Thursday, June 18, 2009


Another evening, this time
on the back screen porch, where I can see
to my left a neighbor’s garage roof
and just beyond that the red peaked wall
of another neighbor’s house, blue sky,
a couple of trees refracted through
the metal screen so that they have a
textured look: the deciduous leaves look
like pine needles and the pine clusters
are smoothed out like leaves. Further
to the right a more unruly (less ruly)
bunch of leaves from bushes including
a tangle of bare sticks and twigs
that hang down like the armature
of a witch’s head: I can sort of see
the hat, the long nose, the hairs
pointing from her pointy chin. Emily
just left for a walk: she had Sadie
all day while I golfed with my parents
and is feeling burned out: I wish I
could go with her but that would
probably defeat the purpose of regrouping
and regathering her energies: so I
listen to the soughing of Sadie’s sleep machine
(every night of her life she falls asleep to
the poorly simulated sound of waves crashing
against an imaginary shore: it blocks noise
but I have to wonder how it may be altering
the landscape of her dreams) on the monitor
and type this while somewhere a woman
speaks Spanish, cars rough by (I need a verb
that sounds like and almost means that,
rough), birds tweet their evening songs (almost
wrote twitter but that word has been co-opted
by Twitter, currently playing a heroic role
in what I hope we’ll call the Second Iranian
Revolution, lines of brutal hopeful poetry
about the protests and the crackdown
live from the streets of Tehran), the very
old yellow Lab from the house with the garage
(where also live two women in early middle
age and their young son) barks a couple times,
a siren stitches in the backgroud and leaves
simmer in a breath of wind, one of the women
claps for the dog, something with a deep
guttural engine climbs the hill: I could
go on, sound never stops, as John Cage
taught us: there’s a piano downstairs
that Sadie likes to pound on and it’s untuned
so she’s pretty avant-garde and also
in the sense that as yet for her there’s no separation
between art and life, there’s nothing she can do
that doesn’t express being, hers in particular
and the life of myself and the species she re-enacts
(ontogenesis meet phylogenesis, shake hands):
a squirrel just leapt with a considerable thump
on the roof of the studio apartment
attached to our house where until recently
a young black man was living: he’s gone now,
the place is spotless and cold. While I
was typing that the squirrel got away: that’s
the nature of writing, even verse like this
stacking lines atop each other as discrete
moments can’t keep up with actual
moments. In my novel, a Holocaust
survivor is about to say something, based
upon my maternal grandfather: what
will he say, who had so little to say
to me? Scared to find out, would rather
eat an Oreo: maybe compromise
is possible.

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