Your heart would break if you knew how many times we walked back from the hole in the fence when the guards weren’t looking. My old jacket smells like incense and french fries now. It took almost an hour to tape our eyes shut. It’s the only way we could be trusted to go outside. The monotony of ice can be unbearable, so say the old explorers. We move slow against the frost. We keep reading the news. We turn to stone.
Fifteen layers of blue obscured the sky, but he was determined to peel off each one like escaping from an onion with the hope of someday catching a glimpse of the planet without its borders. It was a wintry night and icicles formed in his chest, growing from his heart and poking his lungs so that when he bent sideways, he experienced sharp jolts as if being stabbed or lied to by a lover. He rubbed his stubble, stumbling through explanations he would give when he reached the stratosphere and had to lie about what he thought he might discover. Such was the nature of the times, the red poison they’d given him, the green pills, the blue lies. Somewhere there was music, but everything had rusted over and no one had seen a bird in three years.
I had to put my coffee down when the ticket taker came to the window and asked to see my papers. She smiled like a wolf on a hot day. The archivists were trying to get rid of a backlog of surplus anger, eight years worth stacked neatly in a corner of the Capitol back in the 1890s. Starting bids for the smallest lots were only a few bucks, but you had to qualify. Promise you’d only use all that rage for good. You take bribes, right? I asked. She waved me in with her flashlight. Trains rumbled along tracks on the far side of the river.
even in Austin
longing for Austin
–after Bashō (tr: Jane Reichhold)
slow school day
circles of green moss
over a decade old now
weeds between the stones
spring red bud
an open hand
fly toward the sunrise
The live oaks grow angry. They bend toward the ground, scoop up children and hold them above the performances of ambiguous kings. Kids sitting in the branches trade Pokémon cards and look like ornaments for some future parade. They reach down to help up the ones left on the ground. Someone helps a turtle across a busy street. Every act of kindness looks like an act of defiance.