Tranquility & Tremolo
Where song is, fire begins, tightens,
then leaps to scream with such ease
that every awkward thing is quickly consumed.
We are upended by the creaks and turns of language,
and the truth is not uplifting, though the mod historians
idolize the facts just enough to reduce their significance.
You can’t find the right style to defeat vulgarity;
or stage manage a grizzly bear. Besides, says the famous
novelist, evil has its own reveille, and I never compart-
mentalize, because you rent the fabric of the narrative
that way and all these boxes of chaos, contained in
closets, cosseted by doors and boards, does not
allow the connective tissue to nest its webbing
in your life. But poets are fractured and unfulfilled,
walking on the fragments of language like a child
measuring the steps upon rocks across a river.
The camera lens is capable of great destruction,
and that recognition is what caused you to leave
your body from the first charge of a fragrance,
that smell and memory are connected in the brain,
your mother’s brownies, a new car, a nearby skunk,
fresh cut lawn, a rotting corpse, and every lover who
attracted you, with their invisible chemicals filling
your senses, and when that smell glitters, the entire body
is fluorescent and wedded to that glowing instance.
The cripple is interested in shoes and smells leather
everywhere. A burning tire rolls past in a black night
and bounces against an unseen wall. Flames fly off
like orchid petals. Buttoned tight, the words strain
against their cuffs like beads on a shaken abacus,
moving without purpose on an iron track,
until a train appears and all the meaning stands,
emerging from the smoke of garbled intentions,
its one bright lamp slicing through the polluted
darkness and the poem is that beam, long perfected
and lethal, like a slinky the size of a boa made of steel.