Charles Alexander - from "arc of light"

sections 7 through 16 of arc of light/dark matter

by charles alexander

speaking of mesostics, most of which are prepositional, stunning a wave, from a crowd of people on the loading dock being noisy, a fractured sense of linearity, interconnectivity on the tongue, then someone came up to me, glasses until there is no need for drinking, framed by inconsistency, upon a shore where wave suns the rock of present tense before trickling away, too fast for me, according to accordions, wind as a function of musicality, toys which duplicate the operations of a desert military tactician, storms to distribute sand, having run off the road in a remote part of Africa, vehicle where none was desired, to be certain there are beaches there, close to where the bombs fell, convincing the coeditor, say it was four hundred and thirty two of this kind and three hundred and twelve of the other, what would that mean in a context of indeterminate poetics, who determines the density of the bombing patterns, floating into the deepest part of the fragmentary nature of things, what one never would have considered next, not that the terror could ever be thought to be so close or planned in a corporate office, formica on top, a cooling brought on by a sequence of popsicles, not to not to, charlatans though they be, utilizing a new instrument to monitor the apathy of voters before administering the drug, where foals rush in, freed from any sense of context, an inevitable failure, previous to ethics, alarming how considerate the managers of war can be when they are relaxing at home, an inviolate sense of fluoridation, if the word on the corner can be believed, a sexual overflow, not the last light on the street between the places where they live separately, not coordinated by a sign, of fish, pieces to make alive together

allowing for error, responses to presume notwithstanding, a blue streak, talked about for days, when a missile intercepts a missile, absence of ballast, moon enough for child's eye, containing a measure of respect for yellow flowers which appear in the evening as if nothing, a wild and woolly overcoat, to turn one's thoughts over, a hardnosed lumber town, tactfully done, bewildered by the ups and downs, having taken her own bags with her, thinking a circle implied a lack of waste while wondering what to do about its center, squares and triangles into their proper places, efficient as a clean strike on a clear February morning, a painting of flowers receding into gold interstices, spatially, where it disappears, uncertain mouths, a series of notes in ascending order played alphabetically, in a chiaroscuro way, late at night clouded by a sense of just having awakened, riding caps aloft, fears the beginning, laughs out loud only when distressed by screaming making its way through burning oil and bullets proving themselves in fleshy holes, streets disappearing into rain, reaching hand above for a red shirt not a bit like winter, sympathy for the refrain, not intending the vocabulary to be so musical or floral but not having planned for the ocean either, landscape like grammar, everywhere, particulars settling in the illuminated dust, so you know the way light bends around a finger when held before a lamp or flashlight, assuming the moon in a growing phase, a sunned humming intended as diversion, not in any sense randomly formed, intergalactic meaning in one's own kitchen by lamplight, a dream of flying over oceans, immerse oneself, never asexual

crayola as a way of life, two colors intending a shoe, sewing two leaves of paper a planned sequence not consecutive, X's marked on a map where previously cities, refugees by the tens of thousands, extending a hand only to find its bones too fragile to hold firmly, not the skin smoothly remembered, at falling from window ledge having grown older a leap unconsidered, political solutions which do not preclude literal explosions, certain absences in the color scheme, round or yeasted growing beneath intellectual vacuums, had she only known before removing her slippers, not so obvious as one thought, first last and unblemished, nine copies of her gracious reluctant, a child's pattern including dog and cow, laboring until the point of release, wanting to tell the truth, a narrow corridor leading to her, pleasures not intended thereby more intense, writing a way through one to another, never shaking the same stick, blowing a misconception of what the mouth thinks about in a room hiding it all, hiking miles to a snowy ridge sixteen years ago, Europe as a center of exchange, lakeside a site of beached fish, bags of flies and objects mailed as art to various private collections, Chicago needing a bath, at angles from a pentagon of unequal sides lines leading to the field's far boundaries glowworm glimmer, towels of blue and green stacked neatly, wet hair enticing, gaps in memory filled with a partial language, to love to be astonished, leading to absolution, forgetful of her love of private acts in public places, tracing a hand upon a wrist, the need for repairs as in a country burned and bleeding, attain a state of divinity, removed from one's origins, saying less than was possible

