Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions
Legend on drums.
released October 5, 2011
all rights reserved
- Track Name: Cliff
In the living room he rocked in his chair,
looking moon-eyed and amused.
It was four in the afternoon,
and his day was over.
In a few minutes the grandson would be gone,
and he’d shuffle across rooms in his slippers
to make his drink at the kitchen window,
stirring the whiskey and sweet vermouth
with gnarled finger,
looking over the hills and valleys
with his one good eye.
Days crank up and a sun wheels over the sky,
and he has his common places to fill up
again. One sip for the place where Bobby is,
another for his wife,
one more for the several loving dogs whose backs of ears
all felt his tender clutch and scratch.
The light grip of the glass receives the same affection;
the restless sips go to the place where pains
reduce to facts; where hard memories are constant aches
and giving up is never too far behind.
In a year’s time I’d sleep on the floor next to his bed
and listen to his erratic breathing through the night,
waiting for the body to surrender.
When the last breath did come, he looked right at me,
and then he passed on.
They wheeled out the small, emaciated body
under a white sheet.
Most of the land around was dead right along with him.
- Track Name: Patton
As of tonight, he’s sprung.
We meet him roused from his lone photograph,
peering out on a world long since dead to Dockery’s
hardwood stomps and Specials, too---
like bruised peaches under each eye,
lips asserting the stout, mid-taunt gaze of the Delta dandy.
No doubting he is that hardboiled and wiry sonofabitch,
said to be part Injun and winnowed by the seamier affections
of men, and why not.
Not one voice like that voice rising,
now whumping low in the register,
the storied routs of Tom Rushen and Halloway
mixing stakes with our nubile daughters’ trembling
We need well this poet and harpy: one like to blow
the roof off God’s house just to tickle a whim of whiskey
the other firm and quick in the squabbles of fools,
railing against the scheming likes of all the world’s
We need him like the god needs the demon,
so the augurs of all that good and bad Charley
remain an imbalance eternally tipping one
truth to the next, one song to the other,
heel to ghostly heel.
Swing low, wind, and back him.
- Track Name: Career-Minded Individual
Throughout the late morning the cicadas and a chainsaw
air a steady arc and grind over the garden.
He sits with her on the small deck finishing his coffee, she
her tea, as the other two in the group have gone off for breakfast
in the next town over.
A sharp, permutable crack is opening across the tiny New York burg:
grainy vantages, 16mm, roads clogged
with the draped and loyal hordes only a year or two
away from a kind of Darwinian split between “casualty”
and “career-minded individual.”
But what of that legacy now, now that
he’s of an age to wonder about passings-on?
He takes her hand.
There’s too much to not do right now.
Ideas will waffle on a mostly silent drive
along the creeks and back roads.
And the swimming
or the hike only one in the group
is inclined or prepared to do
She must be thinking that even in his lowest,
most drunken and dark moments
why he never finds the real pain in his chest,
that only now finds him
leaning against the door jamb
at 5:13 AM, wondering what the hell he’s
going to do with his hands.
- Track Name: Morandi: Natura Morta, No. 86
A Poem Under the Influence: Morandi’s Natura Morta, No. 86
The foil on the pack catches my eye. An emptiness is captured there. The sky. The foil is reflecting the sky. Rhymes with it.
If he looks outside again,
perhaps the evening sky will blue a little more,
and the image half seen in the neighbor’s window
might bore into the lately-dulled warrens of his curiosity
and prowl among other burdensome urges not soon
(or already half-) written,
and find the same small, transcendent nudge
a sky and a pack of Camels once gave him.
He might see, as Morandi did,
that the trouble with getting any image right
is not a question of the wrong-aged soul
dithering between minutiae (such as light)
and intrigue (such as pussy)
the little chasm of a late afternoon between the two boxes,
in the one and darkest shadow,
where who knows what truly sits on the table.
So he turns
(because you always must), and
before the image could disappear or, worse,
his eye led not just to a source---
or some glimpsed body
of a source---
but the emulsion, too,
just to see something take hold
- Track Name: No,Not Gently
…Your "brink's" and "edge's," too ---
they're all that keep the oceans and continents
that vast and permissible.
I will talk all night.
The nature of love is loud,
and these "placeholders" you talk about, these
necessary steps, they’re nothing but crippling traps
your instincts will go to die in,
memorizing how or why you couldn't shout love
out of your sleepy designs on the "right thing."
I thought you were tired and "starved" of demanding a simple,
feeling touch? Go on.
He's probably waiting to hear you say it.
It’s better that you live with such formidable
and arousing odds you call ghosts.
Pain accepts us.
Who among us hasn't
had their heart ripped out by now?
I’m not moving too fast.
Keep dreaming about our walks at night,
walking in perfect step after entire afternoons in bed.
keep the photographs coming,
please. They're great.
One day soon ("I'd bet my genes on it"),
I'll ask you to go get the wine, sit down close,
and tell me to remember what brought us here.
Stop your patience.
The cold and lonely nights are here now.
The bare tree’s limbs tapping at the window, the balcony doors
rattling under your grip: you really wonder
why you jerk and twitch among the afternoon hordes ---
- Track Name: The Reader
So many nights now
boiling from inside.
But so goes the in extremis of a young heart.
A spiel-less future will tell him
he should’ve known her. But time,
despite the lingering hostilities of 5am
(despite time itself),
will continue to un-spool
shadowy little windows on still more
failures to come.
Chin up, lover boy.
The skies await you again, post-
haste. See. Don’t yearn so much.
The clouds you and mama used to find
animals and other such cunning in
are all blown realms
and stalled explosions.
Even so, the reader rarely would’ve noticed
such a pained statement in his former city.
He would’ve scoffed at it, quietly,
having known too many of the hers to whom
that sidewalk makes plea.
But the new city, where a sympathetic vantage bears itself
so easily and freely in the reader’s new mind,
makes him stop, knowing love well now,
but life much less so,
as the buildings dream on the Fourth,
like explosions worried back to life across the skyline,
as vast and conflicted as a language looking back.
- Track Name: Rue Girardon
Woe to the sandaled mobs
mingling and bored under the windmill
They took photographs and moved on
It was once dangerous to do that here
They took the usual shots
and then moved along to Avenue Junot
in that all-too-usual checking
and re-checking of their collective pace
Only the gloaming
manages to dignify
their every step down the hill
(Same light): He could spurn them all
(It's that same light)
on a feast of human disintegration
but holds fast and does not
settled of sorts, he abides an increasing will to be left alone
and see alone.
- Track Name: Visitacion Valley
She’s up early
watching dawn come from a struggle
of sea and stars
Escape she once knew
half as reckless and half as sensible
in all her many delicate sorrows
It still tries to remind her
The far reaches and folds of land
advance in the coming light
and when he stirs
she reels back across the landscape
sweeping through the blurred
and nameless shapes of things
as if he had called out to her
and everything about it was good
- Track Name: A Poem For Heroes
A POEM FOR HEROES
A lunatic in a bar. Four-star manna raining down.
Flickering images on a TV; wars that aren’t news;
points along a line that was once a narrative
but now bends obliquely, eschews linearity,
cleaves closer to some wayward elliptical truth.
They set ‘em up for the lunatic, soldierly and alone,
and he drinks with a hollow-eyed materialism
and a greed that once might have been gusto
in the fading light of an airborne division tattoo
and some god-given emblems of virulent dispute.
-- Mark Terrill