If the past turns to poetry then what’s the present say and how, he asks, is it prose somehow, a string or stream of word-senses, all at least a little insufficient and chosen for fit and consistency out of the small-scale cosmic and the macro chaos—and does that mean poetry’s past, or what. Past or passed, I say, skipping around the extra thinking and asking back, coming back to that and asking why, pourquoi. Why not blur those lines in with each other and the spaces between and let it all be as it was before we came in with our claim stakes and protractors and word ornaments to make rough particulars out of the things, all the “those things,” those things that themselves do so defy mouth sounds made up for mass consumption by attitudes and appetites alike. You like?
Ah the look he gives me, the bum, the one I sometimes give myself in the inside mind mirror when the asking turns to tautological prompt and taunt, but well-meant, a little self-conscious and well-meant of course and nudging, only nudging. Still, though, the look.
So, I ask again back, before any answering, pretending not to notice and encouraged by his moment of zip-lipped muteness and shoulder stiffs, piling on and filling in, if true beauty’s quintessence is irreplicability, and if so, why not unmake speech a little and unravel a little and really speak, speak like life was made to be lived unmade and sublime in sublime time—across, through, within, above, beside, and all the dirty little middles in between, sound-filled and wordless, sitting there central, clean, and whistling with no need to really pretend to be, but only to be in the middle soaking and mixing around the mix up because it’s the only way to say something. So why not say it.
He softened, just a little, and settled a little into the face of thinking-tell-me-more, I noticed as I spoke, so I change it and tell him more, ask and tell a little, moving it to something more exampled, guess you could say, a bit of substance in the bowl to stick it all to and hold it down and see what that might bake.
Have you ever loved a moment so perfectly and known it’s all imperfect material and not just, never just material, no matter how you mean? A pause to look, watch it sink, let him sink to memory depths and see if something might bite. Let me rephrase: Were you here when she said it—you weren’t but can you imagine? Perplexity, mild, a shrug and a shift and a chair creak. Imagine it went like this:
the day moon warmed us by the almost might as well be ocean saltless while fast-looking white bacchanalian boats floated absurdly anchored in the nearby harbor bay a stone’s throw from shore and like pirates calmly calculating the thrill of bacchanalian boat raiding we watched wedding parties meander march and loosely drift down the sidewalk past to take all the same pictures in their love uniforms and all I felt was she, right beside and square in the middle of an adventure with and within time inhabited, ours, like wild things. Found and finding ourselves living where it’s everything at once, where everything makes and sense is perfected by just being there, and being there says in present tense if I ever go blind I’ll surely still feel the moonshine and maybe never know the difference, devoured and drinking her up, sweet, beautiful she, thirsty, hungry me, full of at once, full as can be but still filling, always filling, and later at night moon night laying together under indoor fake starry-like lights glowing soft blue-white the words came out and said it all and they tied the sun moon stars day night together wrapped around our fingers in the middle of time while meteors showered invisible behind thunderclouds outside and the lightning within wrote the moment out in petroglyphs, those pictures we made before words made us forget.
Imagine that, I say. Poetry, past, and all that’s passed, there it is, you see, it fits and even sometimes fits together. It’s all here, now, some finely alterable then, ready and never done, never squeezed dry or complete structure built. The present is prosed, poeticized past, played out and playing those things, and we know better than our made up words, I say, in the middle carved in stone and when I strip out all the lines and distinctions all I see all I see is aye luhv yoo.