As requested, here is the latest photographic view of the battlefield:
A fox-shaped car rolls past
Fog-cozened gates. The zenith
lays its mysteries bare
In black and white: the butler,
The turret, the damp mist from
The river, the pomander of cloves
And oranges. When the mistress
Of the house comes in, stripping
Her gloves like an impertinent skin,
Her sere mouth ready to insult
Whomever she sees over her shoulder,
I can see the knife already, the eyes
Behind it soft as flowers,
Stamens nodding with a silvery glint.
So, my lone Union soldier has taken full advantage of his defensive position behind the Easter Island statue to knock off one of the Confederates. They're brave, those rebels, but they have no concept of "taking cover." They're just hanging out on the seabed, while Billy Union takes potshots at them from behind the South Pacific Ozymandias. If this keeps up, the rebels will lose their manpower advantage, and the Fish Tank Civil War will be decided mano-a-mano.
Meanwhile, Clarence the Goldfish floats distantly above the fray like an unappeasable god.
High in soft mountains,
where indigo is the basis
for shadow, the spiders crawl
slowly toward their meetinghouse,
a web so thick that beech leaves
and dropped feathers now form
part of its infrastructure.
In this place, there is no direction,
But there is a system, and
on the island, that system sends
me onto the porch at daybreak
to watch the mist over the orange
stumps, to listen as birds drown
out the Zenith's partial message:
"It tasted good both ways."
Apparently, during the second leg of the Safety Orange Book Tour, Jen and Shanna took some time to record poems by myself, Shafer Hall, Ada Limon, and Jason Schneiderman for a program on Peoria/Normal, Illinois's public radio station.
If I get advance notice of when the poems are playing, I'll let you know. Otherwise, next time you're in Peoria, tune in to WGLT and see if "The Concealments," from my UDP chapbook Novelty Act, shows up. And a thankee to Shanna and Jen for thinking of absent poet persons!
An infancy provisionally set
With high voltage rays, the sensation of sailing
A river that never moved. Those days
Were badly tied together,
Fell apart like tiles, and now,
When women thunder through cafes
Made of daubed mud, electric wires
Clutched fiercely between their teeth,
I can answer only with a peculiar
Gesture of loss -- flexing and dipping
My hand as though it held something
With a sure trajectory, an orange,
Perhaps, a stone.
I spent the weekend down in Charlottesville for the Virginia Film Festival. We saw Sarah Silverman's new movie, "Jesus is Magic." And we laughed. And then we felt bad about laughing. And then we laughed more.
Fed carrots to a horse, saw many undergraduate girls in Halloween costumes far too skimpy for the chilly weather, went into a used bookstore where I didn't find what I was looking for but came out with some purchases anyway. A good weekend.
Mark is helping me try to order the Applies to Oranges poems that I have thus far. (I don't feel like I've exhausted my drive to write on these things yet, though). Many of the poems feature a set of absent and benevolent spiders. Mark doesn't like those ones. Spiders!
Fun fact: the natural enemy of the doctor is the spider.