I Crawl in Reverse

1

After all,

why do I crawl in reverse,

rewinding back, back

through the eye

of a needle, back

to a stageset desert?

 

1.1

Am I inspired by acquaintances

who play so tight and close

their whispers, pregnant

with intimate traumas,

tell of exhibitionists’ play,

de facto, a minor form of aid:

a fetish for sharing

(a knowledge of sutures)?

 

1.2

The first stitches

lovingly forgive,

close these caverns

in the flesh. Now closed

chambers echo where

spinae yank them tight

as guidewires; the man

who said so now sets to

with thickset hands,

unbuilding things

inside me.

 

1.3

I’ll say it to you now:

my ambitious spell

was set in motion.

I gunned it high-speed

down the salt flat

highway of uncharted deserts…

the lone oasis long departed.

I ran those re-treads thin

and left that smoking hulk aside,

tumbling out on sandy shoulders

to save my skin and birth a little shiva.

 

2

Ha ha ha

ha ha ha ha!

Call it what you like,

but I know my own; I know my

private fear of death.

It was laughter, over radio, which

bubbled up from wreckage wires,

and echoed in the dented hull.

 

2.1

By now you know I did not get away

Uninjured, did not make my break intact.

My undelivered

foot will sweep the dust

as Lefty, clopping clods apart

and falling, just as

poems fall, suggests…

 

3

(I later note

a fear of death

to be a flare

laid out

on asphalt,

which gets us all to look

like stupid geese, gawking

away from truth, while the

unseen parked car smolders,

its tires on the grit.)

 

3.1

If you must know,

witchcraft mis-presents me.

I, the mechanic, with my dream

catcher hooked to the roll-tor, me

(Cry out for martyrs!)

the  one who hoists

that fucking engine.

 

4

Meanwhile emotion

makes Trapezius

knot and lift; your shoulder

is the record, the softly turning vinyl

of a breakup.

Revolve,

and a needle

inscribes the world

upon your surface.

 

4.1

I must turn.

I must turn and

Turn.  And turn and turn.

After all, my lies.  And now,

with knotted back

you take in the workman’s thumb

and let that echo flow.

There is no Witch-Doctor, no Alchemist.

Only a Locator of Grips, a Deft

Unwrapper of phantom fingers,

one who makes wake for her

that would choose superstition,

flying along the mirage of secret

inland seas, strange wood fins

nailed to the side of her aqua car

(a rooster tail, a big deal).

The painter’s knot left unfurled

at the dock, He

the one that cures you.

 

4.2

No magic here,

no paradox.

Instead, a desert lake:

Fake,

or real as a speedboat

with its tallest yards of spray,

its superstitious show.

 

5

And You.

Listen Now.

We, the pragmatists,

know a boat will make its

desert rescue even

across the rippling, fallible mirage

even in the middle of nowhere,

in the sound of silence,

in the absence of fanfare.

 

5.1

So why do you force me to say

what you deny, you think already:

Every means is orthodox,

once you bite down,

train the mind to skip the trauma

we both know as cause and effect.

 

5.2

After all,

we dance

beside the smoking car,

its radio tinnily

doubling the bursting

ring of laughter,

the broadcast empty

except its audience,

which sings across

the sands, black asphalt

ribbon’s end no matter

now… We’ve seen its vistas,

and survived.

Let’s dance at dusk…

in the cool blue shade

of metal husks,

amid radiowaves

and tiny shivas,

and in our spirals,

thread the eye

of a Christ.

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