the wax paper

BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS LIKE THE COURSE OF A RIVER

Andrew Stallings

       

         We can no more experience the motions of cities than  we can the motions of our own skins, or of blood in the veins.  Which explains the fascination sudden blood loss provokes.  This aporia, I was saying, is the city’s essential transparence. I  am  the  afternoon,  an  elasticity  of stillness  and  silence, a verging and combinatory grace evasive to a sensation of the  whole.   Total  activity  that  saturates  without  intention,  now  set  aside. You are also singular. Defined by your propinquity  with the   hour.  In  irrelevant  ways,  harmonious  with  the anthemic jolt of the status quo. Tell me, is it true what I’ve  heard?  Is   adjacency   defensible,  and  if  so,  contiguity  also? Intimacy can seem a chaos of phantoms that dissolve before the  reading  light  goes  out.  You  and  I  are  rhythms  in  a  network. It’s observed as well that we’re networks known as  story. So narrative convulses, stills, sheds spent energy there  on the unmade bed. So desire permits us nothing of itself for much. Awake in the night, each flash of life feels like fever, and the susurration of waves may remind you of the traffic  you  once  loved  for  its  calming  properties.  Where  the  mockingbird once sang crashing swerves at the hour of birth, the  mendacity   now  reclines  of  an  affluent’s  lost  weekend.  His   aggression   is   what’s   sequestered   of   a   mother’s  diffidence.  Indoors,  her  elderly  father  has  slept all  night in  his parlor chair. Silence is also sleeping. It overflows like a  story   that  moves  like   water.  Events  overlap  like  waves, confusing  the  speaker.  Those  are  dreams.  I  bring  you  their stems,  having  already  swallowed  the  blossoms.                                                                                                        

 


Andy Stallings lives and works at Deerfield Academy with his family. He teaches poetry and coaches cross country. His books are available from Rescue Press.