Aug 2, 1990 – Feb 28, 1991
Well habituated, resisting a tender regard wherein all else, must else,
all else—bold slogan carried forth, burn this one on the spiraling
way of apostrophe—cursed without cause—someone being called
by whose word as the placeholder for the conscript? So
sociable, the sentence—its beers, trying on decades, the sounds
and colors of a face
pressed into air’s ravines, glancing into wind’s crevices.
They’re packed tight with foreign or neighborly dead, else
the local peace. “Try
and burn this one”—flag and word—on a white boy’s T-shirt I read
the invitation to come close.
Across the creases of the skies a sentence covers with discretion
barely falling through the air of having survived men
by engendering, pouring men into men
so begotten, just being around
and trying on one another’s things—
“in language we inherit
the voices of the dead,” Nathaniel Mackey said, and where else
if I ask so, having been said so, blushing, off-leash.
Did you want me to follow? The sentence hoped
how many would try? I’m going to sit here all day
in the peace you made and write about it. All the times
and tenses in the sentence—unread, your old T-shirt, alone,
getting dressed, a little morning cold about your shoulder;
walking past, reading the T-shirt, had been inviting, not the T-shirt
but the print, will invite, accepting, going to try, will have been
trying, et cetera.
If you have to ask, et cetera, light this one—
fire’s vacuum thinking it’s the space
the invitation cared to fill, like a dream where every sign tells me
he’s dangerous thinks that life is listening. I lean into the promise
in the sentence try to survive, telling him he is a good man
because he has peaceful energy. The dream trying to wish this truth
into him, this one, incarnate, this one, representative
but placeholders and conscripts helix through time and tense.
This one, volunteer, try on a sentence then another, friendly trying
being punished for trying, did try, will have been
thought to be trying; inviting, dressing in a promise
doubles back to will have been dressed in a punishment.