They circle and buzz around you,
these others you don’t touch.
You’re told to stay in your circuit
and cache yourself in your niche;
catch yourself on the precipice
of your words, before they speak
Because that would mean collisions—
or so you’re told.
Descent and burning,
the pain of gravity and magnetic poles…
The fluorescent lights in Rite-Aid
cheerfully pummel my senses. It’s 4pm
in the Quabbin milltown, in this January where the sky
holds tightly to its snow-stash.
I’m here buying laxatives, because it’s come to that:
everything is backed up. The government’s shut down,
my spinal cord’s frozen, peristalsis is a memory.
Even the clouds are stingy now…
…How do people do the things they do?
How do they build and stack their plans?
Their blueprints dazzle me.
I’ve lost the key.
The ornaments of adulthood
were expensive. I saved up for them
with my allowance. Learned everything
way past acceptable deadlines.
Now they’re all falling off my tree at
once and glitter bombing the carpet;
and the shards cut my feet
so I’ve started walking on tiptoe
as the walls of life contract
…I want sky and clouds
and the white squint of light,
not this hollow gray night
rent through with a whistle
but the salt truck came again
and yesterday too:
my shoes crunch on the crystals
collecting in drifts
and I’m tired of running
past shanties and tracks
on an electrified bridge
trying not to step in the cracks,
and wishing I could just
get back home
Asleep in an amethyst cave
under a canopy of stars:
a struck geode, my skull’s soft cockle forms.
The shore evolves —
rhythm wet, slowed and cooled,
water — salt — moon —
The pointillist smile of stars.
On the black shore,
bauxite — giant crystals,
opaque, white, and sandstone —
cacti of calculus,
tall mothers of the tide,
pale in the moonlight…
…The brain is a confusing place,
a space of fear and forests
and tests, where the inquisitive
won’t rest until each corner’s
mapped on some handy GPS,
but if passion leads you
to burn all the trees
and ask too many silly questions
you’ll be left with only brushfires
and a bad case of depression…