Sunday, August 16, 2009

Richard Meier

The story I knows about the snow on the roof said the airplanes came out of the
moon across it a full moon a little extended arm-shaped darkness it didn’t it did
but not from where I was sitting. Nana was the waitress next to a cup balanced
inside another, Sisley, Lamy, Mother Anthony, Pissarro, Tote, a knife, stack of
plates, an apple cut in half, white hat, a napkin between, two echoing hands,
graffiti music, dead soldier caricature, or guard duty, 200 workers behind the
glamorous below-lit architect Richard Meier. I don’t know about the list in the
middle, as in stones thrown musically into the sea are not thrown at other
people even if the thrower falls on his butt or misses the sea entirely or just
misses the tour boat didn’t see it heading for the cave in which the water and
light make us all blue all in that boat all in the sea between that chord of stones
the silent spaces between the tones that make the music visible. So you told me.
I want to talk to you about a present. It’s not for you, moneyfold, an old friend
he’d never seen out of uniform, old friend he’d never seen or known or been
friendly with out of uniform; you are part of the largest thing, indicating, to the
bees on the street, its smallness. All this lazing around is fuel for the fire, said
the cork, as it bobbed with a tentative will in the fastest current phalanx, a deer
or something licking its neck, so absorbed had he become by the process. Even
the angry mob had begun to cheer. Too late, he’d been identified, leaving the
crowd (the missing one, the one of us) milling about with stones hanging,
wondering when the secret legislation would at last be directed solely.

And another thing, he kept saying to her. And another thing. Was she listening?
The wind moves the trees, I see only their tops, I live in the sky apartment, the
clouds too are moving, everything seems shaken from the root, from the earth
(as when I brought the elaborate crystal tree down on a man and a child, in the
form of ice chunks and powdery snow, by just the method I am describing), but
the relations are exterior. The tree is pulled this way and that by something
inside it, namely the air, the same exteriority with which we speak, with which I
am speaking. The clouds move steadily. A cloud never snaps back towards its
fundamental reason for existing, or to whip you in the face who has held it aside
so the man and the child might pass. Instead it parts, envelopes, disappears,
reformulates, evolves, and continues. Just so the large cloud you and the man
and the child are inside of and the atmosphere, the outside. The threshold is
more at the mouth of a flute, which is to say the lips enter in action and
vibration a strange numbness and the taste of silver. The table of sums. I’m
going out, he says to her, though he’s still sitting on the couch, and she hears it,
still maneuvering with one hand on the cart, cell to the ear, around the oddly
laid out store, whose doors bear no relation to the interior, as if the whole
building refashioned a fog bank, in which the figure was once clearest and lost,
small central clarity we couldn’t escape thinking all of them together, and its
thinking, and so on.

Richard Meier is the author of Shelley Gave Jane a Guitar and Terrain
, both available from Wave Books. These poems are from a recently
completed manuscript, Little Prose in Poems. He is writer-in-residence at
Carthage College and lives in Chicago, IL and Madison, WI.