By Clay Carter
Beginning, End, BeginningThe mountain peaks are Gone.
The knife-edge rapids are Gone.
The stoic guano caverns are Gone.
The rope is Gone.
The rock-face, like a rabbit, is Gone.
… The magician is Gone
bankrupt like Detroit, the industry,
commerce is Gone like unbaked clay in the Ganges,
the Ganges is Gone, the Vedic risk is Gone.
What Larceny opened the fridge, the milk
is Gone, a shallow white sea
under a plastic sky of Gone.
Body parts, bratwursts and yellow-butt
baboons are Gone; jungles, cable TV,
bomb-garb extremists and currency,
whooshed down the galactic drain and spinning
both ways at once, Light and Sound and
Maury Povich are quite, quite Gone.
When all is Gone the black expanse
will be most like dead beer foam
drying on the side of a glass.
Sand is Gone, vacation and laughter and Grandma
and Great Aunt Gertrude and William
Faulkner, Shatner, Clinton are Gone
like burnt pipe tobacco, which
is also Gone like a door shutting and
poof it’s Gone like a Xanax in the throat, like
an afternoon dream dressed in wind
like the reflection of a bullet in a dark room
like a Big Mac in Houston…
When all is Gone, and only Gone remains
alone is its Nothing home of Gone,
I suspect it might fix something to eat
and remember again,
and create again,
perhaps prepare another Absolute dish
restarting Our wobble and totter.
When the sun falls in the toilet of time-space…
the poet will not finish his draft (Soon singed
seven minutes, medium-well thought)
sucked-dry, burned-out, damn-right paranoid
sack-of-flesh surrounded by letters
screeching gray hallelujah.
[The parks are finished.
The pigeons are finished.
The corn is finished.
The color turquoise is finished.
The gem stones are finished.
The psychic shops and SPAM markets and ostriches are finished, the receipts, the credit cards (curling like a lover’s finger) the miraculous history, the Serengeti is finished.]
…for an unperceivable frame, everything
will be in the threshold of the door: handsome jaw
and spectacles will liquefy in a beef stew reflection,
the click of the spoon on the bowl, the warm wavelength
will condense into a shoestring of fire and light
the milk in the glass will become equal
to the sneeze of Brahman. [Jehovah and picketers and race
and ethnic academia and fad sexuality and Westboro
Baptist are finished. Games like chit-chat
and gossip, orange juice orgasm and liquor
kisses are finished. The bar is closed. The bar is finished.]
[Math is finished; chalk, pens, ink, quills, feathers, poultry is finished. Catholic wakes are finished. Irish whiskey is finished: winter holidays (slapped from the cosmic calendar) are finished. The first kiss is finished (When all is finished – I think we rewind back through the navel: we the mothers, we the children).]
Poems for Indiana
Open your skies!
gray like the entries to caves
in tendrils of morning warmth,
Or keep them closed! swish and spit
in this cup shaped like a severed bicep
a poisoned finger hoisted.
At who does it point,
some kind of nature licking herself
on a rock in the woods, who takes the form
of a woman, when an orange vested
hunter appears, while tracking wild turkey?
The land wilts like lettuce.
At distant laughter, it seems to fear.
Geese hiss a decibel louder at the passing group
of girls. Their fleet of blue beach combers
vitamin D sun-kissed arms and fingers.
I watch them park ahead and enjoy sandwiches
they packed in a basket.
I’m not there in my own shoes.
One girl bites into a ham
and Swiss on white, but pauses
thinking for a moment, sandwich in hand,
one bite in the snowy bread like half a footprint
a child might find as a fossil
hundreds of years later.
Streets have signs we follow, never get to.
The A-to-B postulate is lost.
Here, time is an archipelago,
you jump you jump until you die.