Our father. Who art. Eighty now. Has lost his hair. His height. His singing voice.
As the night sky sifts down. Darkening a small dot of trees.
Our eyes lose the light. Presumption. Resumption. The oscillation. The way
‘everything is and is not a metaphor.’ No words on wind. You see. Hear.
The clapping. Clattering. Of branches. No remembering
into. Life. And yet. My son says ostriches are like goats. They eat everything. As he lays
on his beetle back with feet peddling upwards into the air. So minutely close to kismet.
He’s obsessed with distant disaster—the titanic plunging into the north atlantic
the hindenburg burning over lakhurst, nj. Days ago how should we measure time
at the local goodwill my wife skirted unrecognized around her old high school
english teacher who was purchasing a t-shirt that read the past, present and future walked
into a bar. It was tense. No joke. Do we consume our own dreams.
As if recognizing the impulse to begin again my daughter suddenly speaks the story
spinning on the inside lighting leaping cloud to cloud taking her broom
she washed away the sky. And. So. Do. ‘The eyes of all look to you with hope
and you provide them with’ provision sustenance bearing furniture
assembly directions harland and wolff blueprints cartoon panels solutions solvents
chemical formulas agent orange burn pits. Yesterday. Or. All the yesterdays. I struggled
with intimations and implications. Like years ago when my therapist confessed
I’ve been in love before but I’ve never been touched like that. Today I am struggling with translation
and repetition. ‘I am branded by no letters.’ Does each disaster. Each shattering of the glass.
Each occupation. Demand a new alphabet. The white barn beyond the accidental locust
groove requires repair or decay. Attention or attention. A matter of kind. Or direction. I replace
the termite ridden the water rotten white pine siding paint two walls
autumn blaze and find myself distracted by the terrible art of living.
Elsewhere. It’s the story of many of my many lives. Echoing. So. And. So.
Might I. Can I. Please. Confess. Surrender the seeing to you. Today ‘another
and another’ headline—‘all the news’—and tomorrow and tomorrow until
the oceans boil. Freeze. Reassemble. Some semblance. ‘Apes wing / in wind. On stone.’
No more headlines. Only notifications. Alerts. In the meanwhile. All my
messages refuse to send. Here’s one: the baptist the baptists love to hate
jimmy carter hospitalized again. In physical comportment too. To relieve pressure.
Is not afraid. To begin. Apparently. On the surface. Is a kind of looking. In different words.
We see ourselves. See through the words sometimes as windows. The seam. The scene.
Out the hospital window. The blown harbor with sweeping glass peaks.
Or the green hillside mannered with cows. And now our good eyes are not eyes
that see in the sense of seeing. At all. Apparently. The light comes. Travels through us.
Microorganisms test us. The biosphere. Spark in us.
And rain falls. The same rain. Out in and back in. Forever and ever. Rain
speaks. If we are authors at all. ‘Impinges’ upon us. Like last week when I visited
the optometrist. Driving through a delirious downpour after rescheduling time
‘time and time again.’ And the technician in our yearly ritual reads my area code
and explains again his sense of the uncanny of his montana cabin on the edge
of glacier national park left to him and his two sisters
by their parents and explains how real darkness performs—the hand
a ghost in front of the face complete closure enclosure, etc., etc.—
while I am staring into a machine and trying to keep my eye on the road
and the red hot air balloon. My father. My mother. Wear glasses. (Yes. I’m feeling
solipsistic. Like a transparent eyeball. Or the still point of the turning world.)
My wife. My son. Wear glasses. We exist most likely in the immediate or intermediate
sense because someone invented glasses. And of course. Because. We survived
fires. The disaster. Through time. In its return. Are the letters. The words
signposts. The technician asks if I would like the digital image of my retinas for you know
my electronic files. To document. My descent. Two eyes with optic nerves entering
the brain where a host of miniature calvins pull levers turn gears tug at cables. Figure.
Figure. Parent. Child. The figure for all. Or. For each generation. Or the paradigm shifts.
All times. Modern Times. Or in older tongues. Do you speak. So. Hear. Pray. (I love
the scrollwork of your ears.) Can I. May I. May you
adjust to the dark grove. ‘The darkness between lives.’ See ‘under
vine and fig tree.’ Rest and decouple. See through
shade. But see shade. As well.
See shadow. Of bee. Before. (The dictionary). Also. Stitched. Figaro. Figaro.
Sing. To sing. A form of sight also. When the song echoes.
I am staring down glaucoma. Apparently. I am as tall as I need to be. On this earth. In this century.
And if I am to be butchered. Again. I should want to go. To. Rapallo. 1963. No.
I hear. Beautiful this time of year. I’ve never been. For G-d’s sake. Why do you place
so many parts of your many selves in boxes stacked within boxes so you need a room
within a room to search for a part to exhume and shine up. Show off. Show out.
A deafening glare. Here is where I am. I would like to use an evocative exclamation followed
by an apostrophe to beget a volta but feel radically insufficient. Leap. I name you.
The syntax so formal. Sprung. Salto. I name you צְפַרְדֵעַ. People of the people before.
People among the rocks. Of the coast. Fossils. Hope. You speak to me
as if trying to eat each word from the air—and so we are still hungry
for ‘the art of french cooking’ or ‘a truckload of art’ spilled over a highway. To see. Beyond.
Your repast. Your song. To see wildly. To see with good eyes made good
in the ghostly sense of being or seeing ‘through the grave’ weighed down
by stones placed to hold back the body. To see through the body. Through the long
stretches filling and emptying sidewalks people slicing twisting—thought-bubbles
rifting off or trailing tangentially as if we could see ourselves
for what we really are or as if eyes can ever be or simply ever are eyes. My grandfather
who I did not always know was my grandfather responded oh man…the thread
by which we hang. At night we can sometimes see beyond what we can see
the slow lights climbing the dirt roads above until they turn
from the bitteroot valley. So all the crows and all the prayers in all the world
may roost may root somewhere and all the evening crawlers
who love the earth may find themselves lifted there. And so
you speak to me ‘of a butterfly that turns back into a caterpillar
and of a chicken that transforms into an egg which gives birth
to another chicken.’ And so it turns out we’ve been here this whole time. Each
of us. With our own elegies and odes. Immortal jellyfish on our own.
Earthly planets. Invisible. Visible in the right shifts of light.