CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Vowels and Continents
Some peaches were gathered in your name,
and that was enough underneath panels of
trick moonlight, parsing out phrases from
clouds, asleep like a Subaru in the suburbs.
This time, we come as just one, indifferent
to mealtime, caught with acrylic metallics
between sheets, waffling our waywardness,
agreeing to save a cartoon milk carton.
In each, one of us sleeps despondent though
eager to husk, brushing back delicious curls,
yet modest in the sloppy reticence of daily
correspondence, rejigging dirty postcards.
I could see poppies doffing pinkish caps.
I sensed in each bed a swart discipline,
a taste. Thoughts broken like islands, firm
partners thick as the Kawaiisu and Khoi.
This life, in fact, is about rubbernecking space
sacred as junk-bond litigants beyond all
purview, moist expectations festering our ears.
So peers triumph. Yet in the jealous ruckus
of shucking, wincing, I’d still surround you if
I could, replaying our loquacious pastimes:
breaching your neck’s cover, its mint sugars,
our awkward commotion iridescent once.
After it descended, it didn’t cause much pain.
Finally, your resale value was ascertained.
The meek leggings of fog, its crude smallnesses,
follows someone walking a dog duly along.
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From here, we can open a segue and remind ourselves
of the turn we took back on the hiccupping passage,
an offshore road slick with fast-food skies, inbred rain
and other peculiar amenities that had bedazzled radio.
True, alongside these sober beach particulars you won’t
exactly stumble into a gothic carving if that’s your sport;
or be able to plummet into hives of ambassadorial bees.
Nervous rivers that hang in the hearty air have called us.
Naturally, we have a manual on our lap to throng about,
quilting this or that scene from another Chilean movie.
The narrator had told us about the sun-harvest virtues
as something had come into our thoughts as a banquet,
disrupting elegiac niftiness, tilting toward summation.
Implacably so-so, those of us that aren’t shocked will be.
And bowing without sponsor for the copyrights of hair,
you’ll explain to me such music. How it breaks the air.
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Come away and meet some of the other winners
who are in fact quite eager to meet you though
this is quite the spraddled occasion, my thoughts
adrift like ivory placards of bulls against a sea,
sandwiched atop the open mouth of a clumsy
amphora. It’s about as pretty as things get here
without much leniency. Each human personage
with unguents and genitals marks its divinity.
All manner of object takes on heavy breathing:
a certain ring on a black countertop not made
of silver; the usual skirmish of dust, arranged
for catastrophic snapshots; the looming fullness
of light, still fist-full and fresher than a million
heirloom flowers brought sopping from a field.
I read once in a honeyed tome the sexual myth
was distraction, a pretend violence we mend.
That distraction itself had a depraved-belly
repurposing, even if you feel towards it how
open windows in winter help the warm-wisher
sleep, enfolded in the algebra of dreaming.
Lately, after napping in the usual public places,
I’ve sanctioned my duller, growing skepticisms.
The trials of an aging eternal body, for example.
Isn’t it like an arrow pointing the way, whether
the somnambulant rounds a clinician often takes,
humming his or her messiness in seesaw adjectives,
or like a real-life taste test, some home invasion
fondly demonstrating yesterday’s enchantments?
Doubting is a sure means of denying life, the coarse
conundrum of musculature tied in one big knot.
Your hands like a pointillist river block names
from adjacent recall, the shapes so particularly
and distinctively null-and-voided, as if denuded
by all the scrum and favor we still have to have.
Like some chubby Damocles, you fantasize about
a type of homey awkwardness, slim and pyrrhic,
yet held outside of whatever “finality” brings you
finally, so that whatever this reduces us all to is
a/ bedfellows, b/ siblings, c/ English boarding
school attendants, d/ something gracefully else.
Maybe if you repeat things enough times in your
head to yourself without noticing, the old movie
will stay a movie, the new foreboding afternoon
will be regular in its movement, its buzz and lisp.
Because you’ve lived so long in secondary thrill,
you’ve become your furniture, even though it
never becomes you. Rather, not all of you.
Another existential Tuesday sips its stew.
Following the garden path in a board game,
you wonder at how much longer it is before
the clippings derail and we’re left along
a hilltop with rueful and squiffy speech
patterns that ache in tender arch then turn
to zilch. That I would alter nothing says
nothing about me. Does it say something
about you? Do you mind if I ask how you
got to this party? Your name rhymes with
Donner or Vincent, I believe. Don’t tell me.
Someone’s shrill snoring in the next room is
like a tail in the throat on a rather bright day.
Adam Fitzgerald’s debut collection of poetry, The Late Parade, will be published by W. W. Norton/Liveright in June 2013. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming from A Public Space, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. He edits the poetry journal Maggy and teaches at Rutgers and The New School. He lives in the East Village.