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January 16, 2017 | Poetry

Three Poems

Brian Laidlaw

Three Poems photo

I Don't Know How The World Ended

I don’t know how the world ended.
I took elective electroshock.

I was there, I wasn’t there;
the bang was a whimper.

The fancy neighborhood turned to cardboard,
the bad neighborhood

turned to cardstock
and fate the scissor-bearer

cut seven billion notches in her belt, little windows
in the shoddy diorama, laughing.

So the whippet is the drug of modernity:
the air from an airpower gun

gives you a blackout, makes you laugh, gives you
a migraine. Voices charge you

like a startled freight train full of bear-mothers
twain from their cubs,

the ridiculous wail of it, the toy train,
the stuffed bears,

the uniform townhomes
convulsing in the breeze.


The Death of Nature Kills The Lyric Eye

Miracles come more seldom now.
It’s satellite interference.

The standards of what even constitutes a miracle
have been incalculably raised:

from thousands of miles away I see my mother’s face and my father’s,
I see my own home from outerspace,

I walk the razorwire between sleepiness and wakefulness
without fully sleeping or waking.

I miss wonder.
I must be getting old.

The trees here grow in parallel pine
army regiments:

nobody’s falling
into anybody.

Wonder is dead forever if you ever
mistake a falling satellite for a falling star.

 
Proof Versus Evidence

Beauty and ugliness parade
through a fractal filter,

the recollection of a girl in a thicket spiking
to incur and include all girls

in all thickets.
The gulls and doves drove inland

and an audible awfulness
peaks in the tweeters

of this unparticular memory.
I’m coming to a terrible truth:

I don’t want an afterlife,
however lovely, I don’t want

some rebirth, I don’t want the ride
to be over

but when it’s over I want to step
off the wheel forever.

The thicket was so close
the crickets resounded like rattlesnakes,

the blood in our bodies was everywhere,
the trees were radiant with it,

even the shadows, somehow, were
afire, glowing, aglow,

the mind’s unraveling
made a discernible sound,

I remember there was this garage
with raccoon blood and dog’s paws

printing a narrative
amid the gas drippings and it

was like that: a place had been christened
by loss, like a black hole,

or my hometown.
That flicker: I will be

tremendously sad to die
pacing the garage and seeing

if my paws fit the studio blood-work,
the studio artwork.

It starts with a petulant name
traipsing out of your head,

then you don’t know
where your hands are,

one is the joke and the other
is the punch-line,

and when they touch it’s like
the tools and brushes of the darkening workshop

trying to say something important,
trying to knock together

a casket for that raccoon, whatever
part of him the dog didn’t eat.

At the raccoon’s expense
there’s an expanse of pink beach,

acetone kissing a canvas:
vision is to see, revision is to see again,

well, I see a clean garage
and an unbuilt house,

a marsh below a winged migration,
the bay area before the Bay Area came.

The dog’s puppies are born hunters,
suckling, born suckers every minute,

that’s called reincorporation
humor: your sublimation

into the maw that mauled you,
the silent unceremonious

death of the setup
as soon as the punch-line comes.

 

image: Carabella Sands


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