How brave you are! Sometimes. And the injunction
Still stands, a plain white wall. More unfinished business.
But isn’t that just the nature of business, someone else said, breezily.
You can’t just pick up in the middle of it, and then leave off.
What if you do listen to it over and over, until

It becomes part of your soul, foreign matter that belongs there?
I ask you so many times to think about this rupture you are
Proceeding with, this revolution. And still time
Is draped around your shoulders. The weather report
Didn’t mention rain, and you are ass-deep in it, so?
Find other predictions. These are good for throwing away,
Yesterday’s newspapers, and those of the weeks before that spreading
Backward, away, almost in perfect order. It’s all there
To interrupt your speaking. There is no other use to the past

Until those times when, driving abruptly off a road
Into a field you sit still and conjure the hours.
It was for this we made the small talk, the lies,
And whispered them over to give each the smell of truth,
But now, like biting devalued currency, they become possessions
As the stars come out. And the ridiculous machine
Still trickles mottoes: “Plastered again…” “from our house
To your house…” We wore these for a while, and they became us.

Each day seems full of itself, and yet it is only
A few colored beans and some stray lying on a dirt floor
In a mote-filled shaft of light. There was room. Yes,
And you have created it by going away. Somewhere, someone
Listens for your laugh, swallows it like a drink of cool water,
Neither happy nor aghast. And the stance, that post standing there, is you.

This Issue

June 14, 1984