reading the proof, comparing a statement with a twist on an old theme, of thee I meditate if only for a bereaved moment, a father when one wishes there were none, on a green field with white lines and patches of dirt harder than it should be because these are only schoolboys, as if you didn't like him, then a home run, not an itch one might scratch at a board meeting, entering the mural as though its walls were the illusion, a flying banshee, on an evening during the Christmas season with a friend named Fred moving from station to station trying to keep up with a hormonal imbalance, a speculum of otherness, in which, as new as a sentence standing in the rain, before the weather changed the escapees, refuge from what, a choice between a despotic ruler and friendly bombing raids several times daily, a shelf of books more or less leaning in the same direction, all of love bound in a blue notebook, a man whose fingers frame his eyes, playing chess with a timer, not inhibited by a fear of eroticism, a black cover hiding the text, the same color ink as page, because one never remembers the details in the same order or otherwise, a persona for mending, in reply to yours of March 14, where a meeting can only be arranged with stamps, forgetful of history when he cast me out from among his friends toward a desert of certain letters arranged without the requirements of passion, color coded for ease in beautification, when a brush of ink makes a stain of iniquity, or a cheer goes up for destruction on a scale unimaginable, despite the consequences painted in blue on ceramic tiles installed individually, forming alliances with question marks, not discussion but dialogue, or someone else

sleeping with lambs but not touching, organs aplenty, free fall, beginning with a sacrificial animal, arguing for parity of nations following an invasion like that of Grenada or Kuwait, to remember only one phrase, sometimes or that of another, taking its sense through what she says, the letters of your name being the definition of cubism, the first page marked with a brown marker as something distinguishable from blue in a nutshell, as if territory were something to be destroyed when power has to do with resources underneath which may be exportable, journals altered before everything settles, even disabled until moons offer nothing demonstrable in the way of tangible rewards a skin can tingle with, translated, composition of an alphabet out of the world in increments not entirely measurable, high density, a kiss for the French, nocturnal ramblings at half past noon, to feel the heat of the blast and remember it as caused by a country intent on liberation, neither novel nor poem, a combination of genres to which volatility was ascribed but how can that approach a warhead, universal suffrage, a sister in name and tissue only except when the chips are down, arranging the tapes in terms of decibels, taxed beyond her limits but not protesting at the physical pleasure of it all, a type cast by a shore, so small that others must wait for the gate to open, entering by rote, announcing the spring volition among the lilacs, not for show or intense suffering, letting liquid fill a vessel, blue lilacs

12 The History of Western Philosophy
bubbles instead of ice cream this afternoon with shadows, rather striking for a seven a.m. ensemble, not crippled unless she chooses a grip employed strictly by the upper leg extended at a steep angle, sand and rock reshaped by continued explosions, ultimately of no consequence according to state department spokesmen, a quick opening, where hills inhabit lengthy effort, who are trained in rhetoric, with sequence, a choir of Chinese bells, freedom for what is now deemed an autonomous region urged by a balding man in glasses adorned with orange robes, dressed to kill meaning wearing a military uniform, a painted bride, a powerful tale from another millennium, effortless, or disguised as a pear, free of whiteness, a protested war nonetheless even though that point of view largely remains unheard, as if an egg were adorned with glitters of color and wrapped in streamers of bright paper, announcing a free ride, child's hand reaching for rising balloon, fears the morning, mechanically strummed while waiting for gender, eyes wide and amazed, to be learned while watching someone so small, fire as a tool for keeping winter on the run, The History of Western Philosophy being the title of a performance, strained carrots, air escaping from her lips held tight along with closed eyes applying pressure a physical joy, appearing without clothes, loving the nature of alchemical changes, that this beautiful new edition of his words, your only commitment to the coast, sturdy, collecting her things before leaving to spend more time walking in a green world, acknowledging violence, formed slowly near the beginning of the experiment, held in one's palm

not to blow up the moon, great taste made affordable, her military sinews translated into male terms, like a desert with its craters and seas that seemed ancient, ample, malformed but not cognizant, who are skilled in the lessons of seduction, smiled madly into the heat, from a center not the other way around, comfortable with guns, not the way teaching began, with black fog, spoken while running on a court audible to a few, champing at the bitten fruit not another piece of pie that brought all this upon us, child indicating rain, not dyed or injected with perfume, simultaneity as an aspect of ritual but not prefigured as were the bombing runs, boring no one, layers of color not entirely distinct from one another, with every egg keeping less yeast, foreign, offering forgiveness to blue oceans, into an enclosure, where we began as in cut and past until he repeats himself or discovers another presence, crossed out, attending a funeral in which the deceased had never been identified, change of shoes, form an old book which had sat upon a shelf for more than a decade but never lost as in the way the river turns into the earth, the grandmothers, not upset with all the destruction, a parental attitude nearly always a mistake in diplomacy, over the border where we miss them very much, a recognized postmark, birth toward waiting for substance, not to begin another, issues walking, technical information disguising the blood, arrangements of fork and spoon as indicators of integrity, not the wine, always more print than person, descending as a gift, on a train sleeping through Pennsylvania where the early morning woods contributed silver, struggling to be brown or not at all

