BRONX FLYWEIGHT IN DRAG
Finding your form
is not a form of discipline. He held still
in the bulbs of light
while the shutters clattered & saw.
When he could no longer hold still
he was held still. Afterwards
they left him alone with his life
& there were tears in the low register
heroes use to explicate important concepts.
someone was saying. If he turned to listen
there was a barrel on fire, & if he turned
again & again
there was still a burning barrel & an alley
& nothing else. He thought
when the coaches said by any means
it was an odd way of talking about a human
career. Maybe there was only one means
& one form, one account of everything.
If he moved down the alley
& came out of that crevice—
which was a sort of vacuum—
maybe he knew himself. Above, ads roiled
in the wake of single-engine
planes, & in those engines & in the nets
they hung their letters from,
there was form
& discipline. An engine of speech in a net
in the sky.
He turned to go down the alleyway because
it was dangerous,
& because he wanted his good side
to be briefly in the dark.
& at the end of the shuttered light
he held still, & the light also held still.
& backwards go
the men into the garden, & what is it
but a haircut & a vacuous look they had
when they were twenty,
which earned its horns twice over
if they had the same
cut & look
when they were thirty. Forget about great
men, & soon the great forgetting
will be over, leaving all that is left all over.
Forward go long sleeves, a longitude,
What is herding them
you are. All over the world, curtains drew
& obscured lush portages
the world over, & there were some sighs
but mostly it was better than continuing
to want better. Ponies cannot love
children. But O, those ponies. Those ponies.
FROM COURT TO ORANGE
TO GREEN BY SIX-THIRTY
A city is a coincidence of persons,
& also a proof
that anything can be replicated.
In the city it is misery
thatŐs replicated, & coincidence.
Some say worse
is the congestion—
such traffic in the semi-conscious
it even gluts the tongue. I say
is meeting those people you know
you can do nothing for,
in a city that surely has something
Yesterday a man & I
stood arm to arm (actually, I stood
next to the bulletproof dock
he was waiting in
in the Municipal Court), & today
I know him but I donŐt know what
he means anymore. He looks at me
& the city inside of him
does me the favor of
making so many coincidences
not a single one of them constitutes
a memory. He looks at me,
& what I mean to do
is replicate perfectly
the aloofness of all polite, irrelevant
persons. & it works.
NUMEROLOGY OF THE WORKER
Numbers are different.
You can take nineteen from nineteen.
Numbers are also the same,
because you can only do that once.
Numbers are not socialized,
a charitable disease that nevertheless
makes it possible
for the only purpose of the part to be
the whole. Yesterday, & the day just
before that, all there was
was weather, because if not people
then geography (& this may be called
the function). If yes to weather, then yes
to people, & if yes
to people, yes to an apple sitting still
on a workbench where a manŐs left it.
My bench. His apple. Naturally
if there is an apple on the workbench
I wonder like anyone
who it is for & what it could improve,
& what sort of man it is who could
be improved by it, & why merely one
& not two apples.
If the man returns as I observe all this,
if the man is a satellite of the apple
& so is mathematically held in its thrall,
there is a fracture of the senses,
from which only he, or I, or the apple
may emerge significant, only if it is me
it is doubly so, as unlike him I am not
an approximation. What is in a man is
not a whole, but the series of functions
by which he is educated
about death & the lack of consequences.
PRELUDE TO TWO-COUNTY SEARCH
On the corner now, heŐs holding a flower,
maybe an amaranthus.
It is a particularly poor metaphor
for rain on Wednesday, for the boot-tramped
for a flight of terns maybe westerly overhead,
but so is he.
All of it is important. Because
a picked flower, in the hand of a dead florist
who walking along the rail was struck
on his left side
in a snowstorm, creates the kind of frisson
missing when it is only a teen toxic on Stoli
who goes off the highway
like a declarative into darkness. That florist
was old enough to expect
death. That flower was old enough
to be picked. It was time
for it to be picked, but only because he did it.
The time was not
until the picking was, & maybe that makes
the dead our declaration
& our metaphor,
maybe following verb with noun is happiness
& creates time.
Of course there is nothing actually
happy about it, but still somewhere someone
maybe a teenage girl
is about to smile over a secret. & what a secret!
Maybe she killed him.
But she could always hold her liquor.