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corona 13.

corona 13.

finished with clocks my time stopped morning shook its gold fist at my sloth ticktock Rebecca now the parable of Night Nurse and Bitter Angel crawls sideways across the blue carpet howl yes make your god blasted noise at gravity’s sweet lack ticktock Rebecca where are your steady shoes opaque yellow stockings run now run Rebecca calla lily collided her thick rhizome through your mouth into your lung as you slept rise now now drink from the trumpet spathe the basal leaf cleaved against your whelpy heart now is your time run Rebecca run across the sea salt meadow through the bullfrog palace the blown cattail the blackberry thicket the blackbird’s bright underwing wake up Rebecca wake up run against the world’s cold brass mouthpiece its last frozen spring

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The House

The house was the color of lard, each room  
the color of lard. The family in the house  
starved inside a block of hardened fat.  

What no one was allowed to receive none  
could give. The house was caked in lard.  
The walls of the fatty house were slaked  

in grayish-yellowish-white: deaths rendered  
to conjure flavor where none exists, color  
of stroke. There might have been animals.  

A kitchen garden. Books on a shelf. Facts  
do not help. In the house there was no room  
to marvel at the bigness of the house.  

Lard outlasts a winter. In the house no  
fire built itself. Hearts sagged in chests  
like unused limbs. The children were all  

bone and atrophy. A sister once reached out  
the hand of her heart to rouse her sister's  
and was slapped. By whom did not end up  

mattering. The family eventually divided  
its impoverishment, becoming several  
families in houses each painted by heart 

with lard, each coated in layers of offal 
and grease. From the turnpike, a person sees 
their odes to taste--all wrong and ivory. 

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The Culture

I was talking to the owner as the meter was expiring.
Under harsh lights of nourishing necessity
the blossoms fall and the fruit blooms.
Puddles form in my footprints.

Do you recall the last time I fixed you
such a delicious meal in our cabin on the rooftop?
The masks on our chins
wait to be pulled up over our noses.

All four seasons pass simultaneously.
In this emergency I recognize you
another bloodhound
who has caught the scent of the contagion.

Go no further, the troubadours are on holiday
A letter arrives under our door
for signatures here, here and here.
The music misses us,

food without labor,
uncooked sympathies
I touch your heart with
the fingernail on the bureau.

I never interrupt these serenades.
In a very little box
a very little animal smiles.
I imagine a magnified tardigrade.

Ruthless rhododendrons
droop over sinister pachysandra
What is beneath the dark leaves?
Foreboding only happens beforehand.

I don’t want to slow down
but the hands under the water
haunt these streams.
Their secrets haven’t alighted on me either.

I monitor them sprawled on furniture
reading about the winter revels.
I am nice, I am constructive.
I am deliberate.

You are the most something in the universe
Color of corridor
I twist my spine to feel your shape
My fable has no moral, only a vibe

just enough refreshment, an arthritic wrist,
a contusion where I got sloppy
a bracelet of seaweed and duckbill
or buckwheat and seashell, schist, wax and dander.

When my face bleeds
I stanch it with sunshine
I wear all of the gift shirts
I fly us to the volcano

From there, one way leads out to sea
the other to the mountain on the other horizon.
Which of us will be responsible
for the music?

I no longer carry losses into the future,
only shadows circling past
ill-tempered euphemisms
I see you better in the alien idiom,

Generous, a body like a shoulder
out the pink window in the green world
where the clouds meditate
you owe no one nothing but nothing is enormous.

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7: sometimes a song

after Bill Withers

sometimes a song weeds you, loose pages set

unnaturally free. sometimes a song drags you

and you like it. sometimes a song leaves the area

code, sound’s regulation be damned. sometimes

a song carries you but not as the quiet spirit

unmarried to any gawd, as in song’s large arms

take your body out of its gravity. sometimes a

song turns to itself to take its own pulse: how

often do we consider the value of this? is a song

sometimes tired in its own labor? tired of making

us? tired of inventing meaning? tired of clearing

meaning? if the song clears a forest of trees, does

the melody hold? is this how minors get made?

sometimes a song, no matter its questions, remains

without answer: no return letter, no call. speech

bows here. instrumentation takes notes. sometimes

a song falls in love but this is rare: a song embodies

love is more like it. a song sets fires. a song runs

against the grain. runs into traffic. no, always a song’s

going to come out of this alive: sound in its own body,

finally: scraped knee, sunburn, skin raised in all the

right places: sometimes a song comes for you & you

always go

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Crisis Mode #7

gnarly swamp trees snapped in half
by animal or man or the elements—

men came up in a golf cart and said
watch out, we’re going to start burning

and it was only as we walked back and
I said isn’t it too hot and windy to burn

things? maybe they don’t want us
to see the bodies—and the air cut

into me and my feet sank into the mud
and there was river or runoff on all sides—

when I knew they were calling the elements
as the clock splayed on the hillside kept time—

