Incredible

Distance

  1. Limits

  2. Sedentary City

  3. Left Right Left

  4. White Appetites

  5. The Sound Narrows

 
 

1. Limits

Talk about site fidelity... 
Talk about natal philopatry... 

Talk about synchronicity! 
Talk about London meeting Eugene! 

Other people's flight patterns lack the hallmarks of mine 
Pictures of ten-year reunions with pictures 
Of altitudinal migrations 
With breathless emergency landing vacations 

Talk about asthma! 
Narrows for airways 
Peak flow a puff from a pipe dream— 
Fifty percent of an infidel's personal best 
A Forest Park duck falls fifty feet leaving the nest! 

From the cavity edge to the edge of the briar 
A baptism of flier without proper plumage! 
In the purgatory of a spacer 
Passing from chamber through chamber 
To chamber... 

What is incendiary to me? 
Incredible distance confined 
In my body. 

Talk about imagined geography... 
Talk about plant intentionality. 

Talk about sessility, precinctivity... 
Talk about cosmopolitan pantropicality! 

Jump! Stop tilting at windmills! 
Wilting at failures to skirt the frame of the swing 
set! Jump! Stop placing bets 
On peregrination, on a fair roundabout 
gain! Spin! Shrink! Skidoo! into a postcard, 
into the gum on the 
stamp! Glue! Paste! Tamp! Affix! 
A Phoenix Garden wren in a sudden igloo sticks to sticks! 

From a nettle-mound to the pear-petaled crisps on the bower 
A universe swirls in that souvenir snowglobe! 
Half-eight till the vesperal pealing 
The architect shake-sings with skyscraper feeling 

What is irradiative to me? 
Incredible distance; 
unforgettable limits. 

Wouldn't you like to know where I want to go?

2. Sedentary City

Try 
To wend your way 
Through the thickest thickets 
And avoid the ratchet call reviews of the 
Gray Catbird critics. 
Easily 
The mimic mews, 
"Be more original"; 
They heard it from 
A bird more qualified to say it. 
Freely 
They propose a game of musical chairs; 
They bend the rules 
So they will win it when they play it. 

Where there's a seat, 
There'll be someone 
Sitting pretty, 
Calling your every shot 
And shooting down 
Your every call for help. 
Your even feet 
Won't ensure an even footing; 
Your standing won't be understood 
In the sedentary city. 

Try 
To look to your laurels 
In a boxwood hedge 
At public capacity. 
Try to rest 
Among the mock-mockingbird–occupied 
Topiary thrones. 
Eerily 
The tin-can chorus vacates the premises, 
Abruptly and without an echo— 
Sturdy and upright 
In the spotlight, 
You emanate your candidacy 
For upholstery. 

Where there's a seat, 
There'll be someone 
Sitting pretty, 
And where the seating's scarce 
You'll get your shot at 
Getting shot at. 
Your beating heart 
Won't save you from a heartfelt beating; 
Your standing won't be understood 
In the sedentary city.

3. Left Right Left

The inspirational 
Isn't moving 
Inspiration all died 
I defy 
Edifying texts 
I defy 
Hot air quotational flotationals— 

Quote away. 
Float away. 

Who am I talking to, 
Talking to? 
Imaginary figments in the ICU 
ICU 
I see nothing left to view 
Left to view 
Left 
(Right?) 
Left to view— 

Lungs bereft 
I seek a sunken bubble 
Free dive on empty 
Down to an abyssal depth 
And where the plain 
Intersects with the trench 
I teeter on the edge 
A current blasts 
From behind 
I gasp 
I cast a shadow 
On a shadow 

A Turkey Vulture buddy 
From my littoral days 
Phases in 
All unflappable 
To call the black swirling kettle 
Back together for a 
A whirlwind tour 
Of a marginal sea 
Hover over 
One /ˈneɪvəl/ vessel 
Or another 
Body of 
Human or of water 
Blood exists 
To be discovered. 
I exist 
To be— 
I exist 
To be— 
I exist 
To be! 

I take a breath 
I cast a shadow 
At the moment of 
I take a breath 
I cast a shadow 
At the moment of 
I take a breath 
I cast a shadow 
At the moment of 
I take a breath 
I cast a shadow 
At the moment of—

4. White AppetiteS

gray after gray 
prey after prey 
morning to morning 
day after day 

let's let 
bygones be bygones 
blackening the skies 
in the bygone style 
of soon-to-be-gone monarch butterflies— 
climb up the butte 
stare at the sun-drenched river 
clench your lids 
hurry 
carry the sight 
to the boardwalk 
lift your chin up 
open your eyes 
see a shadow 
watch as it lightens and dies. 
see a shadow 
watch as it lightens and dies. 
see a shadow 
watch as it lightens and dies. 

how can I love someone I've 
only seen in a painting? 
how can I love a voice I've 
only heard described? 
how, on the other hand, can 
you kill somebody who's right in front of 
you seem to have no trouble at all doing it 
you seem to have no trouble at all 

straw after straw 
back after back 
mourning to mourning 
caulking the cracks 

let's let 
bygones be tattooed 
upon our eyes 
let's let 
the truths 
be louder than the lies 
I feel so ashamed to think 
I used to say 
it wasn't your land 
and I didn't take it away 
it wasn't your land 
and I didn't take it away 
it wasn't your land 
and I didn't take it away 

white appetites 
killed the passenger pigeon 
white fashion 
killed the Carolina parakeet 
white silence 
kills people of color 
white power 
will kill the very current it ignited 
my own white power 
will kill a current too 
if I'm not prepared to fight it 

see a pipeline 
run along the oil-drenched river 
see us promise 
changes that we don't deliver 
see a sacred place 
watch us colonize 
the boardwalk 
see a fallen cup 
someone carried that cup 
when it was full 
it must have taken every ounce of strength 
to pour the liquid 
down their gullet 
yet a cis hetero white man 
emptying his gun 
seems to have no trouble at all 
carrying it for a future bullet 
seems to have no trouble at all

5. The Sound Narrows

Trampoline sensations 
lingering 
I fall asleep 
grinning 
and awake 
grinning 
in awe 
at what I 
see saw 
see saw 
see saw 
see saw... 

It's unreal 
it's unreal 
it's unreal... 
It's unreal 
it's unreal 
it's unreal... 
It's unreal 
it's unreal 
it's un— 

Cornucopia sofa 
so far you are 
treating me A-OK today— 
Eleemosynary celery 
boyar 
born of crimson velvet clay 
born on an inclement Friday 
born in the month of March... 

Tambourine tintinnabulations 
annotating 
birdsong, bee song, 
thumping bunny hearts 
clinging 
in awe 
to what they 
see saw 
see saw 
see saw 
see saw... 

It's unreal 
it's unreal 
it's unreal... 
It's unreal 
it's unreal 
it's unreal... 
It's unreal 
it's unreal 
it's un 
reeling in the Earth 
cartwheel and coincide 
sidewind and surrealize 
Sun reeling in the Earth 
Earth reeling in the Sun 
(parenthetical asides aside) 
Sun and Earth 
having begun 
accrete 
accrue 
accelerate— 
collide... 

Pierce my wrists with your nails, 
pierce my temples with your thorns; 
Revoke my resurrection license, 
I can't bear to be reborn. 
Place me on a bed of shells 
(relics of pistachios) 
within earshot of the sound, 
somewhere over the Narrows…