Thursday, September 01, 2005

Tramps Like Us . . .

Headline Reads: Fisher King
Spies Beautiful Woman. Quote:
"Stunning Really, Running Past"
Beautiful lady jogging by,
Her name's a run-on sentence.
Say it once--you'll never stop.
I know.
Her footsteps sound like fast-held
secrets paved out beneath the surface of the streets.
Lightning feet thunder through my sleep-dreams,
their crescendoed rumbling startles me
out of every wandering daytime distraction. At night
her toes are painted red, but here, in roadways,
she charges along past flooded meadows, pounds her
way up wooded hills, her knees take the weight of
every punishing descent. I watch from a distance,
from my porch, each early Otis evening.
I hurry through tasks in order to keep the appointment. Dry the dishes--quickly! Pare the hedge and tie the bundled branches fast. On those nights she does not come I wane, teeth set on edge, so I listen to the things she's left behind instead.
A reticent music rises,
something like the beating of wings
that fights its way out of her head and
into her body whenever she runs past.
On some other night I may hear
the barking of a dog, a dark fury, or
black grace where she has trammeled the
Western Massachusetts ground beneath her feet.
At times, although I cannot see him, I know
a man appears out on the road where she runs by.
He writes on a pad with a pen,
composes tonal poems that sound like babies
crying through a neighbor's window left ajar.
I know.
I see
that she is incomparable,
that she is a collection of impenetrable
clouds laden with the weight of gray whose
running is a dance in just the same way light
turns into water or bodies become anger,
entropic flower safe against thieves--
and behind the smoke of desire
a consummation of light in her eyes.
Very nearby, fear crops the hedge
of a churning syncope and leaves
forecast limpidity that only a rain
of bloodied lips can revive. After,
her breath clears like acorns
falling through the approach of an
elemental autumn and the miasmic
ether of her beating heart fades, she
grows steady and beautiful and whatever
was frightened is pressed from the
tabernacles of her eyes and her sculpted,
wild limbs, wrapped together in
her driving run, in the gathering of her steps,
chugging, pushing, pulling, spun impassionata,
fire-orchid sucking air out of a broken shelf life
until four turn into two, and the two turn into one
beautiful dancer, gliding with certainty like a
hunter poised to strike a story needing to be told,
an expansive rendering suddenly impossible to contain
under the constraints of a constant muse that leaves an
indelible mark tattooed on an arm.
Beautiful lady running,
perhaps you did not intend
to open this ancient wound,
but now the field is flooded
and I am one in a series of
dead, gray trees patterned like
religious pages in a decorous
book . . . unless you come.
Run past and speckle me in
dappled blues and greens
and every thickly-muscled
world between the scarred
oaks of the need we feel.
It is like girls talking in a park,
a gathering of boys on bicycles,
a cajoling, cruel mimicry by the wind
of a wooden horse and a sign that reads,
"Do Not Enter," set against the night that
falls just before we crawl back inside our lives.
I know.
Her name's a run-on sentence I cannot stop writing.
She kicks all stops away, jettisons the parsed chaff,
punctuates the sweet air with her breath. Say
her name and you are only the approach of something
already gone, the salted pillar of a Friday night
high school dance, a cracked chestnut on the ground,
the scent that lingers in the air after a girl goes
running by, yearning piled up like blocks of an
unanticipated blue and yellow knot of time
where lovers spend themselves like screeching tires
in a town where evening flashes in the sky like a horse
crossing an empty parking lot whose white lines of
demarcation are spirited away by the ascending
winds of what we choose, or refuse.
I know.


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