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The rhythm is the technique and action 
Instruction inhale extend exhale and
Refold “darkness” not my fav plague but one
I received for Seder charades refind
Tucked scrap detritus for later too late
Or too early to this apocalypse 
We were ready but now how is this night
Different from others oh this old script 
How this moon movement is just a device 
Is a never again moon like always 
Pink and full of time if we do survive 
Feeling good and interesting embrace
Me like freedom to not like freedom from 
Like we’re so new our names haven’t yet come      

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I’ll be beautiful and creative 

as soon as I’m done 

The most annoying parts of myself are quarantining me

I used to think learning was trying hard

When my back hurts I know it’s my inner child trying to smother my outward adult

with childhood deceptions too hard to let go

Outside I remember how much I wanted change

We are always talking about starting an unhungup commune or school

or homeschooling with other artistic smart people

or starting a farm or leaving the city

or all the trash associated with gatherings

as though to be someone means to leave behind something

We always talk about creating a place where the internet self doesn’t matter

or would somehow be same as the real self

I’m checking the gorilla live cam again

to be sure they’re still there

not one person in the picture

except you eating an apple over my shoulder

and I’m doing kegels elevator-style for patience

The end I thought would always be quick like fire

(last breath in) I’m not that person anymore

(last breath out) I’m someone better

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They Do Not Eat Unless They Cleanse Themselves

The triumph of the wicked is short, but the poor
rot in their earnings. Scarves wrapped to protect
against malignant atmosphere, a blue silk taken
from my grandmother’s chest, nose pressed to its

mildews. It is prophesied that I will live through 
one phthisic future. The couch holds me like an 
indifferent mother and I didn’t want to say this.
Because I can never get past the first holy book  

I see only the Gospels as good storytelling men
who pierce me with tender precision. There is no
agony in John, no garden in Mark. Synoptic, as in
we live each day with awful care. Scarves wrapped

to protect against malignant men, a yellow polyester
discarded on a bench, pink spray paint striping an
Aquafina bottle. The triumph is short but long, as in
a human life coiled in repose. My brother coughs

bloody phlegm in the grass, in need of its smell
and I didn’t want to say this. Because self-abandonment
is a novel being written, the drip that detaches my
uncle from his metastasis, and it feels wrong here

to confess the swift suicide drilled into my dreams. 
No garden in Mark so I text a Mark with a garden
a signal of my loneliness. I lay alone unable to stand
and I think of the John who crept his hand under my

shirt and the John who feigned sleep, his head in my lap.
Every Matthew and Luke posed before comatose 
cheetah. My stomach stews with pinot, an apology of grief.
I touch my face and respire. I touch my face and respire.

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A Book Falls in the Silence of the Room

So ends the great novel of an ordinary man.
Like a husk of silk the light shines through us.
The sun shines on joggers padding the road,
Danaes locked in sweat, Danae alone in furs,
the flesh under the flattened tufts of fur. Every 
feed talks of complications related to ———.
I sneeze into the crook of my arm, recall 
Grandmother Vi’s epigram discovered in 
her diary after death: If I took
the crook of your arm, would I be a thief?

All achievements fail to obliterate bad cells,
bad only for what they want to consume
which is only ever us and toward no obvious
villainy. The virus lives so that it can feel
the dignity and ceremony of death. No.
Our need to personify virus marks our agony.
Its survival is automatic, a mutating future.

As long as I’ve lived, I’ve sung about dying.
Every crooned Dayenu, the word “die” twice
around the table. I plucked grass and described
its feeling to my dead brother in the wind. 
In the altar of my lap, I placed a son’s objects.
I sang “Somewhere Out There” in a choir
of survived children, toward our choir of failed
siblings. דַּיֵּנוּ  How I understand enough 

to mean that which we can bear: stone after
stone on the caved-in chest. The heart a leaf
stomped in soil, the aorta’s dumb function
we could swallow. We could swallow the altar,
every rock stacked squat inside, we could survive
whatever jagged insistence. דַּיֵּנוּ It would have

sufficed. I made myself stupendously
available to infection my whole life. From ever
the mensed daughter plunged through man.
Each plague falls always in April, always before
growth. Silk bridge sullens into skin, an illness
only ever itself. One blood dot on a plate, another.
The body a maintenance document, dogwoods
blistering with bloom, 63 degrees. דַּיֵּנוּ.

