Five Poems from Atopia
I like to photograph old signs when I drive along the Emerald Coast. “Florida Hotel: American Owned” and “Rachel’s Restaurant” I dreamed a beautiful poem up by the sea but forgot it by morning; Make America Great Again vs Occupy Wall Street. We talked about extreme weather and the stock market in the Gulf, the water fluctuating around the sun and pelicans, text message alerts for tornados and when I got home I googled sinkholes and clicked on the interactive map—14 by 12 foot, 8 by 6, 1 by 1, and read the warning signs, maybe the doors to your house don’t close, maybe there are cracks in the walls, maybe there are depressions in your lawn, now imagine a bed and furniture instantly falling into the lawmaker’s hand holding up a piece of limestone talking about an amendment which will outlaw fracking in Florida forever “I’ve changed positions,” she says, “Look at this limestone. It’s fragile. It’s porous” and wishing I remembered my dream of the sea by the sea, the dream enclosed in the bulb of the sun, my body covered by seawater, “It was almost like there were colored rings around the sun” your dad, the archaeologist, said and driving home, the eye-level pelicans and their prehistoric flight, seemed calm, the bridge both flowing into and forged by the metallic clouds — Philomel, lost cause, not quite, operatic as doves the oatmeal is cooking this morning and it will be a long hurricane season from June to October, that season of hell as we approach an apocalypse, as showers fill the heart unable to process what is happening. Alone in your cabin, the outside world has a tongue, has words, scrolled and scrawled along the ridges of the bleak sky. Oh Philomel, I have no pictures to post, no landscapes to paint, my song is sung in vain, and it is composed of rubble. Fear not, Philomel. Now the oatmeal burns inside its weeping pot and revenge is its own constellation of anguish, its own pattern of swallows moving across the luxuriant atmosphere. Personal history? What can we really make of it after so many years? The metal bends, the apartment saturated with ash. — Our masters shift; this is the definition of domination Still, Esmerelda, if you would like to take a dip in the filthy lake, I’m game and if you still have the impulse to be mesmerized by love, I’m down for that too I can even transform into a nude before your very eyes I promise I can become just like a painting of paradise from the olden days We could do this for a little while before we have to go back to work again inside the impenetrable flesh factory where the meat screams even though it is already dead I’ve never known why this is Why does it scream night and day? Maybe because it has no identity Esmerelda, they want our blood because they must know how sunny it is how, long ago, we fed the horses and wept and sang by the fireplace; they must know that we had such intense passions, that we thought the grasshoppers eating the yellow fields were beautiful and we looked at both the creatures and the fields with a kind of awe Our masters did not like this and our passions had to be held down by a corresponding cruelty the formal laws of the state O the networks of subjection are infinite —Read of an ICE raid: men, women and children sent to a detention center in Crawfordville, Florida Turn the page Bought erasers, pencils and summer workbooks for my children This is a cell All living things are made of cells This is the earth The earth is always changing If lyric poetry is cruel, I am forlorn at the loss of our wilderness There really is an “anti-parks” congressional caucus whose aim is to shovel the plants and rocks and trees into black plastic bags and throw those bags into the sea It is important to stay safe in Science How do we stay safe? Follow the rules and use the right tools The goddesses of Sunday welcome you We bring you this bowl of peaches and serve you with our porcelain fingers Here is a napkin Here is a knife Your wife and children are welcome too— Glandular fever punctuated by tropical storm Cindy which was a dud; many weeks of rain, the lymph nodes swollen, many weeks of wind while my children play inside the supernova-like sinkhole, Green tea and raw honey even though bees struggle for survival, Alex searching for climate-controlled storage spaces, I yelled at everyone, the black diamond and rattlesnake rattle fell upon me, I could tell you were trying to communicate, I suspected it was your fault, seizure like substance of air turned to current, maybe I blamed you for my illness, I knew you were the one taking me down through this amber realm, this dream space, fragile, filled with neurons, jammed with signals signals from the dead, then the realm spilled into the black hole of the summer solstice and out of the storm; O Angel, you were born.