The Lease

No one alive knows what my body is feeling right now but 

there’s a way of working it out, and there’s someone who 

knows how to do that, except first we need to wait for the

right conditions, and in the meantime send our strength out

into the disabling humidity to sweat itself into as many drops

as required for oversight of the metropolis called nowhere. 

(When I say my body I refer to the one I had been renting

for many years until recently.) In the past everything was

divisible by two. People would wait behind a wooden fence

while a river of grass swept by. It was either noon or night,

never in between, and most objects tended to be either blue

or green. The sky was a huge lens through which the sun and

planets and stars were magnified. Stone towers would 

perpetually deteriorate, and streets would trail off aimlessly

to the south and east, into the sea. My concern back then 

was the amount of paperwork required to document all this. 

Each day I would create a small chart where I would insert

certain private symbols whose meanings I would guess at.

The sun would tilt on its head, trains would travel 

backwards, and I’d return home to my perch on the hillside,

beside an easel. Sitting up there, I often saw ships laden with

pine cones and red leaves to be applied to skulls of thinkers

in the grass, and these visions lent elasticity to my

temperament, allowing me to handle new events by calmly

outfoxing them. Complications did not fail to ensue. For

example, once as I was writing a poem similar to this one,

a small animal darted across the page. I say animal but note

 a human animal. Despite my training, these were my

immediate feelings: aggravation, annoyance, discomfort,

disgrace, a sense of oppression, destroyed happiness, 

inconvenience, indignation, insult, mortification, outrage,

vexation, wounded pride, mental anguish, humiliation &c.

Well, I think so then and I thought so still. Yet as of today

my eyes have learned to avoid what they project, and so I

follow their lead, focusing on an absent center, so to speak, 

taking that center to be the thing that one day will envelop

me, save that I know this to be false––a false idealization–– 

like a pen or pencil gripped tightly in the fist, stabbing the air

with signs that know no pretense outside of that which

makes them intelligible. Lights flash east of Opportunity

Rocks. Most of what remains gazes up at the hazy patch atop

the night sky, until certain spells leak down like assistants 

sent to make a task more difficult, plucking out spines of

light for dark illumination. Is this what I came here to see,

this thing that once lay beneath my feet, in vaults of 

equanimity, its soil exchanged for what I’d occupy, 

instinctively, in a drone of disappointment? Imagine that 

I’m speaking of the pain I’m feeling in such a way that you

feel it too; and yet I don’t feel anything. I’d love to be part of

what you’re part of, to enjoy some poignant dream as it sighs

in your ear. But I only feel a transcript of real pain. And yet. 

Try not to put it in words. Eventually I’ll know when

something has been left out. Is what necessary? I take a 

short trip through time to find someone whose wings have

grown sheer or at least impressively faint. I listen to dead

voices argue beyond what I can make out, their sentences

rolling to no other purpose than to coax remote things into

view, even though they fail to maintain interest, and serve

simply to punctuate the long night. Yes, amazing. For here

on earth seasons are careless of speech. And there’s no

recompense without injury. Nobody knows where they

stand.