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Copyright Jordan Davis.



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wTuesday, July 11, 2006


2002

NIGHTMUTE, OR THE STOWAWAY

I got to talking
To the unregistered passenger
About the Beatles. He was a bit
Of a musicologist.

He liked the drones
And the diminished elevenths,
The fur and the claw.
We scanned to port for dolphins.

We were waiting for a feeling
Neither of us knew,

A measuring tape stretching
From the gun mentioned in act one
To the dramaturg
Flirting with the sound effect girl.

I had to laugh when she said
Her name was Constance Garnett --

"Where do I know you from
And while you're here,
What's with all the extra code
In the genome."

Wish you were here.

*

Cucumber spirits.

This love feels like
Sunlight shimmering
On a goldfish pond:

"Buy a lottery ticket, mack,"
Says the Attorney General.

This boat, on the other hand --

What can I tell you,
What what what.

And there on my pantsleg,
A deertick. Perhaps
You think something
A little untoward.

The coast of Alaska is longer
Than the American Atlantic.

The caribou feel their way
Through the flies, as
Even in high school, Fred Grandy
Knew where to find Camp David.

Thinking of you.

*

The nights are getting...
Well, last night I could swear
I heard a tape gun
Unspool enough adhesive
For a thriving cottage industry.

Either that or someone
Snuck a cat into steerage.

*

The people in the story were correct
To ignore the jar
In every frame of the film;

Burgundy rocks
Sparkling on the cliff.

I should have said
I was a researcher,
A volunteer strawberry
On community service.

Instead I told
A truth of sorts --
"I'm a location scout."

Keep the covers warm
And a pillow cool.

*

We say "in a manner of speaking"
When dissembling.
Such were my thoughts
As I entered the casino.

Though Gauss never toyed
With numerology,
O game of pure randomness,
My friend played red
Then black
Each time I spun.

Eight spins later,
Neighbors and orphans
Gathered round,
The stowaway suggested
I do the math.

I began to feel
My bearings.

Counting the days.

*

Up in the theater
Rehearsals of Vanya
Proceeded apace.

I had a reading
Scheduled for that night,
The travel poems
Of Wallace Stevens.

When we think of Florida,
Of taking the train,
We must also think
Of the Connecticut River.

The reading
Was sparsely attended.
Distracted, I chewed
A sprig of parsley.

At the reception,
A gentleman-historian
And the stowaway
Spoke at length
Of great disasters at sea.

I regretted soberly
My principles.

Here you were wished.

*

Notice how long John Lennon sings
The first word in
"I Should Have Known Better"?

When I'm with you
I feel almost
Like an object.

This is a much better feeling
Than I had supposed.

I could be round as a hill
On a hill. I could be
A shot in the street.
A radio sending out
Strong signals and weak.

You would love the light.

*
Turns out his name
Is Newtown. He caught up to me
At midnight, eager to share
His first law of literary conversation:

Every thing mentioned
Must concur
. Or, There is a use
That does not go out
.

I wondered if it were Greenland
We were gliding past, and not
Nightmute.

You know how distracted I get
Away from you even ten hours.
It is a comfort to know
You have the code and the rebus,
But my patience for the mail
Is a thousand miles behind.

Constance, at least,
Seems genuinely enthralled.
She and Newtown can be heard
Laughing through the tiny night.

Yours.



[This poem was funded in part by a grant from C. Dale Young]


posted by Jordan #