'It's simple enough marvelous.'
- Nick Sturm


As a white-smocked child, stood mid-street
in the gust, just to feel the flapping fabric. 
'Legs bewildered, but a 
lean grin.’ He was
a spill on the iron-clad map. Who loved
to wear dresses, ate
for the patternedness of the bites,
apple-texture after the flesh-like cheddar,
then together: left in his teeth. 

Kissing men in Virginia, dried grass
stuck in his knees. Skid marks
when it fell off, hours later: in the offish
dome of some family sedan,
with the A/C on, the windows rattling
over the thunder-loose gravel. Faces upturned
to the new afternoon,
which was nearly always grey, 
and heedless. 

Notes from the Open Field

Do not be intimidated by the past. There are obstacles,
shaped like organs. He was a free-runner. 
He loved you very much.

I was in the city for thirty days. In the city
they say: don’t tackle
what you cannot conquer. Don’t love someone 
very much. We ate

salted edamame from a styrofoam near-cube.
High above the city, video-game music
thinning the walls like water, rock. Don’t listen
too closely. The unshaven face, for several hours
your stomach felt it, neatly burning.

Do not open your mouth, or bite 
the edges of it, coming down slowly. Do not eat 
from an open hand. The vision 

always the same: blue bed,
his body in it. Do not follow 
what you cannot name,
looking at you. 

Meditation, Calle Visión

Because it is stone, not
reconnaissance: a bulwark

of paroles. ‘She 
was half-invisible—’ 

Adrienne, I mean. Greenhearted
limousines, which pitch

and pull
beneath the ribbed

apartments, an atmosphere
of half-related 

conclusions, the premises
neatly attached

by means of mood.
If Chicago is,

'it is for you.' I mean,
the street-stop.

The turnaround,
the opted one.

That wreckish 
crib beneath your

father’s railroad, where
the iron split. 


Concerning paradise which is not
a loose cry or the sight of a lit freeway,
not California, or the way a smooth
movement, say of removing a shirt
via overhead grip and the grin
concomitant, can be followed
with such weakness of the body
so as to approximate sleep, or 


If it could be called, was a corridor
feeling, fog-heft and moving thickly
through to the future,
the kitchen mold, the figure within it,
which was ‘she’ at 3:00AM

O mama,
Ave mama,
Have some mercy

The dark plates beneath the windows,
the smell of unfamiliar 
beauty, shell-scruff bathrobe,
her mother’s body in bed: “reader”

True that the boy-ghost had not
"left her" so much as "left 
himself” in the taking of it, all
that time spent spinning 

which was the shape of movement
between them, like so many
discs of ice, intent upon some
vertical eventual, not

smudged like the Tang poets
which were later read to her,
in love with the fog-like brooding 
of the faraway: the fisherman’s

magnetic line, his gaze into
those hellishly open waters,
the non-answer which could not
even be said to “wait” so much as

"abide" there: (And in the act
of a non-reply, the autonomous figure
becomes something like Nature: ubiquitous,
self-harmonized, a sign of some God-given 

prophecy, unable
to be summarized, least of all able
to be writ in the very last


In fact, to be a tree 
is the cruelest of all. Cassandra
was a tree who only
added up to harm, 
so committed was she
to verticality, waving blindly
from the shore of the event, they say
Cassandra found
the line between poetry and prophecy
like this:

November brought them together,
he watched idly as she removed
her bra, his hand upon her face
as if upon a clear and still
surface where something
vital and forgiving had
been written, planted as his eyes
had been, in the vision of her,
and growing thereafter,
became the thing she prayed to,
as remained


Concerning the vision, which was
of a bald blue sun, moving up. 

The world, which had certainly
existed—kissed her hand back

into position. To give and receive 
is more difficult than birth. There:

caught, coat. The boy-ghost had
said it so quietly, edged into tears

but not over. Outside the thrashing
trees were full of the memory

of walking. Outside her bedroom,
the passive tapping which is Nature

in its most forgetful, which is cruelty,
the newest sport upon the plane.

The need to go astray, to be destroyed, is an extremely private, distant, passionate, turbulent truth.


The hell which emerged 
was a hell of provinces: remote,
travail-encased. Birds,
which swung overhead like small, detached hammers,
bound it together. Perhaps
there was joy there, or 
a kind of joy: the swimmers
knocking their bored heads
out of the water, their oval mouths,
which were dark with impatience,
impatience for life. The hours there
were small. The days,
like old elastics. 

Probably the weeping
did her good, earned her a kind 
of ‘reputation’—insofar
as one could be bought into
a palace of weeping. That court
had been called into existence

to protect a single thing: 
the memory of life, which 
was shaped like a fist, 
with a small key in it.