The Arcadia Negotiations
Cherry tree, if I held you close, where would we be?
The body where I was born is less than liquid,
less than the stories the fathers told.
Bleeding without blood. Sweet mouth.
Grassy cutting sounds—like water parting—
insects carry on in a torn world.
Cherry tree, when I was a boy, a girl, minefield of skin,
I walked into this stranger’s coastline—impenetrable deep sky,
medicinal trees, the bay unhinged—salt, sulfur
too rich to breathe—
Is it any wonder—
molested by the air like you—I hack away,
sprout a smeared version behind the eyes?
Something there is
that will not let us be—
fire zones in brownhill outskirts, festive flags
of the used car lot, shine like blood in the traffic surge.
Bodies pulse out of shops—Juanita’s,
El Ojo de Agua—into a larger body of people.
The boulevard trails off into heat-choked hills,
coyotes camouflaged in quivering manzanita—
conference of quail—
After the Mexican War,
Vallejo surrenders to the Bear Flag Republic.
The mission burning and he is serving
wine and eggs and chorizo to the Americans
who have come to arrest him. It is time
to move on—higher ground, or lower ground.
Good or gone, roulette of beget and beyond,
redwood groves over hills, simple trade
of light for air, vertical for vertiginous.
Westerly, wind—maritime atmosphere in the tourist talk—
dry cough at the foot of—the immensity of…
the Pacific continuing in the expansive mode
myself—in the diminishing state of sleeplessness—
dissolving song—carny tune in a palmy district.
Desert of one—down sidewalks buried in the drift—
maritime atmospheres in the tourists talk—
bygone schooner under the unforgiving heft of high-rises.
Traffic swells from the broken backbone of the road.
The world is dead behind us—
canoes gliding past forests of skeletal trees,
vague weathers of selves and salvages—
ocean pouring into more ocean.
Waking into summer fog—water flowers can’t drink!
I am intermingled and cannot distinguish
the skin’s sensations from the world.
This view allows a tree trunk, bougainvillea
sexing up the neighbor’s stairs, burgundy
clouds fast forwarding into the field
you make in this regard—claim on what is
true, entity like zero—chasm—as far as the eye
fog smothering its landlocked lover,
the Pacific rising up to overthrow
solidity: soft-maidenly at your window—
sigh in a sieve, sweat on green water.
Prowling beach grass in withering summer—
it whites out faces in the sidewalk flow,
buries the Farralones in thickening zero—
pulling you into darker thoughts—
smoke from no one’s mouth fills and erases,
fills and erases (you)
ambient in the neighborhood—
Who is it this time?
Polk and Santa Anna skirting the boarder,
playing out private storms in nation building light?
Listen my heart—
Dead August: flies don’t budge, leaves don’t stir—
nothing happening, nothing ever happening—
The plum tree filling too quickly here,
emptying too quickly—sheisen plums.
Nobody eats the things.
After the Invasion Yanqui the Senator from Illinois
wants to know who will show him the American soil
stained with American blood…
Dead August, nothing is still happening.
Branches impart deciduous ways to birds
in their reaches—birdly spirit of light,
the still world in interstices, city carved out
by a city of branches.
Vertical for vicissitudes—
Inward awe for a city of transfers and promotions
For winter-seeming summer nights
Dull sublunary lovers
Pleasures like yesterday’s news
For a blasted field stretching from gray to gray—
Crumbling concrete, dirty birds, interminable fog.
—Not doves throating gossip to the gods,
but scrub jays, blue torches in in an empty lot.
The city constructs itself out of love
opossum light of public haunts
chalk outlines of lives dreamed by the waterfront.
The Pacific reaching out of its water-compartments
delivers its pelagic distances.
The tide lifts any body. We could—
if we had a lighthouse for a match light,
a house of water for a house of debt…
We could sleep here.
I forget my country, breaking into pieces—
the recently elected—branches downed in a gust—
Monarchs unclotting—delirious in the yard.
The others sleep in their separate rooms—
the boy dreams of monkeys hogging all the cakes.
You are blinded at the foot of a lighthouse—
waves thick and sweet with algae,
something imminent in the distance.
What goes unexpressed between us.
Glaring shore and an expectation of water
where there is none—in the long white
of your throat and yes your eyes from here
are transparent, your face a cloud—
please tell me again what does the fog say—