I didn’t. Then I did. The psychological rose
pinned on a green shirt that wore you inside out. Seams
showed. Insects spoke. Girls who knew you laughed,
diseased worlds that they were. I felt chewed, a lit language
uplifted within me. Don’t, you said, I’m a part of…
I liked being fixed, slathered in the brightest silence.
You felt pale, smitten by weeds and ruined clouds
until grief snapped, defeating science. If you weren’t
sunlit by days, made of small moments.
I have learned to eat nothing or
I’m returned to that concealed world, where
you struggled with the opposable; broken glass;
green, curdled yogurt; crushed grass.
A flashlight in my face and I was all yours,
too many mouths on my skin. I burst.
As Things Fell Down
Little cadavers flew into the face of nearly everything.
We were dressed to kill. They were like insects,
but we named them feelings. We couldn’t
resolve our differences. We probed parents.
So much could be said for scientific understanding.
There was too much against us, even sky
pushed us hard and far. Clouds opened false
teeth, swallowed. A bruise-colored marriage.
Where did it hurt and for how long?
We all did things that slipped out of our hands,
broke. What have we done to each other?
Everything filled everything else…
We found things inside one another’s body
that couldn’t stay there any longer. I was compelled
by romance to remove the small annoyances
that impeded us, hostile animals, all that
bleeding, things skittering off table tops.
Little cadavers waved goodbye under
imploded moonlight the night I forgot them.
Twitching in my throat, a body’s tiny world
was teetering between ruined countries.
Shy Instruments of Misunderstanding
Someone was suddenly behind you. Her hat,
her scandalous appetite for air, weren’t extra–
terrestrial. Her bones poked through her skin.
You believed an apology was in order.
We were all tourists obfuscating empty space.
I entered, carrying here to there, and something became
attached to me. You described other places to be.
We stood at a window, smoke pressed into the evening.
(No different from anyone else).
You reached inside your companion, scooped out
something to comfort me. The moon scoured a table,
plucked an appetizer. You stood, with your head on her
shoulder, getting technical. I explained the illusion
of setting your own house on fire.
Did you resemble me, surprised by a deficient afternoon,
limping scenery, our bodies with intentions of their own?
I had a question about all the small things that impeded us,
broken machines, objects skittering off table tops.
The world looked away from us just when we needed it the most.
This Could Be a Solution
since it’s not a black dress, designed for a quandary.
I was deferential as you introduced your missing unhappiness,
with its riddles and positions between random clouds.
We were bereaved, bristling in the blonde grass, waiting for
our feet to practice tiny acts of violence.
We were full of historical errors that couldn’t come around to
our way of thinking about augmentation or how a shirt
wrapped itself around an object. Leave the hem as you would
someone drowning. Leave the dark sleeves hidden.
More of what has happened wasn’t a solution because
it interrupted the hours. You weren’t sleeping
without your ideas, were you? My mind was silent,
as though full of everything, along with black shoes.
Yesterday the happiest spot was near your knees.
You were dancing to make it louder, rhyming in all
that empty space. Watch it fly toward the rising surface.
We have to be careful where we move our feet. Hazardous
floors, querulous questions and chairs surround us.
You could lose yourself in permeable folds.
Between more than us, sky was stuttering with a disguised you.
All that music was friendly, so you could offer your good
hand, the one that didn’t lie or say it was something it wasn’t.
Like a beginning. Like some magical machine.
I was careful where I kept my body.
I was sorry that it was what it was. The solution looked better
in blue. All that blonde grass was an announcement.
Things could fall, trees becoming furniture
with limitations. I’ve learned to hate the edges,
stairs, homes, sentences. I’m growing carefully unconscious.
All those black dresses will find us. I want them to use us
so they can dance in small, wistful towns. What is draped
is opening, as though it’s everything flushed from the answer.
We became the scenery. No parts were harmed in its making. My reflection slipped through glass, arced where sky met metal, drifted past the gestures of birds embedded in revolutionary clouds with their own agendas. Your body somersaulted inside my head, leaked at its own insistence until I was drenched in our foreign romance with my own zeal. Our tumult was tumbling, while a country I would describe as squandering its sheep, political lunatics, and risky currency tiptoed below us. I was masquerading as someone who cared about the endless circle of life. I grew dizzy with my eyes open. I spilled my throat and eyelids against your bright orange and blue shirt, implying that speed and the various angles frightened me.
Simple things scared me the most. They grew complicated and scurried through my dreams as lightning sparked by cutlery or black rain or the wrong turn. We invented every oncoming moment, one after another, until they blurred. We raveled then unraveled together. My little scream unwound near the end, perhaps for show. First the smell of grease and gears, then, after disembarking, food and conversations in another language unspooled along the pier, greeting us. I pirouetted, my skirt flying around me, my feet lifted off the ground successively. My eyes rolled and fluttered. My mouth was open and round and perpetually astonished at tourist sights. This was a new place that I would be leaving soon. I followed your dark hair further into a crowd wearing colorful clothes. I wanted another kiss, more toes, a circulatory greeting from all the passersby. What I received: being anywhere and everywhere; a necessary and cruel country; and a man who swallowed me with abandon like the scarred moon absorbed by darkness.
Take me to that park, I requested, pointing to the green question mark.
He posed, his arms raised. But I’m busy holding the heavens up, he said in perfect English.
I knew we were back where we had started.
Laurie Blauner is the author of two novels, Infinite Kindness and Somebody, and six books of poetry. A novella called Instructions for Living was published in 2011 from Main Street Rag. Her most recent book of poetry was Wrong from Cherry Grove Collections. She has received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship as well as Seattle Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, 4Culture, and Artist Trust grants and awards. She was a resident at Centrum in Washington state and was in the Jack Straw Writers Program in 2007. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, The Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, and many other magazines. A novel titled The Bohemians is forthcoming from Black Heron Press in 2013 and a poetry chapbook is forthcoming in 2013 from dancing girl press.