A MEMORY OF THE POND
If the slightly wet air in the skin is the hillside
is wherever I have to forgive what I have forgotten
is error unretrieved from clouds over ponds
is we’re going swimming she said.
What I can’t remember is what I can’t feel —
the same moist air almost going as the cloud from hill to hill
and what she looked like when we had hung about indifferent to time
We had to forgive the backs of knees when it rained
and you can’t go in during a storm she said
you can’t go swimming after lunch and waiting for her to turn around
in the wet air through the length of a 40 years’ day.
(de Why/Why not, University of California Press, 2003)
GETTING A HOLD
The foreign objects are related to the accent
adopted on moving to the coast or the slang she picked up later
slung across the countertop or the glassy essence she was
drinking from a transparent object she got in a pawnshop
which defines what it’s like to hold a cup.
Or water running through one’s hands.
She meant to bring him some as well
and an invitation to an occasion she couldn’t name
like “getting hold of yourself” is wrapping a hand around
or a way of phrasing a song too fast to catch the words.
WHY DOES ONE DREAM OF THEM?
Those who show up aren’t necessarily the most friendly
or garrulous or even the most potent
but there they are dreaming away in one’s bed
and showing up year after year as if they expected some return.
I guess it’s why they bother given how far away they live,
trying to wrest something out of a clenched up hand.
What was the bit of polished glass or the sandy shell
and if one stares out the window to frame a thought
why the shutter was painted blue, why the rhythm of a wave
and why were monologues invented at all.
|Fotografía de Vivienne Mok|
IN A LANDSCAPE OF HAVING TO REPEAT
In a landscape of having to repeat.
Noticing that she does, that he does and so on.
The underlying cause is as absent as rain.
Yet one remembers rain even in its absence and an attendant quiet.
If illusion descends or the very word you’ve been looking for.
He remembers looking at the photograph,
green and gray squares, undefined.
How perfectly ordinary someone says looking at the same thing or
I’d like to get to the bottom of that one.
When it is raining it is raining for all time and then it isn’t
and when she looked at him, as he remembers it, the landscape moved closer
than ever and she did and now he can hardly remember what it was like.
(de In a Landscape of Having to Repeat, Omnidawn Publishing, 2004)
|Fotografía de Laura Marie|
Puttering, I put things
off with a semi-
valiant intent to do
what needs doing with-
out delay, practical, vett’d,
sober. Or I pull
a “big umbrella” rain
hat off the rack,
march with the square-
jaw’d constructivists, pulling no
necessary punches, withholding no
cry against the hazards
of a state security
apparatus newly equip’d with
mambo Darth Vader trappings,
insane riot-adducing gear
for the routine crowd
control, domestic, of post-
fútbol Saturday night barrio
toots, or the hotel
workers local’s measly picket
line with its hand-
letter’d signs and nigh
unintelligibly bullhorn’d chorus of
demands. A regular pawn-
shop hero I am,
all illegitimacy and hope
pared down to despair.
I think of Kierkegaard
who says, “The doubter
is like a lash’d
top. He remains upright
only whilst the throttling
continues, and is unable
to stand erect without
it.” Or the enormous
fib of Kafka: that
necessity for “a goal
one makes one’s way
towards by undergoing every
kind of unhappiness.” Anxiety
lies in the hock
shop retrieval, itching among
heap’d up arrangements of
hockey skates and Nancy
Drew books, the piety-
inflict’d owner yakking it
up about Agamemnon, presumably
the cat who’s extending
one lazy orange paw
out of the nether
regions of a hutch. Who
snatches it back at
the noise of my
sneeze. Anxious, out of
angere, to choke. I
am choking, I am
choking off all gum-
shoe affability and making
for the border south
where rage isn’t just
another uneasy commodity when
the pinch is in.
Martha Clare Ronk