Shabbier than usual
Not much whereabouts
Put a call in,
‘Meet me wouldn’t you
This evening by the trees,’
Where the road hangs and the river
Ruptures to become mountains
And the camp you built
Out of packing cases
‘And if you beat me to it
Come up with some names wouldn’t you
Whatever settles you as comfortable.
Send me a picture.’
I have this photograph
Waiting for you with my phone
Some tree in winter
Articulated by an office building.
Shabbier than I am. His onesie
covered with the smashed peas
of his brother. Scarf over his mouth:
I am a bad man. He says. I am a man
who drinks coffee. He says. Some tree
in winter becomes
the tree that should be cut down
with the tree cutter train. Says the bad man.
One tree in winter, he says,
becomes its needles, and then,
And if you are comfortable,
mascara covering his chin for the beard;
the road outside hangs itself
from the sky which is where, the bad man says,
the dragon is ruptured of the mountain.
I am a nice dragon. Says the nice dragon.
I will take care of you. Says the dragon.
The mountain does rupture, I tell him.
And the road will hang. The road, I said,
holding the shabbier little baby, that you stand in.
The poem is you needs be And we can be cool about it In the slow moments Of an August afternoon, Nobody comes and Therefore the place you built Remains impregnable, Out of sight No such evidence of circumstance Only clothes You stood up in.
And maybe the poem can only say standing Nowhere in the reckoning Where the road hangs And the river Ruptures to become the plain, But the truth is Having that coke with you Was a contract between us, A document Not anybody witnessed No such name.
No such August afternoon, and no clothes stood up in. Is your memory of the river also like mine. The river in August dropping below the stones of its bed. The truth is I don't know if it can still be called a river, underground. Truth is, the places built and rivers remembered are never impregnable: children, the truth is, are never ruptured beneath the clothes never stood up in.
Is it worth documenting this loss. For no one to remember anything, and I'm ashamed to say I can't stop being happy. The plains contracting with the ruptured mountain. Volcano, says the boy, of the smashed dragon. The boy of whom the earth-- do we have to love what we have done?-- has no such memory.
Or isn't the truth we dropped everything to have that coke Not much whereabouts to speak of No such August afternoon Though it was the city That much we could name And this was a way we'd come To articulate happiness Call it improvising on the evidence Needs be.
And truth be told what we need surely Is a new kind of document equal To the places we constructed between us Where the road hangs and the river Drops below the stones so we can Know it at least as witness Adequately call it. Phrase the affect To have, to hold, the Habeas Corpus of just stepping out, hanging At the side of the track a mark Of everything we've done together Persons present according After names keep.
Where the road hangs and the river drops below the stones we could become unafraid of being understood. Even by children screaming about the wrong coat worn, the wrong hat lost. With no words, they are understood.
The documents/ the lists of people/ the maps with lines from city to city/ the ledger with numbers up and down and left and right and merchants who keep track: this, and we are all still happy to kiss the screaming children. Kiss them! Kiss them!