From The Book of the Night Sky: A Book of Measure Volume II
certain atonal intoxications in often relating a History. relationships develop.
continuous certainty each extension into temptations. relative boundaries inaugurate Time and again a feeling that pushes toward endless interpretive constructions.
sweet blarney all over again marking time & in small distinct rosettes
at the close sky silence edges listening.
bitterly meaning a small taste that bites Memory cleaves to the tongue of Mystery. small smell of smoke curling chimes lingers with fare report. good harbor then the household that keeps her secrets while outside a gust will wind and wind to collect & disperse strong stories that linger into bitter tales told too often fade.
meaning voyages transient resistance along returning paths or switch-backs that allow for a progress of sortes castings that lay out before us & reveal the molds that lurk like silent meaning yet unnoticed shadows behind the facades of near all things that beckon us towards travel. there are no straight lines in the imagination that I can think of.
in return the applications of the present present themselves in a succession of escapes defined as choice swallows above Grace moving on tides of air across & back over fine antique traveling trunk with false bottom where there begins as something of a mystery something resembling a seem or a fissure something of a soft spot on the skull of creation where thought seeps in whispers that never leave the tongue but float as a feather on the still air of the mind’s clear articulate silence. variable descending altitude. hints of an extending circumference perpetual foot-prints routinely discovered on the shores of a presumably deserted island certain stories that carry as a bird a single straw held firmly in horny beak that are the book of the night sky
so then to begin in silent star-light small path of cloud remarkable as I walk air.
explicit restlessness nudges at the edge of certainty until a pressure develops into a resistance out of which life blooms. increments of sun instruct listening each shadow a phase of moon each step crossing waxing waning and back can not in fact look back that is a reserved privilege not announced but practiced. in each operation a little oblivion no hesitation no return no rest no deliverance and yet every thing notoriously bears meaning toward our forward tangled plunge into now which when touched descried raised systematized eulogized or lamented explodes into shards and small bits of skin that instantly become when.
or to retrieve skein of discarded cellophane from top of cigarette wrapper where even the slightest of winds will distract as a crack in a side-walk will with a slight touch trip so memory envelopes walking.
many stars so little comfort. sound of shoes on brick sidewalk. air bee in window trapped annoying attempting to penetrate collar of buttoned now three times up the neck & checked again coat.
present presents presences present
each will a wall shelter forgives.
isolate. not alone. can lead to
favors the wind carries like leaves which are perpetual departure
how the air carries us fills us forever constantly departing. what’s left
small rock covered by moss I walked past as a child still there unchanged. next to a creek-bed that has overflowed countless times. countless beneath the slow step
rain today and everything an interval. space of days divided by light or dark between raw likewise air water soil roots edging downward or out spreading as a tree branching into air birds making use of each.
random perjuries like beautiful women who smoke. brilliant ineptitudes call to the light for always more
intensity forms on the horizon like relief clouding to darkness any sense of vista.
horizons close in opening. the present tenses in each limb each joint each cell. whole days compressed into a moment’s departure float up bubble-like from that other extent. the distant self returning as if called in from the yard
internaleternal. vigilant dark from which Memory broods atop the nest-egg of this my soul now released into the true field
Now goes forth beneath the blossoming Light of this evening’s Stars. star bright star light I wish I may I wish I might
–fortune comes calling calliope woman spinning that curious sense of your own. can you answer? yes, I can…but what would be the answer to the answer man?–
gratefully the dead linger in my heart even at this point startlingly silly as this century gains in altitude moving itself as am I towards a single certainty. startling. silly. the adventures of being 18 or 20 or 22 become youthful. & in truth sound. quick tune lurking in the back of a mind. grand silliness. the revolution. the end of war. there is a chance peace will come in my life please have some. peace. let me be 18 then as now I am 47. all seeds cast off husks shells dissolve into dust which aerates the soil. I am no more than. no less. what truth there was is. what falsehood poised on the husky shoulders of Ego was & is. old / young in each a circle vowel pulling to circumference the gravity of any life so a-round. & I come back again court jester of Language we are and so push even as reality nibbles our ass at Her foundations archivists masons quick stick of fingers between vast wedged stones of ancient castle wall into loose mortar ejected and tossed to the always waiting ground.
