Dana Rushin - 2
certain acts of magic
i saw the back of a bird today.
Not the whole bird, that would be a confession.
But the glimpse of his hind quarters, his left foot
the one he plants on the headstones of civil war soldiers.
Then I thought, this is a sort of magic,
the way flying compels us; how the jazz of it
kick starts our reasoning. How
Whitman and Miles Davis were somehow
complicit in our planetary woes. How
wanting to dance, and then dancing is how
we choose the half seen. That's why I don't
discard my old databases, My IBM, my COMPACT,
my E Machines, my Acer. They clog my attic with their
old songs, their old dangerous rhythms. I still have a
SONY tv bought brand new in '87
and with the converter box it still shows
a lovely picture. But it weighs 100 pounds
and is too heavy to carry to the curb for
bulk pickup. So along with multiple, wired
mouses and old keyboards with sticky keys
it too sits among the others. Sometimes we keep
things because losing them is too painful to discard.
Others we lose because keeping them
is too painful to hold onto. Like broken
snowblowers. Joel Osteen. Love. And all
the saved photographs you took while in it
knee deep. Then you slam the cover of the album
shut which gives mortality to the entire bird.
Then you close the attic door.
The afternoon O.J. Simpson was acquitted
we had lunch behind the engine house
on Ryan road.
Ham sandwiches and a
loaded potato salad that had sat
too long in the sun. Boisterous
was the throng assembled, then
disassembled. All the blond,
slim white girls
in tears. Some being carried,
like me, for different reasons,
to their cars
Grandma pried the dogs apart with
hot water and probing fingers, through which,
the wet grassy smear quietly avoids sentimentality.
There's something mutually haunting
about a backwards embrace. Dogs enter
a dark place before sex. A thorny curved
drifting elegance, that above all else,
beneath the exchanged secrets of angels,
just feels damn good.
well over a million times,
the story of alien abductions.
Where each time the alien
and the spacecraft larger.
for a mouth.
with no sense of humor.
The one whose tiny body
has known no American
No all you-can-eat buffets.
No Ambien nightmares.
No overdue mortgages.
No three day rainfalls. No
flooded basements. No
Freezers and water tanks
floating from the shipwrecked
stairwell. No child support payments.
No cheating lovers.
Just calm and spinning lights,
and silver exasperating nights.
they say of shame that it's capacity stays with you forever
and that's why I keep my poems in boxes. Because you never
know when you might rise from the gurney they've strapped you
to before lethal injection needing an Al Green or
Coltrane album, only to stumble across something you've loved.
Only that what you thought was black pepper was
mouse droppings, but for that brief moment you pretended
that black pepper could magically walk itself into your
upstairs attic, course through the shackling of those last words
and sprinkle itself onto what remains of sentiment and confession.
What unwilling role will I play in the afterlife?
What nomad will I meet carrying large cakes of salt
to trade for the poem I wrote in 86 of thirst? I dreamed.
I loved, sometimes hard. I cried out loud with the
others who's fragile hearts the mouse too, treaded on.
far from now and not far from here
you will look for ways to surrender.
"Each time my heart is broken
it makes me more adventurous" O'Hara wrote.
But all lies, are at best,
inaccurate statements. So this month,
another one without intercourse,
when a red moon came to me in that movie about a fist,
and me, caught licking the salt from walls and
measuring the water line from last years flood,
I drifted back to childhood tea parties.
The ones where the grownups stood and sipped
pretend air from tiny cups
as if grace could be imagined however extreme
and love, unsure of it's rightful task. Then I had a kid.
Trembling. Slippery but loyal
who sat with her legs crossed below her
reaching up with those same empty cups
of tea. Beloved:
Soon the interminable heavens will give
back it's angels to the death walk first intended.
And we dumb-ass Americans
will think them either bees or
Martians and stay in our
if truth be told,
there are no real seasons; no plausible
connections to the cold. Only
that at certain times
we push damp towels into the door jam
so that boneless mice might not squeeze their
bodies into warmth.
I wrote a poem last evening about their great migration:
the onomatopoeia of it. How the soul of everything
searches for that certain buzz
that suggests the eternal voice. Then how that voice lays
dormant, perhaps slothful
until the image of meadows
corrals the conspectus of learning. As if Lewis and Clark
didn't think twice about
having to eat the flesh of uncooked buffalo's
while discovering the great North West
then sat their foil asses on the ground, writhing for
Pepto Bismol. This past hot summer burned up my lawn,
so I fertilized it in June which burned it up even more.
So I stopped doing everything and it became green again.
Then the neighbors boy played in it's glade
and ran for his ball.