Friday, April 12, 2024

12 April 2024: Notes toward a central point

12 April 2024

The central point is not drain, but pivot. A hole in the rusted barrel makes islands out of ash. What burned in it was money, but nothing you could spend across the highway at McDonald’s or Times. Another hole forms a window on grass, offering a green backing for orange rust. So many portals require disintegration first, holes in the fence that can’t be plugged for long. The unanchored move through, whether dog or person without a home. The woman with the pink bike made her own in the small shade on a sidewalk beside a coherent chain link fence. She was the hole in the world for a day.

The central point is empty and sturdy both. I need it to pour my words in, like today’s rain after a night of thunderstorms. If stars can blink, then clouds can talk through their conflict with air. When she snored, I thought my mother was talking to a man in the ceiling. I tied my shoes ten times (wrong as it turned out) before leaving her bedroom to go outside. What they said to one another I never knew, though I recognized it as speech.

The central point pulls in and pushes out, like an anus. I watch Lilith’s in the rain as she prepares to poop. I think it teases me with its anxious smile.

The central point will be my subject. I am subject to falling under the influence of trees and rust. How to hold my straight-edge up and measure my distances. The other Eucalyptus sheds brown bark into the shapes of hands in gloves. The gloves fit, but we don’t know the perpetrator. I came eye to eye with a gray mantis who carried a droplet of water on its back. The bead was another eye to see its arms in prayer. “Is it a religious thing?” a neighbor asks. I opt for “prey.”

The central point will change my subject: mantis to manta ray, ray of sun into my son. What I see comes of sound; the backs of my eyelids blank except when I started Amitryptilene and a little green man met me at the edge of a soccer field. Foretold my daughter, my life on a sideline marking time as love and fear. There’s a hole the man’s son fell into and there’s no filling it. Anniversaries as earth-moving machines. I told a worker I love big machines like the one we stood next to; his eyes lit up. “They’re also fun to operate,” he said.

The central point threatens to have no bottom. Small children gather in a Gaza graveyard to watch over their mothers; a man wearing a PRESS sign on his back tries to console one of them. Nothing works. Grief gets passed on as contagion, where empathy and suffering become conjoined, like twins.

I look for the central point like another poet his circus animals, those that deserted him. I can’t find the exact absence, or the precise portal through which to send my words on a transom of sound. The woman who saw numbers everywhere lost them when she quit. Work becomes distraction, the absence of it some relief. “Have you had stress lately?” the common question. I make it myself, thank you, on an installment plan, pulling brick from brick. Use the old steel from the bridge, someone opined. So it can fall again, the children sing.

I look for an anchor for my meanderings. They require a lot of water. The woman at Kaaawa Park was screaming the other day, Bryant said; she was naked to the waist, accusing another woman of stealing her things. Someone called the cops. She’d told me her mythology one day a year ago; it made a complete and painful sense. A B-52 requires hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fuel just to do a practice run. An analogy overflows its madness.

A walk is a portal, when it forms sense. Some days the narrative is near perfect, in a literary sense. Other days, it frays. When I asked my neighbor if she felt better treating me as if I don’t exist, she said I told her not to talk. That was years ago. No meaning is too small to excavate, or fill in. I want him to feel better, though I fear I make things worse.

The central point can’t say if it needs words or deeds, some of them an undoing into silence. Into, unto. One goes in, the other undoes it. The flickering stars warn us without our knowing how to read them. A woman threw her children out the window during the total eclipse. To read is to flirt with horror. Line your holes with feathers. Make lines of paper carrots beside the tiny white fence around the grave. Record the white lines left by the earth mover in the pavement. Take it all down. One day it might prove useless.

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