SEASON 2 EPISODE 23
The island is a graph in which this exists:
you are sitting
are you sitting?
you are standing
are you standing?
you are reading
you must be reading
because you read
as the poem does
it wields a nasty frond
or has never known
this tender shoot it grows
Ocean begets its image in its own turns
how it circles out from the start & cuts off –
how it begins an ending like a wave would.
All the parts are in shadow
complete with unseen gears
that fall across the face
outside of compliance
always peeing where the others have peed.
We have a century! We have a history! Suddenly
even the present is revisable.
Subscription cards fall out of your mouth
like retold stories we snore through
but in this case they were never told
so this is a big fiction
with first fruit
breathing toward intent –
really letting the moment unfurl it
until the ripened object
takes the shape of something
there is no copy of
immediately the thing sounded
& I busied myself with my glasses.
Writing poems for the republican squid
I was nasty in a nice way
same as my enabling neighbors.
Here at last was the imagined but never realized place
leaping into real life
I lost my first fraction of sight in math class
2 years after I watched a load of dripping laundry get pulled
mid-cycle from the machine
William Blake: Do you still have my eyeglasses?
Nobody: No, I traded them. do you have any tobacco?
William Blake: No, I traded it.
Nobody: For what?
William Blake: I’m not telling.
William Blake: Thief.
The boy had gone missing but the dog remained
digging up relations we never saw die
until the only habit that remained was kunst –
perhaps it survived to revise past tendencies
always kunst in the dream
kunst in the dinner
kunst in the tent
when we arrived there were 74 cigarettes
& now there is one
but we still haven’t decided
on who will be chief
we soon discover voting
decides nothing at all
but the toy of voting can be just as pleasing
as a seashell
There was nothing wrong with anything, but you could not place yourself anywhere
The jungle minutely vibrated
with strains of destroyed music
under palms of a formal math
you are always in a car before me
turning to the left
In our liver perhaps we knew
we were being watched
by a world of terrified animals
but we often forgot that ache
& loved each other.
I think I see a polar bear. No. It’s a white rock.
Perhaps I knew in advance
that the dead thing would die
because I dreamed it died
before it did
& told the dead thing so.
He tried to act unaffected
but I saw his skin betray his theater.
Way after the fact I became pleased with my decision.
I didn’t mind falling behind
a Winnebago on the freeway.
I barfed silently as if on stilts –
as if it was not a good island.
The pilot said nothing to the contrary.
The pilot has the best manners
because, duh! He’s the pilot. Or he was.
When birds fly through the jungle
all at once the many ventricles
sputter out –
that we were stranded outside of the greater sadness
that we took up canteens
& masked, made a go at survival.
Unsure our legs weren’t broke
unsure our brains thumped right
unsure our brains registered anything
against the blue screen.
Catherine Meng lives in Berkeley, CA. Her first collection of poems, Tonight's the Night, was published in 2007 by Apostrophe Books.