and plenty of breathing, plethora of blue jays, anticipating water, folded into thirds, thrusting, speaking to the window, frosted, and swift, ginger biscuits, that time when the announcement came that the first plane had been shot down more tragic than with the tables turned, frightened of bright lights in the darkness, the horse's tail, nineteen forty-six, when war becomes what was expected because of one country's posture and another's act of aggression as if it were not really about money and the smell, satisfied, announced but not forthcoming, trying to equate dollars with the possibility of words, ashen-faced, not attended as a parade, a cry from the next room child awakening from early afternoon nap in green, the care with which, clipping cat's claws after an incident with dog, eloping, denying the rain as if desert stays where it began forming crystals fine dust settles, asking not more than is necessary, in a blue shirt changing, that shape erotic even when not visible through the wall to the next room, she said, loaded with books to publish and a lack of money, thirty years how many words might that be tomorrow or then, a light illuminating upwards through dispersal, black dog wrapped in toward herself sleeping, the smell of an oven cleaning itself not napalm or wasn't that a different war this one much cleaner so they said, portraying a land mass as noun, green house with red roof and blue door she made, unable to speak, not a thing a sentence, masking a truth but only one, framed, two ears as though ready, a still line even when judged, driving in snow, imagined as furnishings in bright colors could there be a lake there as well, a small hole in the fabric

marking time as a veil through which a voice makes an entrance softly or not at all, black dog with eyes closed, allowing a dare, book divided into letters, what else concerning the door's hinges, alternative to the toaster, melting as remembered from the museum at Hiroshima seen when ten years old not then thinking about war as something to be experienced in one's own lifetime, not the life of sex but otherwise, sized according to prevailing winds, bolder than the north, not to be interpreted except by chemical fraternity, bowdlerized, the author of well-paced sentences, lying with one ear to the ocean wishing it were approachable by hand, in love with tertiary matters, sacred only to the watched, hot dogs never a thing of the past, a case of uppers articulated, not only with the mouth but that voluptuous as well, a window to the room where it all happened escaping, plus or minus, encountering difficulties when working in reds beyond a certain density, pointed, a killing on the market not intended as a metaphor, initial attempts at conversation halted physically, free of the past, made by hand but whose, rivulets, strained to the point of becoming linear again not like military thinking, as advertised, to have left and returned because a case was to be made for more words, clarity alone as an intention, dropped as a line in the water and retrieved by a fish to be, sparked with lights but not electric to the skin, not removed but restated, her witness taking the shape of kiss unresolved, a tension assuming rigidity as a statement of fact, blundered into meeting the wave head-on, full of heart and wanting, there, howling perhaps if not entirely concerned with the weather

cherries instead of leaves avoided, spoiled, black moon, aging with doctors intact, childish or never having gone to bed in tears without a reason, standing to maintain tension, fruit for the way it feels in the mouth, tongues for entanglement, returning home after having been refugees the aftermath of war but is it, red pillow, hear head moving in a singular rhythm asymmetrical with moans, to the tune of one's terror, as if the daily were not enough but of course, with tail, cherubic, her way in the bath where small boats steady themselves, back to the desert, and the air warming where the rain became policy, musical and malleable, set up as a structure in which rigidity was not impossible nor surprise, a painting traded for a fireplace, who love to walk in green fields carrying sticks but not a game or anything which might be gambled, guarantee the future of nightfall before wanting, steep, statement of loose intentions at least honored in the utterance, so you have to sell and eat the seeds, rolling with someone remembered, skins, asking, turning the station to a woman with short white hair and black shirt speaking forthrightly, steering wheel to steady hands, feeling one's chest as if waiting for a lover not tonight but will you, this phrasing unreliable except as here, for a visual thrill or still life, who love to eat and perhaps take food seriously at least daily, a piece of looking glass opened sharply to the gap in his neck, to have an island available, at the fear of shooting an enemy where identification was not entirely possible, returning the book after much study, under the table where he said he could, meeting you, cat where dog was, loving bread if nothing else, the ability to sleep

arc of light/dark matter was published by the The Segue Foundation in 1992, and is still in print.

Copyright © 1992 by Charles Alexander.

Light and Dust @ Grist Mobile Anthology of Poetry.

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