CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Two Poems
Ashley VanDoorn


Association

Executives have been instructed with this defense: 1. What’s faultless isn’t flawless. 2. We are ever exact, even if lacking precision. 3. We do a little, but thoroughly. So towards a perfection not impossible, we stack stories fast, approaching failures in order to corporate them. Our motto: That which resembles you assembles you. And I fissure.

I wanted to begin: “Make no underground movements and nobody gets hurt,” but the truth of this business is that on paper even my partner is an acquaintance, and who can face that? The programmer says I can shut down my system as often as I like, as long as I back up first. In reverse I save him so I can meet the secretary whose hysterics are historic, in my company in her own accompany. Across her desk we gossip of the programmer’s various prescriptions. Her zipper grip looks like a very small naked body. I could paste its pose to hold her. I’m in no position to miss, unfaced as she is. To have a mission is a privilege.

I swear sparks fly from the tip of her pen, and those little lights (could I say “like gods”?) bellow “how dare you reduce us,” and I tell her to remove at once and she does. But I atone at once: She says “if only,” which means “I’m lonely,” and I channel that backwards, confusing the lyrics she lips, “You hold me so close when you go, love,” into “Where do you go when you postcard? On which flipside do you love yourself because only you can loathe yourself?”

At this point I am participating. I am part. I part and do not pester. Am I filling in data around me or enlarging from inside her? With gestures recessed or reliefed? She says she’s relieved to use mostly non-ethereal materials. A stamp can be a stencil. A stencil can be a skeleton. With the right gestures a skeleton can frame or flesh. The programmer chisels his way around the interiors, but he’s beneath her. He’s behind me, which is not why I hate him, but because heat makes him shiver and cold makes him sweat.

Outside our sky-high structure, weather may be delayed, not changed. The sun seems either perpetual or jacketed. Snow waxes, often cinematically, the wane between source and surface, eye and earth–waxes refraction. Rain crisps oppositely. Sky shivers, we shimmy to button our plastic coats against it, but the coats are liquid if the sun sweats. Window reflections—there where scarcely a lack I hide. Not that I might slight or spite. Worse. Sometimes I’m so not working that no one else can either, and I find that terrible, yet I wire things together to keep them apart, which is not what I hate, but the products stored in jars. I do not make a successful incorporation.

“Love not what thou art, only what thou may become.” An idiot-brilliant said that. The secretary refuses to attempt to trace every reference back to its source, and in every sentence—extra words. For instance: “Possession is the policy for disposing of resisters to the future of our present. In the beginning they registered as wind wielding weapons of gold (the lightning) with which they milked the clouds. Now they’re healers who apply burning irons to bleedings. If their results can be owned, the company calls them ‘art.’ If not, we call them ‘neurotic’ or ‘demon.’”

Meanwhile the programmer waits to be called officially. Artificially that demands impartial sacrifice, but historically all a market’s parts are partially invented. Originally, pyramids ago, my higher-ups were toys! Now each underling schemes a lap in a cat, refusing to be complacently abstract, but incompletely concrete. Who cares about safety boxes if ink fades? I like new faces and don’t want to know them. Eventually each calls each other ugly, each squeaks in its cell nothing like rats or brakes: “too bad,” “felt odd,” “going to be ill.” All the animal mechanics at once are a bigger force. But a girl can’t work surrounded by flowers that eat flies, exquisite corpses. Plus it’s getting so late it’s early, and please, who wants to be magnificent before breakfast? If a human flies only when no one’s watching, does a human fly? Flies like the fragrance of glass! Exquisite glass flowers tinkling in the … Outside things must be more real. More sick. Feverish even.

The programmer with his grim black bag brings no cure for encaged, gates shut, companions grimy. Spoonful of laughter, spoonful of lust, skill so droll that dolls call slaves to come and open the wall where I go so young again. Was it better when we used playthings? Better before we were conversing so seriously in the single stark spot? The secretary never admits she secretly wants to carry on reorganizing carrion, but all the same I wish it isn’t my fault and isn’t always happening, the end or the beginning. Perhaps I should restock, take stock, buy stock, be stalked, stall, stop.

Or call a meeting to implement precociousness exchanging its preciousness for something better. The Surrealist memo said: Oil eyes dissolve vendors of salt engines. Sir Realist agreed: If you can’t bear to say anything strangely, better not take up the strange. The minutes should read: The programmer questions who can compute how we barely got here, the secretary asks who has a clue when to cue our commute home, and executives state they’re tired of redesigning the ladder, the corresponding wage. They can only pretend to fire. In the future I send this addendum: To “doctor” is to make better or alter to mislead. If you’re someone who can become invisible at pleasure by rapidly extending the particles which compose you, before you’re hired, perhaps I should confess. We just met and already I need you less.








T’ao T’ieh (Glutton)

don’t look a masked gift in the mouth don’t swear

god is good with a white tongue smells like a bucket

of snow & evergreen sapped we slept through Xmas

I do love you some sun days though not always feverish

wrapped bundle bulrushes & basket of weeds (that much)

the weeks warped each time we opened our eyes was white

without the winter considering our abundance of time

we hide our minds from the symmetry demon we belong to

snow & scorch & vision is still what we remember not

every thing we see you said I have big eyes I saw you

as such a secret resemblance of yourself I want

to be a movie when I joke it’s not a joke when you joke

the roller rink goes bust Jesus jeezes I swim through

a supermarket eating sweetstuff when the clouds crack

behind the curtains we are no more clear than our double

glasses half-full vodka half-empty water & which toned

pink from the sliced finger I stirred with onscreen cried

I never knew too much bitterness isn’t busy-ness if you’re

real say something stickyish or cut to white coats performing

‘autopsy’ means see for yourself no more gore than paradise

requires an elegance not best since the invention of repression

voided the glory trap wherein we catch our own diagnosis