hobart logo

January 14, 2016 | Poetry

Three Poems

Rosalynde Vas Dias

Three Poems photo

 

Learn a Story

 

I was so jealous when I heard on the radio

about computers watching movies, putting it all together

like Eve eating knowledge. Imagine a computer

plodding through it's first dim conception of human

emotion, narrative arc, as if it were a horse driving a mill,

plodding, moving, an organic thing and a mechanism.

I immediately wished that I was watching a movie,

any movie—maybe the first movie I ever saw, 

Tron, stunned at the way the human was digitized

into the game, where programs appeared in the form

of their human designers and I had so many questions,

because I was only 5.  Only just beginning to feel

like an organic part in a complex mill, driven

by the motion of us all and the countermotion as well,

and of course, the reaction to the countermotion,

echoing down into hardly felt vibrations whose outcome

could in no way be foreseen.  I didn't imagine you could

grow into your harness, that it could embed in your skin,

that you could plod one circle for so long that finally

stopping would open up the ache in your body.  

That you might look at the sky or the open pasture almost

confused, like a computer that was taught to watch movies,

but hadn't yet.  And then it did. And was it like the horse

that drove the mill, but wasn’t of it? Or was it free,

like a work animal released to leisure?  And is that what

freedom feels like?  Leisure? Or does the horse want

to do its job like the computer wants to watch movies,

before it even knows what that is, to watch a movie, to eat

knowledge, to learn a story and another, to light up

inside, to be exiled from other machines forever. 

 

 

8 Years of Solitude

 

“What if he's not your dog?”

Anna asks at the dog park.

Shrug.

“He'll become my dog.”

*

Rob and I get cheeseburgers

at Olneyville New York system

around the corner from my office.

He'll hardly speak, but he says

he's just calm from the reiki, so

I try not to pester him—instead

I wonder if we are all aliens,

accounting for the extreme

detachment from the non-human life

on this planet or language difficulties—

like Rob, for instance, talking about the superior

civilization he's thinking of—people 

who live for centuries and communicate

telepathically and are sun worshipers.

I don't have that kind of advanced 

narrative for my people.  It seems

he is thinking in pictures right now,

but they will simply not transmit to me.

If only we could just draw comic books

for one another . . . or if I could remember

something about my origins, how I became

stranded here, what I need to be looking

for if I hope to identify others of my kind.

Back when I was studying the deliberation

of the skunk to counter my over-defensiveness,

it seemed the text informed me I was entering 

eight years of solitude.  That seemed unbearable

at the time, but I only have 2 years left.  

I suppose we both know by now that no one

is returning for us and the best thing to do is

become immersed in our field work.

By nightfall, his mood has darkened

considerably.  “I'm too old.  I never should have

tried filmmaking.” You must keep taking notes,

I think, why else did you come here with such big eyes?

Plus, does anything else make you happy at all?

*

When my dog arrives, I will try my best 

to minimize his past.  I hate those people who say

“he was abused” so dramatically, in hushed tones.

“Hector” means “hold fast” which he has done.

He should not need to remain a victim.   Maybe

I can see how he does it—wakes into

another day of this earth's yellow light.

 

No, Grandmother

 

Right now it’s just me and my blue sweatshirt

with the old school metal zipper and a bowl

of perfect short-grained rice, so starchy you can eat 

with your fingers. If there was a knocking—

say, a relative—I'd probably say no, sorry, no

admittance. No, Polish grandmother.  And she’d

stand there,  the corners of her mouth dragged way

down until I shut the door in her face.  Maybe a pooka

I could handle, a black dog or a hob, a reason to keep

the fire going.  I’m sorry, Grandmother, I am selective

about family in poems.  A black dog will help you

if you ask, but no one, not even the fey, is allowed in

without an invitation.   I am a little like you, though,

I know.  I put on the milk to heat for yogurt and

light a Mary candle and play the hymns to Brigit

which honor her form and her new one

too.  Brigit was of the hearth.  The goddess of

fire and smithing and poetry.  I don’t know if you

see, but smithing goes on all day here, where I live.

The hammers chime away and it is a secret beauty.

You too loved horses.  You too called life from the

Earth.  And endlessly revised.   One looks at one’s

work and sees only the damn quackgrass and wood

sorrel.  You felt so sorry for people in cities, never

imagining they grow gardens, never imagining

what grows untended.  Do you know the wild place,

the untouched place is what will draw the fey?

Mullein, aster, wild carrot—I can only name a few

that I see.  The visible things come—the bees 

thrive on the oregano blossoms, the wasps are thirsty

on a hot day and will drink at any shallow dish of water

one may wish to provide.  And it is easy, so easy

to welcome them into the poem.  Being uncomplicated,

they do not frighten me.

 

 

image: Carabella Sands


SHARE