Rhythm Study

Entrance light.

What the body records, language reveals. In this painting, the dance looks back. Notice the anguished bliss of these blues, the tension of this tenderness strung taught across the entryway. Come in. In this light where you remember, you were there.


Rhythm Study is the title of a piece by artist Le’Andra LeSeur, whose work inspires this post.

To Break a Wall

Notes from Crete.

There is a certain pitch to plans made in prison, not

like the half-baked dreams of anywhere else. The wings

as real as the wax, and the sun, the son the sum of the

parts you gave, dreaming him. There are flowered

children elsewhere in a field that never knew walls

except on set and you cannot blame them for the

glow of their faces how they won’t age it takes

absorption to do that but to these it’s all water

rolling, the waves        the waves        the duck’s

back                all joy              and fun            except

for the highlights        the chase scenes         so

good for ratings          so good for saying       watch

look what I did. No sense explaining to the scions

of such gentle suns how yours will kill you, quick.

Offer anyway what you have of shelter and an

ear to the running stream of tears. They roll

off the backs of them              stop looking for

logic    they roll because        those backs are

the backs of                the sons of the sun, 

o child

how I wish                    to pretend.


From the edge of a day.

Find it by nightfall, the living wet familiar, still unsinged. Float a string of yourself to what begins from the land of the dead in living earth between us. Not total fog. No unobstructed view––an edge. Only this, so take hold. I know you wanted. We looked, remember? How it never made anything but us.

Gone the crayon-blue sky, the bicycle spoke arms of yellow suns to catch us up inside sheep clouds. Here is sheet of rain and not the fat drops, distended snow globes reflecting like faces we knew, like some place of love without return, hold on. There is a sound on the roof.

It is birds, baby. They fall.

The Deserted

Under an unforgiving sun.

Broken white lines follow interstate miles home through the valley of the sun. Before it sets, bring the telescope. Look for Jupiter and let Mars rise above a Mesa into Phoenix until they are each a distant glow in the mirror and dream of rising again. And Joshua trees keep watch. To think they guard us as we fall into ghosts of former towns from when we knew them, still living, still ours and still––

someone stands after forty miles of nothing under a tarp in the place where a porch would be and there is no way not to wonder if the waiting of so many at such distance might be stretching. Something tight like Achilles’ unblessed tendon still reaching–– 

––for the water that crossed us once a sacred chord ready to play until it pleased the long-haired keeper of the secret ways we dreamed, even if.

All the while, to anyone who asked, most of us were good enough to protest protection, saying instead, just let it. Come. We said with straight faces, meaning to mean the words.


What may loom, unweaving.

We wanted a story its magic in the key of longing notes we arced like stones from cliffs where we stood the key was carrying the eyes to where the magic was not. Years on a planet would spin us, looking for more of them to name. Here is one, an ordinary song, here is how you survive until the moment when you say back to us here is home and it cuts to remember between places so far full of dead heroes whose spirits won’t quit. We waited, unweaving the ritual to save ourselves. For tomorrow against this siege, and dawn keeps coming so soon.

The Residents

Between shores.

In here, the past is paper fragments. We gather them up and try to remember. One sings. The song happens in the middle of a room. The occupants of the room are engaged in various tasks. The tune is off, the phrasing disjointed. No one minds. 

In here, only new arrivals worry about death. We all did, says a veteran resident. But you get over it. How? We want to know. The resident explains how something breaks. It’s like a levee and you let it because it won’t be stopped. The flow is too fast and the volume too high.

Besides, the resident adds, you can floatBesides, the resident adds. You’ll land somewhere. Eventually. Now, we let it take us when it comes. We float in this narrow strait, washing between shores according to the tides. Paper is gone now, but songs pass through, sometimes.

How to Do it All

Everywhere. All at once.

Select a large fish with many bones,
and sturdy shoes. Arch support is key.
Fasten the wings so the clasp is tight
and do not modify with glue. Even if
it seems like a good idea at the time.
Remove the lug nuts, affirm intentions
in the mirror, look both ways. Remember
to fasten the lid and check that the needle
is sharp. Remember the eye of the needle
and hold your hands like this. Be sure
your feet are facing and your head, like
this. Mind the gap. Beat well. Always
preheat. Cover with a damp cloth, pay
careful attention to the edges. Wait
ten seconds before you speak, look
both ways. Never forget.