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when books

when books were all I ferned round
and made them fetal, fingered holes 
in the beige-est matter to plant them 
there. they never fledged but swole 
and shrank the original furrows so   
now, when I say a thing I am like 
a library speaking--the soil of myself 
just the strata others' words deplete 
to foment sprout. it hurts. like yellow
does, like butterflies. know this: once 
sowed is turnt. a seedmaker now, I 
teach mine not to gorge upon minds 
they find hospitable. my pre-patchwork 
of succulents I designed then formed 
for this new desert. a poem mustn't ask 
too much--     seasonal rain, a sky 
as big as a womb.

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Poem begun in the morning and finished at bedtime

I washed the world

With a feeling

It kept me going

For a while

Cleaning surfaces

With my diligence

That proved

The world was alive

With minutes and hours

Making new surfaces

Over the volumes

Of older surfaces

I took them with me

To washing places

Where the air was thin

And full of thoughts

I hoped to think

A while later

Like that evening

Or the next decade

Staring into a sky

Blanked with intersecting

Lines the thoughts were

Still where they had been

Left in messy beds

Someone else slept in

Hoping to recover

Some same sound feeling

Felt, felted, felled

Filled in with something

Where something else

Could but will not

Would more than want

Try more than do

Think more than be

What I don’t think I am not

But when I don’t think I am still

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I am the body that told you so. You are the body 

That are knew already and needed no telling.

Will you begin in fear or exuberance? My mine mind

Singes its canaries and their feathers darken

I am finding metaphors insensitive. A restaurant

Where I go to meet you and hook my sunglasses 

On another body’s ears in the revolving door

I tell my kids these stories I don’t write them down

I unravel them aloud. I’m teaching memories

To metaphors. I’m making wings of wood

Balsa light and wafer thin. When the shop is closed

I leave you a key so you can come in by yourself

Like a poem. There is a hatch under the books

That leads down into a secret library underneath

One with all the books everyone normally reads

During emergencies, when the children are born

And the plants are showing off their newest flowers.

Why would April be so horrible? It’s only another month

Until May, and that’s so horrible and wonderful.

Wisdom of the ancients would be nice to know

But the ancients didn’t know any more about the future

Than I do. How about the wisdom of the flowers?

Children love routines. Plants love water. I love you

Endocrine and exoskeleton, ash in the sepulcher

Loves you muons love you the muddy reeds below

At the bottom of the estuary love you. The love

Loves you. Does this sentence count as a question?

When you end where you begin does that mean you

Arrived where you were going or never really left?

There is a tree with a hole in it I put my arm inside

When it and I were saplings. Now it’s fifty feet tall

Though if it were sixty I wouldn’t know the difference.

Up there, my arm waits for me like a wise scared log.

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What you can make today depends on no one

It is a road the deer trod and you found

And do you even know where it goes? No

You are one of those types of people

People. There is a today and at its end

Today keeps todaying like a reminder

Of your uncertainty about your intentions

Are you me or a love song you listen to

Not for the message but only the music

And the sense of one musician slowly

Running a machine assisted sprint

Alongside a deer that is also a drum.

I am better off listening than thinking

But then my speech sounds tubular

As if I am not walking on a road anymore

I am in a culvert under a road

Where the tanneries and the butcheries

Dumped fluids for whatever tomorrow came

I see you today looking around the trees

As if someone is watching you carefully

But no one is watching you except the trees

And even if the trees were infinitely many

Thin as a line you could see past them all

Across the road across the pond across the plain

To the edge of the horizon where I wave to you

And looking back infinitely far in the other direction

Wave to you again my animal my vegetable my mineral friend

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The musicians stare at the poems

Like admonishments, these words.

Their stories are not sad, not scary,

A little scary but not too scary, just true

With made up details and forgotten names

In their mirrors you cannot recognize

Yourself as self only yourself as another

Who’s there for sure in a chorus line

Or a soup kitchen or hospital triage queue

The community needs you all the time.

Your children need you. The air needs

To be inside your lungs in the spongy depths

Where tiny seahorse-like beings congregate

For their secret concert and lecture series

In a small universe unaware of a bigger one

Whilst your feet share a rug with my feet.

Our bodies have words in common we don’t know

But I was trying to throw off excess weight to starboard,

Thirty pounds maybe, whichever side is starboard

As the torque screw rotates its thumbs

Onto the land that time’s arrow points to

Some later rendition of an ancient wonder

Of the world, where is the world, how far

Have you traveled to see it, to step through

Its portals and porches, wearing your pants

With the hole in the knee that shows the pockets

But not what’s in them, only a bit of fabric

That could be rigged up inside a poem

Like a bird in a cage or an oracle

Bearing good news in bad times

And bad news always only while you sleep

So you can wake up new and ready as a dancer

With a new, ready gesture for a new, ready world