought you were, and no one asks.
    .






    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: How It Is

    The Soldier on Routine

    We are living with the young Christ
    in the Green Zone. Even we who are not He
    suffer hands tugging our hems,

    though our minds select the bodies
    we see. Young Christ is dual,
    but what of Him is like us is, like us,

    taken in by order: the roof and walls,
    the roof and walls, inside which we sleep—
    boot scuffs and dust, the white floors wiped clean.

    He does not eat some days, and so too
    we choose, and can. It's not that this
    isn't hell, though the lamp-switch lights

    long into the night. If we could name
    the mindframe sight, the body wall,
    a solid feature with a latch, through which

    we exit, armored, to disorder, that is, Ur—
    the original being, or its prebecoming.
    Out there the zone is we, the tank

    a brutal country, singing. Young Christ
    is dual, though even the god He is won't
    interfere. The cells beneath the surface

    of the seen he says he senses like his own
    skin, still unflayed. That scrim in him,
    keeping him human, among us crimping

    barbed wire over buildings. Our hands
    bleed, but then we've made a thing
    and can put it from us. If only they'd stay far

    from us, or else we infiltrate a mind—
    walking in on the backs of the word
    uttered, a word shook loose through

    the terrifying bodies, where every pore is
    unbarriered. A hand nailed to a house,
    the pierced room a cage, the wound a seam

    we fill with seed. Body in which we live
    unsafe, and then He breaks through to
    two at once, and this by violence. We who

    are not He cannot contain it. Schism of many
    chambered brain, schism of time, schism
    of no into infinite pain, amnesia of the known, of

    where we were before and if we're where
    Eden was, where's the latch? Where are
    leaves to cover all these bodies? We watch

    our hands in motion widening the wound—
    it's there we enter, as though we could pass through
    to the princeless, incinerated kingdom.
    .






    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: How It Is

    Below the Raven's Nest

    I was trying to find my voice
    under a fir tree and scribble
    and scratch something more
    or less like it onto a page,
    but she came down halfway
    from her crosshatched jumble
    of sticks and seaweed, wedged
    near the broken crown,
    and explained her situation
    with grinding clucks, tut-tuts,
    and insincere chuckles,
    as if forgiving the rudeness
    of a first offender, a violator
    of rules maybe too difficult
    for dim-witted outsiders
    to take in, to get a grasp on
    without official help. We stared
    at each other. She decided
    I might be hard of hearing
    or somehow hopelessly challenged,
    dropped to a lower branch,
    and leaning forward
    for emphasis, began cooing
    to an idiot child, then barked,
    had a brief asthma attack,
    warned a very bad boy
    (who'd just disgraced himself)
    never to do it again,
    and after some teasing lip smacks
    and a one-legged squat,
    in case I was simply speechless,
    gave me a death rattle.
    .






    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.”

  4. #4
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    Re: How It Is

    Poem

    The minute gears mutely whir. To put your ear
    Against it is to put your ear inside it.
    It does not tick. It isn't a heart.
    It has no pulse. It isn't a clock or a wrist.
    Scrutiny can coax no secret from it.
    There is no hearse with one flat tire
    In endless circuit, headlights dispersed
    In fog like sunset behind a veil.
    A paving stone extends a grave through iron
    Gate to a door at home. To knock
    Your hand against it puts your hand inside it,
    As in a cloud at night the pale moon
    Gathers itself outside itself its own light
    And glows dimly behind the dust that outshines it.
    It has no heat. It isn't the sun.
    It isn't uncertain. It does not think
    About the sun or the distant balls of dirt
    And ice that circle closer to the star
    With each circuit done. Comet tails
    Darkly flowing back as the horse leaps
    Forward, straining against the catafalque
    All November, predict disaster as grammar
    Predicts breath, the need to breathe, or the mind
    Must rest. It is its own edgeless disaster,
    It is there as if it were not there. Vague
    Repetitions haunt the circumference.
    To walk out the door is to place your foot
    On a stone worn away by another's foot.
    Rumor has it that the sun sends heat in form
    Of sight. Watch the ice as it melts
    For proof: water pools, darkens on a stone,
    Becomes as a shadow on a stone,
    A horse's hoof as it rises off a stone,
    Except it rises forever, and the shadow is gone.
    Such processes turn the minute gears.
    It is not a note in the margin. The margin is
    Covered with snow. When the winter fog
    Disperses a black horse stands on ice
    And cannot move. It is as if a breathless song
    Hovered like a veil in the air. The black
    Horse's breath spirals upward like smoke.
    Pyre-smoke like a thumbprint as a cloud.
    Similes sing mutely in it, likening the unlike.
    Mourners name the peace they find and walk
    Away. To step into it is to find it missing.
    The footprints are before you as you go.
    .






    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: How It Is

    My Hypochondria: A Soliloquy

    All day I felt a small disc of numbness just below
    my scalp, a collapsed vein, I was sure, or a clot,

    the first signs of a seizure coming on, of an aneurism,
    or possibly a stroke, that anesthetized zero flaring

    and disappearing for hours, like the red-blank-red
    blinking of a stoplight, so that I lay awake that night

    contemplating all the false scenarios of death: the helium
    ascensions, the eternal returns, the crumbed body

    called back into the grass, the unity, the whispering cup
    on the Ouija board, but I found inside of me no heaven,

    no Elysium, no Valhalla, no dreamtime, no Egyptian
    Fields of Aaru, no meadow fat with buffalo, just the perfume

    of myths, a bad disguise, like someone trying to cover
    a bald spot, but the hole shows through, doesn't it, the numb-

    spot at the center of the world, the straight-nothing that isn't
    even black, which is what I felt leached to the top of my skull,

    that yarmulke of emptiness, that blood-nothing at the core of us,
    striking its one note for eternity, while our hearts, pink

    and motherless, look to the sky with their eyes gummed shut,

    like a nest of infant birds. When did I become
    like this: paranoid, delusional? When did I start

    looking at my own thoughts through a wall of glass?
    When did I become this diminutive person, this toy man,

    this Godless Pinocchio? Why can't I find the crack, gap,
    that moment when the tape was spliced, that step in time

    when the old self lifted a foot and the new one put it down?
    Aren't there origins: the garden, the bang? Walk back against

    the current, and won't you find the river's source?
    Trace the etymology of every word and won't you find them

    gathered in the same mouth, the same grunt, the same breath
    across startled vocal chords? When did it begin, when was

    that first drop of consciousness replaced? When did it start,
    this abduction, this swap, this backwards dialysis of selves,

    every molecule in my body muddied and returned? Why not hunt
    the ghost of my former life? Why not hunt what haunts me? And if

    the mind holds experience the way a Doppler holds weather—
    as a symbol, as a code—then what choice is there except to chase

    the storm back across the continents until the last ice-crystal
    of cloud melts back into the oxygen, until the mind, bleached

    and purified, reveals the noble blue that lies dormant within you,
    or so that at least you can see that once you were okay,

    that you were blameless, that you were luminous.
    .






    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: How It Is

    A Rose Tree

    When we went to live at Top Lodge
    my mother gave me a rose tree.

    She didn't have to pay for it—
    it was growing there already,

    tall and old, by the gravel drive
    where we used to ride our scooters.

    No one else was allowed to pick
    the huge pale blooms that smelt like jam.

    It was mine all through that summer.
    In October we moved again.

    But even never seeing it
    couldn't stop it from being mine:

    one of those eternal presents.
    At the new house I had a duck.
    .






    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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