Geoffrey G. O’Brien
I have many things to tell you
Having nothing to do with each other
Except for having itself.
Recently I suffered a mild case.
Some things stop short while others.
Still others continue a while,
Almost long enough to propose
An argument were someone there to
Pick it up and run toward away.
Spring will come maybe four or five
More times tops, as real as your being
Viewed in profile, airy thinness
After which is nothing but
Non sequitur. May is like that,
A farewell that returns across
The autumn proscenium
Hardship in general is,
Stirring the blood till the mind snaps to
Attention and makes inaudible
Protest to invisible persons
The cops perceive as a threat.
I consider spring at present to be
Street theater, meaning
It doesn’t yet know it’s already dead.
I feel about its auditorium
The way I feel about in the dark:
They built it by letting it happen.
Death is the mother of beauty is truth
Is a stage in uneven development
Of what? Living like sleeping
While standing? Extending perhaps
Until it means both soon and never?
Your parents know until you ask them.
They are or are not here; you do and do not
Belong, the set now empty or struck.
Scaffolding is the catwalk of capital.
So are sidewalks, elevators, planes,
Platforms, stalls, arenas, parks,
Screens, cells, bars, bodies, sounds.
In fact sounds are the worst of it,
Confessing without having done so
Like a cough, a cough at a reading.
This is the cost of doing business as usual.
They build it by letting it happen
Again and again, the dark between days.
An I-don’t-do-this, don’t-do-that
Poem where you get what they need
And half like it, are all about it, get it
Coming and going, have it going on.
Holding something’s juggling slowed down.
Having feels like living on a bridge
Between non sequiturs.
At its best the house falls away
Like a curtain going up and to the sides
And everything beyond it too,
But we shouldn’t speak of what’s happening
Elsewhere as though it were the dark.
Because it’s not dark there right now.
If they, if that is their real name
Taught us anything, and they didn’t,
It’s this, that we see them where they aren’t
Because they aren’t where they are.
Thinking is like juggling at night
And juggling like walking on your hands
Across the rocks in a poisoned stream
That gives onto rivers there are fewer than
Where numbness and intensity are one
Painless sense there’s work ahead
And just why would you do that?
Life is horrible but pleasant to recall.
Though you vary the things you say,
Though you alter your expression,
The snowglobe is always at rest,
Little more than a scene.
And if you had the long present,
Bridged its days and nights as if
Thinking saying having holding
Links up the lost with all the not yet
Until they both? But they doesn’t.
Instead the September of it all,
Tension as the stations fill
With the props a day needs to make
The next, the light underground
Almost convincing. Then out
To the surface like a prayer
For validity, the one indistinct
From silently walking among.