daily the habit of hands running across cold granite ignites friction.
etude / chorus
instantly a shadow teaches the frivolity of will. longing laughs at no thing. shadows constantly alter direction length and duration only to return again. ambiguous permanence. no shadow authors change. change casts along lines that arc and pearl toward. likewise thought whose arrival in the clean new air of any given day will soar climbing the rampant currents of gusts and lifts small birds passing through until the world interjects. this is the Plot. pilot of my heart. whose end awakens water sight memory plight.
in all intensities a certain luminosity develops. sheen of oil on blacktop. the rain indeed is a renaissance painter my friend Bill Whitman then 17 in high-school wrote. honest poetry at seventeen & wanting to be great & get it down right for the first time. and so it was but ours not the world’s. thirty years later and the line rings clean.
it is raining today right now what ever that is and I am left to ponder as I leave it behind where at seventeen I did not notice large straight drops plunging in graytight lines across air and green yard huge foliage of maple and oak creating perspective and an old burnt-autumn finish paint job on an aging chrysler parked on the grass of a backyard depth. not even a hint of wind or air movement. near-leaves drooping beneath buoyant burden a frequent random flick from a penetrating drop. straight brick chimney near elegant against green. I was voted most likely to be seen walking in the rain by my high-school classmates .
a 72 chrysler le baron I think & wet with lawnmower propped against driver side door.
perspective. coated. wet with envy
only elements of shadow will perpetuate silence. as angelic presences large & luminous will often indicate the precipice of dawn as random articles a the and –or a disregarded sweater wool celtic heavy will anticipate action.
we’ve an interest in this life as drawn out here Ishmael’s instructions with Queequeg upon signing on aboard the Pequod would illustrate a share in store heard usually mornings no mixt metaphor here I hear the announcement of my share my tithe in the real teases me as right now running just ahead of my articulation. lucid ambiguity as if all knowledge lay at the bottom of a clear stream like a small stone which I constantly reach for. constantly miss. & which is why I mistrust the assumption of consistency’s righteousness
honorable-mention such observations are no more than a moment of thought along the way which I write to repay.
or the absent stone
now here on my desk.
etude / chorus
desert music when everything is dry & not even a good rain will relieve the scratchy throat of thought.
hesitant demure in the mirror falling way to do I really look like that.
distant music where everything looks as it seems and seems as if it looks.
a book as distant as a rhyme that holds time by no boundary other than its aroma covers what can only approach life. a life a lite alight small sensible day with pleasure from height distant air of love’s promise swirling paper tissue thin and in spiral floating elegance instructive to this my reality I return to even when repelled I still long to bring you close in melody or image to this my heart and eyes looking which I am no more than meaning knowledge accumulates like snow swept up on a ranging current of air updraft swift and departing conveyance descending to arid waiting landscape
herbal dexterity of seasonal tenant whose arrival long ago inspired longing
ultimate day & the wind circles back on itself 3 times until Spring is achieved air swirling with yellow green heat laden change. small flower of linden bursts into aroma. things flower out of Language planted in itself. sound carries thought & hesitates into meaning. more and more time reveals itself as circulation. endless repetition carried on endless repetition bleeds significance into a hopeless terminal patience waiting to let loose its breath.
I see renewal discovering the obvious again.
three times as it ever was
time.” . . isn’t holding us
Time isn’t after us
Time isn’t holding us
Time isn’t after us
same as it ever was
same as it ever was
in a life time”
prophetic. maybe even noble at least a little beautiful and real. utterance. & it takes me up collects me up and turns my thought and I allow it and I welcome it here and again.
MICHAEL FRANCO is a poet, playwright, and artist. His publications include: The Marvels of David Leering (Pressed Wafer), A Book of Measure Volume One: The Journals of the Man who Keeps Bees (Talisman House), The Library Of Dr Dee (dromenon press for Pressed Wafer), How To Live (Zoland Books). He was the founder of the Word of Mouth Readings Series in Cambridge, Mass.; is a board member for the Pioneer Valley Poetry Festival; and curates the Xit The Bear reading series in Somerville, Mass., where he works and lives with his wife Isabel and son Thomas. Elis Polcheira photo.