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.