05.5.2014

Stanzas from A Work in Progress

Sound out Faerie horns, or pipes
that mark the general distribution.
Year of Jubilee, twelfth year
of memory, nearabouts the Day
of Atonement, in the neighborhood
of a sheer unlucky Friday. A cracked
piano or crazy hurdy-gurdy,
make some noise to crack
the torpor. Strings or wind, blow
the hair out of your bloody eyes.

                ***

What was that program? did you watch
it alone? stream it? tape it? scattered
mixtape faded on the dashboard,
wee heart ballpointed on the label
a mark of careless, hapless
love. That moment in the hospital
bathroom, your lips pressed together,
her body’s angles beneath leather,
everyone outside traumatized by the terminal
diagnosis, telescopes into the past.

                ***

Old man in the rain, flagging
a ride where no one walks; I move
in a haze of pride and stupidities,
not least my own. Half-staffed
flags, and the experts rushing
up from the lowlands of Florida,
miasmal, choking moral fen—
dream of heat, dream of fertile
crisp and juicy amnesis—to offer
their blood-rusted ordnance for a price.

                ***

Sentry-man of liberty! Wise senex,
his bloated face a board of happiness
and good company. Our Lord, he
says, and The Words, he says. How
to watch them unfolding
their theater (tedious, paralytic)
on the multiply-refreshed glowing
screen. Tie the purest purchase
with meters of the reddest, seal
it with a manly kiss.

                ***

No chill in the air, no breath
of autumn. That tree bowed itself
and fell, already dead, understanding
the swarming bustle in its heart
had broken down, digested sinew
and skeleton. Flex, stiffen, snap. A pool
of still time, only the familiar hums
of the machinery. I can reach out,
turn my head in the air. Which is
transparent, which sounds alike.

                ***

Twitch out our hurts, our lusts,
little moments of bliss
and strife, stuffing and voiding
in turn, fast as we can lay
hands on the stuff. Have those distant
suns drawn an instant closer,
for all our multi-colored big-
budget imaginings? Eyes
to the stars, tip-toe in a trench-
latrine, slosh up to our ears.

                ***

The sky a dome, pierced and
traversed by zeppelins. Too many
stories. Too much prose, tracing
fluid and light. Turns, twists
movements from one end
of the room to the other.
I want to zap, shape-shift
away. The only opening
of green for miles, fenced
with buses, cars, broken metal.

                ***

No idea what I’ve been reading.
The page before me ripples
and shimmies like a scroll
under water, words connecting
with nothing before them, nothing
in my head. Relatable, they say.
He threw the dishes in the sink
to go out to the play, Earnest
or ernest, earnest of something
I can’t quite grasp. Connect.

                ***

Knickers in a twist at the scent
of original sin. Twist in us all.
Taking upon oneself the default
gender, genre of sexuality,
latinate endings that push us
back from the pantings and sweat,
funny twitches and odd-smelling
bodily fluids. Across his knuckles,
down his pants leg. Teeth catching
the lobe of my ear.

                ***

Confectioner’s fantasy, dashed
with the sleek of depilatories,
the funk of the stripper’s
pole. Rhetoric of the march, rhetoric
of three-quarter time. Can one speak
brokenness without evoking
Original Sin? do the angels only
bob, pirouette, and pass their candles
to welcome us to Candyland? Gold-
Bären Himmel
, translucent rest?

Mark Scroggins (© 2014)