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Copyright Jordan Davis.



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wSaturday, October 02, 2004


1462

A POEM ON FIRE

Alive and racing
Through -- excess
That cannot be

Released faster
Than it comes to be,
A cousin of rust,

Analogous to orgasm
And expiration date.
Fuel, heat, and

Oxygen. The flame
Is much more like
A light bulb's thread

Than I knew, too --
Soot so hot it shines.
Smoke is water,

By the way, old
Breath, and ash. It
Is not necessary;

A clean flame
Produces no visible
Exhaust. If being alive

Means a metabolism
Is chugging along,
Fire isn't alive.

The head of communications
Pops her head in my office
And asks if I've got fire;

She isn't suddenly taking
Up smoking -- a birthday party
Is about to commence.

I smoked four cigarettes
At a party, and on the fourth,
My boss lit my hair.

Caroling one Christmas eve
The same thing happened
To the girl standing next to me,

One I was sure about. Joan
Of Arc is admired for getting
The attention of all France

But she is remembered best
For her wedding ceremony;
The fuel is what we will forget

And will kill to acquire.
Gathered below the lighthouse
We watch the sky for fireworks;

John Cassavetes said
He never saw anyone die
In an exploding helicopter;

Most go from a slow process
Invisible except how it affects
Others. The best part of

Williams's Paterson is
The fire in the library;
Alexandria a hill of ash

And Sappho recovered
From sarcophagi. A small child
Asks about sarcophagi

The forest fire crosses
The eight lane highway.
One plane issues blue smoke

Another streams red
And now and again one
Plummets into the trees. Which

Kerouac book is it that starts
With Ti Jean running down the hill
After a season working as a spotter?

Excess, wrote Bataille, no
I'll let you look that one up.
That the sun keeps going

Is perfectly understandable
To physicists, therefore
We go to poetry readings

And have few sacrificial rites.
We're able to release that energy
Before it consumes us.



posted by Jordan #