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Chris Martin

Surviving Desire

 

Coming out of

The tunnel from Carroll Street

The graffiti reads CHOKES

 

HIS CHICKEN EVERY NIGHT

And we the passengers

Convene momentarily, our anonymous lot

 

Suspended slant as if

Preparing to nosedive on some

Futuristic and ad-laden

 

Rollercoaster safely blasting

Through the patently everyday

Landscape of traffic

 

And ruin, rivet-studded

Girders grumpily trellising

The smog-blue-gray

 

Sky, May and too

Many mornings have I spent

This week observing

 

The recumbent figures

Of capital tragedy

Their scaly ankles dangling

 

From soot-soured Wranglers and likeness

Is likewise suspended in favor

Of a proximity, our teetering off

 

And on pattern of tapering

Parabola shapes arbitrarily weaving

Depths and it depends

 

On the curious phases a face

Makes wincing at nature, the maturing

Content of cells, can you see this

 

Sound collecting there in spastic

Syllable growths? It’s cyclical

The way one devours his own carefully

 

Tended ignorance, a slow

Canceling of accumulated skew

As the mutilations fall

 

Off and are just as quickly

Replaced by others, the spells

One conveniently

 

Forgets, the mask one

Tries on and unobservantly

Absorbs, the train’s

 

Sibilant burble hurrying

Forth as the signal greens and I

See nothing

 

Barely beneath this

Concrete, no lurid node

Pulsing beyond

 

The sky’s stately

Dome, I say fuck this forever

Grope after the mysteries

 

Of a sphere eaten by worms

Regurgitated by birds

Paralyzed by windowpanes, we are all

 

Forced to mourn at the outrageous

Tombstones these towers make, rifling 100%

Cotton clouds as a little girl

 

In a purple sweater chases a brown

Pigeon along the platform’s orange edge, believing

Is a form of expectation, tonight

 

I shall dream of newspapers

Wrapped in fish , of smog wrapped

In skin as sometimes

 

I tremor at the way

The world seems so vigorous

One second and the next

 

It’s swimming, each dumb leaf

Resorting to metaphor

As every winking turn traps

 

You into thinking that life

Is a meticulous plot dimly allotted

To you alone, people

 

Topple, transubstantiation

Fails, we fall into knowing before

We know that

 

Knowing is not enough.

 


 

Recommence Everything

 

If I am to be committed

To transcendence, to merely say that

There is a body is not

 

Yet to deal with it , if my looks go

Everywhere they are

Selfsame slaughtered by the manner

 

In which they snag, a car

Illuminates in panic every thirteen

Minutes or so and it’s driving

 

The neighbors nuts, while the socioeconomic

History of golf pollutes

The branch in the hand of the kid

 

Swinging at an imaginary

Ball, the handshakes

Here are reversible, we touch

 

Touching the way these fall dragonflies

Flee the invisible weft

They sew into the air that unites

 

Above our heads, today’s weather

Report calls for abundant

Sunshine as a man with a limp

 

Plods past the girl

Asleep in her tiny camouflage

Bikini and if she dreams

 

Of the secret blackness

Of milk , it’s only these pinks

Lazily invading

 

Her back as a sigh

Descends over the scene, all the girls

Putting on their shirts, we must

 

Recommence everything just

Moments after it’s begun, the sun

Shines abundantly down

 

Upon the clouds, or briefly

Breaks on the totality

Of a dog, or the simple impression

 

Of the totality of

A dog and there’s something

About lived life that leaves

 

Itself in intractable

Tufts upon the heart, it’s tough

Being a thing

 

Which understands enough

Of what it means to be

Seen to see others in the nightmare

 

Of consciousness, which is nonetheless

A dream, which is nonetheless

A choice without choice, spiraling

 

Like the intertwined black

And white on the disc

Of the hypnotist, whose colors

 

Remain fixed, we remain

Unconvinced by the spectacular

Passing of modes, want

 

Our ears near the frequencies

Of I hear myself

With my throat and what the throat

 

Thinks we drink , let

Each cell in your body bulge

With song, there is room

 

For more, a mouth, a moon, again.

 


The Science Fiction of Color

 

At Delancey a man

Babbles with his neck

On his chest

 

Like a bib, a teenage girl allows

Her leg to dangle over

A startled teenage boy, both laughing

 

Their window in the twenty-second

Commercial of childhood, our attention

Wavering as the world

 

Does, petals

Of neglect shedding

At the periphery

 

Of the eye, knowledge subsumed

By our desire for desire, only

Today I discovered John McEnroe

 

Owns Gerhard Richter’s Girl

On a Donkey , the nature of perversion

Perpetually shifting as one’s dream

 

Dwindles in the lens

Or is lost adrift

The swifts’ delirious plunge

 

As gentle earthquakes pervade

As the little tear gland

Says tic-tac and petty octogenarians

 

Crowd the Lexington

Storefronts where white girls

Spill their blank

 

Guts between pages in the cloud

Book, waiting for Max

Ernst’s Science Fiction of Color

 

Summer correspondence

Course to begin, each

Benign conscience quietly plagued

 

By the interregnum, it is not trivial

This death we die not

Dying, the blur of sexuality

 

Metastasizing in blinks, I never

Imagined I’d marry

An aristocrat, nor quote

 

The adages of some thickly accented

Bavarian, some stupidity

Is heroic , some heroes assume

 

The village children

Are blind, I can’t

Count the number of times

 

I’ve thought the world

Different only to find my fingers

Twittering in their familiar

 

Way, the reflective scallops

My nails make shaking

Like gusts furrowing a sail

 

And so I am too

Fraught with this calligraphic

Landscape we speed

 

Too sure these unsteady words

Are like a frowning woman who wants

Desperately not to sleep

 

Here tonight, if reality

Is temporal why not write

Poems the size

 

Of cathedrals, at 4th Avenue

The conductor howls, the dreaded

Man sings Ain’t no

 

Sunshine as the sunshine

Streams through keyed plastic, a mother

Gabs on her phone as her baby

 

Bellows and that’s life

In the ten-second

Opening of train doors don’t

 

Be afraid to give everything away.

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