BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS LIKE THE COURSE OF A RIVER
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.