I grin at thee, thou grinning whale

I want to get to the plains. No, I want to get to the moon, a sandbar, a place with air and ice and granite. I want to get to the reeds. No, that isn’t right either. I want to get to where I can explain the moon. First it’s the tunnels and then the water and then the moon. No, first it’s the house, then the tunnels, then the water, then the moon. Is that right? That can’t be right. There’s too much blood. I’ve been counting my teeth and I come up with a different number each time. I came through the code. I came through the black ink. That was me in the blank field. That was me in the tunnel. That was me at the door. That was me entering the house. I was in the water. I walked down to the water. I came down through the water and up onto the plains. I came to the plains and I came to the moon. No, the moon was behind me. I was dragging the moon. That’s how this begins. I was knee deep in fire. I was knee-deep in ash. None of this sounds right. Was I down in the bilge? Was I someplace and not someplace at the same time? I can’t get to the sound. I’m out of range. There is no sound. There is so little sound that its lack reminds of what sound is. It’s a hum, or a ring. It’s a single oboe played into a pillow in a field halfway around the world. It’s less than a whisper, the nothing. It’s nothing, but I can’t stop hearing it. I’ve been down in the reeds. I’ve been down in the mud. I’ve been down to the old docks. I’ve been down to the flat-bottomed boat. I’ve been in those gardens. I’ve been in this house. This house sells candy. This house makes pirogues. This house was built by slaves. This house was built by beer. This house is mine. I don’t have a house. I’ve climbed on that stage. Don’t tell me I’m lost. Don’t tell me I’m afraid. Don’t tell me I’m dead. Who would do such a thing? Rude. I was on Daniels Street. I was at the intersection. I took a left on Penhallow. There was no one around. It was dark. The streets were empty. I turned left on Sheafe. It was three-thirty in the morning. The sleepy bakers were in Ceres Bakery baking bread. What a job! To be up so early. Or maybe to be up so late. It doesn’t matter. They were at their table. They were kneading dough. They dipped their hands in the flour. They pushed the dough with floured pins. They stood before the ovens. The heat poured over them and through them out into the street. They wore bandanas and aprons. They were singing Reeling in the Years. They were laughing. They were coming out back to smoke. I’ve been listening. I’m here. I was down on Cabot Street. Inside Cabot Market, a man was buying a single cigarette. I was down on Parrot Avenue where two policemen stood outside their patrol cars and watched the moon. I was over by the tugs. I found the salt pile. I found the salt. It was a mountain. The salt came in waves. I was down in the salt. I was down in the reeds. I was down in the mud. I was sneaking through backyards. I was in time. I was time. I’ve been up in the little red helicopter. I’ve seen the teeth. I’ve seen the coal. I’ve seen the unopened stones. I’ve seen the faces. It started in the tunnel. It started in the house. The door. The hinge. The ink. I don’t know where it started. I don’t know what started. Will I always be alone? I’m standing on the stones. I’m standing at the shore. I’ve come down through the trees. I’ve walked through granite. I’ve packed my pockets with nails. I’ve come down through the marsh. I’ve parted the reeds. Yes, little birdie. I’m just passing through. I’m above the ocean. I’m iris and canal and joint. I’m body. I’m moon. Is that right? I wish I could get to the place. I wish I could snare that sound. This is where. This is when. This is how. It started with. It came down to. It was always. I was not. I am never. Once, this was. Now, this is. Yes, this stone. Yes, this reed. Yes, this spume. Yes this grinning tide. Yes this straw. Yes this no. Yes this yes. Yes again. Yes.

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