The Long Nine­teenth Cen­tury

The Iowa Review - - NIKKI-LEE BIRDSEY -

All the words I could write for you, the dark­ness ris­ing through dark­ness the gleam-rich sea, a movie the­ater we went to.

I’m old now think­ing, not yet closed thirty, I think of your back on the street cor­ner how the crows spoke those nights how there was no time ever.

I’d think of you as if you’d al­ready left, safer that way, Lisa said, just imag­ine and keep it in your mind. And I did, even when you left once, wild and mad, winded with anger, con­vinced they were glut with priv­i­lege, and they were, you said, and they are, and we? That an­i­mal sad­ness in your black eyes and mine. Acting is an art form af­ter all, storm-torn, there’s the shape of it in you, in spite of you.

I did a lot of things for no rea­son, once with a bruised head you watched with me the sun sink and fold in an oth­er­wise un­re­mark­able scene. That threat of the bleak­ness brushed ev­ery out­line, not even blood-rich passersby could beat through our threaded canopy.

What brute val­leys I saw through time-stamped by you, the

mo­ments’ tat­ters, the best of the dif­fer­ent ends, the craggy bent.

The outskele­ton a frame of mind, the dig­i­tal na­tives in­com­pre­hen­si­ble in that night and we barely con­tain­ing. Were you fever­less as I?

To look upon the one you love is to soothe the red stumps of the soul’s grow­ing wings, Plato said, be­fore you as­cend, but the im­mo­bile

are dead. The mis­step can leave him look­ing for his friends’ faces in med­i­ca­tions and I, al­ways in the long night, can never be reached.

“Many are those whose wings are bro­ken” even the trans­la­tion did its work brought forth the self-mov­ing drive for­ward to you, and back­ward too.

Thun­der is all there is. The moth hour, the Dy­lan Thomas aware­ness of it all: brief, cor­rupt­ible flesh. This is all for you, a mild col­lapse.

Iseult, what that name can mean, reach­ing to me, an empty space. Iseult, I will cure you: horde, swarm, civ­i­liza­tion, bog. I will cure you in the end. My in­her­i­tance a base­level of fear and in­se­cu­rity, as any im­mi­grant knows, it doesn’t mat­ter who you are be­cause they hate you.

They hate you, don’t for­get that they hate you. But you need

to make love nec­es­sary or dis­ap­pear on a clear May day.

The heart’s bruise takes it all, ra­di­ates out in the way only it knows. I did a lot of things for no rea­son. I re­mem­ber I am alone.

Now, the in­ter­est in de­tri­tus, the fall­ing down trash, and the cleanup, that is what I like; the glitch mu­sic, the mucked land­scape, how we fit it all, how I fit it all into ver­ti­cal time that is here for no one. Put out your hand to me in Yeats com­men­tary; I need the chronol­ogy, the sense of dead years.

That was the sun-com­pre­hend­ing win­dow that Iowa af­ter­noon, you on the tan couch, smil­ing at a song. I wanted to, but I couldn’t for you, and you left, and it seemed you were gone al­ways.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.