Saturday, August 27, 2005

And legends

MAPS

What am I good for. I’m no use for direction—

that I never learned the taxonomy

of velocity, the named streets, the numbered

highways, the oil-black gears, secret

cylinders, the spark of combustion, flashpoint,

the miles and the minutes. But,

distance. But, distance, born to it

and beginning the instant of the first

breath: in my bones, the marrow-filled fossa,

I know it the way the moon knows

water. Knows you, blinking back

the day, the song on the radio a currency, a current.

In chilled air I shopped for a map,

but found pills, found baggies of bad food,

found camouflage to hide me,

found neon lighters and nothing worth want,

never. And I left, the rusted bell

above the door singing

its song to passage. How could I not start to sing,

then, of the spent condom

by the dumpster, shed like a skin, sun-yellowed,

used up? All I wanted

was not this.

8 comments:

Radish King said...

oil-black gears, secret/cylinders, the spark of combustion, flashpoint

Now that's hot.

Phillip Knox said...

Very nice. I always enjoy reading your work.

Anonymous said...

I like the lyricism of this one. I also agree with Rebecca that "oil-black gears..." is excellent. Nice work as usual!

Colleen

Alexis Z said...

I stumbled across your poetry while reading Slate and I was very much an instant fan. How delightful to find new poems on your blog, of all places. I can't wait to get your book.

Paul said...

Thanks, firebrand!

Alexis Z said...

And extra props because I just noticed you love the Shins and have a Ryan Adams quote on your page.

What I love most about your poetry is its complex simplicity, if that makes sense. You take concepts and twist them, just a little into fresh ideas.

Thanks!

Paul said...

Very kind comments. Thank you.

I'm not a huge Ryan Adams fan; he seems all over the place to me. But, damn, if Cold Roses isn't a grand slam....

Anonymous said...

Very powerful, esp. in light of my recent "crash course" in beginning physics, courtesy of my 11-year old daughter who is getting a much better education than I had...work=force+distance (?)

Nice work.