What you think about afterward

Before I leave your place, you tell
me that our time together is precious,
which makes me barely able to keep down
the hard-boiled eggs we watched float
to the surface just moments ago. How
embarrassing, that this word should be
the result of my pants hanging off the lamp
last night. I mean, it’s not that I’m not
sentimental but really one could go out
to the corner anytime of day & count
the cars that go by, nodding to each little
face behind the electric-powered glass
& that could be considered a moment.
Who gets to measure these moments
anyway? No one should be asked to handle
Metro so early, or this morning, Pam
Anderson without botox. I still get a kick
out of buying fruit on the corner & I’m sure
that even the man with the fruit knows
that precious is a quaint way of making
something untouchable. Imagine if he spent
the entire day trying to sell precious asparagus,
how ridiculous that would sound.

Ratios

I:
like running until my chest starts burning/
handling directives, twisted knobs/
like a clearing & a height & a matching of their time/
something small/
like in relation to/ tethered horse; snow in both stirrups/
inferring history, disclosed knobs/
like notes transmitted by low light, lessening

Good Night, Fuck You, & Everything

Consistency is a joke with more than one punch line,
for instance the elastic tendencies of our locus,
like if there was no night, who would need the word
day, like collecting methods hinged on pronouns,
orientating around the pronoun with concern for the second
person: a troubled place; an intrusive voice; the language
of advertising. My governing pronoun versus your governing tense,
wading forward, unit by unit. We are building things,
like what happens when eagerness ends, like to want
something is something of lack, like any tragedy could easily
be a comedy if everybody would just sit down. Leave the door
open a bit so pace begs the question of closure, like your multiple
“I”s whereas the second person implies the first. You said
if dwarfed by the universe go live a big life somewhere quietly.
I said if without roles, choose one: solitary or constant. Lover,
I have yet to love you & believe that might be best. Last night
the graves reflected the lights of my passing, staggered & illuminated
like a vesseled filigree, a braided dare unmasked, like infant
premonitions in the friction of two rocks. Roof tops
are still safe places, a very top with one last exit—what is romance
but good lighting, a generalized statement spoken then conquered
or a solitary organ, hollowed but lipped around its edge?
There is a seriousness here that we are responsible for & I can
press it down so thin that no one notices.

Nest & Trees

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Nest & Trees
1997
Kiki Smith

In search of spaces that aren’t white,
interlaying bundled hairs & debris
are removed softly from crevices
of cement. Leaving the world is as easy
as rolling over; it is the wind that causes
my branches to shake, not their height
or the excitement of distance that bends
away from assembled lengths. Stern
but irreproachable, they drop down
to the coolness of your face & yet
you do not look up. You promise
migratory renderings a resting place
far away from intimacy, whose every
angle looks black & prepared to engulf.

As you are walking away toward a place I cannot go

cold air
I shut the storm windows
I shut the storm out
perimeter of aluminum, gauge
balance balance
the corners here curled
leaning gaiety
hulking under
doorways
a hand wraps around
hence is in sight
peering back
what is April & cold
unilateral with faculties
demands demands
pacified through double doors
or revolving
or none at all
only
a feeling of glass
I shut moving
for you
& ask for mile-markers
devour:
tell me things

My divisions

The more that we meet
on street corners,
with winter hats & hands
cold with cigarette,
the more settled
our future imagined
projected by my map
of estuaries becomes,
my widening course
meeting your tide,
rivulets of stone into
which this run off seeps.
Pushing up, there is a position
where we meet. I have
used this form before
& shrunk inside
the notion of someone
else’s believing, filled
by transcriptions of things
that came before you
knew how to keep.
Even now I retain
that element of surprise,
threatening to make
names but walking away
as you offer to negotiate.
Leaving us. I don’t think
the light is much to brag
about. It is loss. Intimacy
exposed, then secreted.
What I am trying to say
is that I want to hear the heat
of your feeling without
planning retaliation,
subtle strategies
of inserted cleaving

Moving

& the sirens expand down
the avenue & then into the distance
& then to every place my extensions
have yet to reach—the same
thing which wakes me & drives
me to sleep & why it is that I accept
this will be here in the morning
after the excitement of having
something up my sleeve passes.
There are phone calls without faces
& making plans that feel redundant.
Nights of creaking by are over,
here it is mostly quiet except
for someone’s car stereo a few doors
down, mostly the sidewalks
look the same & and all the faces
of buildings are signed. Now
just a repetitive nightly thumping
& once level ground skewed toward
doom without a closet. It’s hard to say
what one would choose between
commodifiable sighs & what is cowering
under the couch. These hard woods
speak nothing of desire, they only
buckle, uncertain of stature & voices.
Framework is the easy part, magnetic
wanderings only have so many options
& continually let negotiation slide
down its side. In fullness this naming eeks
out diversions like my quick miss against
the curb, tapping forward each colorless
instrument before perching at the throat
of my ego, knocking at my teeth to open
the sequestered dilemma which reclines
each time there is a stirring & is spun
among street wires outside your window.