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Natalie Knight

“Archipelagos” is a lyrical sci-fi narrative based loosely on invasion and wartime. Looting words, phrases, and sometimes whole lyrics from a dozen poets and the occasional songwriter, the poem is composed from an initially random selection of borrowed phrases strung into sentences. These are the concluding sequences of the poem, which builds up to the roman numeral VIII and then descends back to I and finally a Preface. Phrases found in the first eight sequences are found again in the following eight. The first section of “Archipelagos” is here: http://www.octopusmagazine.com/issue11/knight.htm. The poem is forthcoming in chapbook form from Punch Press here: http://damnthecaesars.org/punchpress.html

 

 

 

excerpt from Archipelagos

 

 

VII.

 

Stacks of books no long provide swollen stomachs. Like I said, the armchair sat entombed in the prince’s sacred pyramid, two thousand years ago. Basically it was speeding up, but Franz had to glance at his wristwatch anyway. Traveling, trying to remember, going back to, even the starting of a book made very little premonition after a while.

 

Newspapers haven’t been printed since we thought we got it all everyday no matter the circumstance. Fools moaned at the shocking lightening patterns in the distance—this wasn’t in the Weather Report, another thing improperly distributed.

 

Where ditches were dug, small yellow weeds spread and we could harvest them for the smaller mothers. There were always more of them, luckily. And so everyone picked the same thing, until there was nothing yellow at all. Binges are hard to resist.

 

His simple wishes vehicled him through the years, in and out, even when his family lost the trail behind him. What family? Here is just a trailer of legs, some in pairs, some single, hobbled, prune-dried, unmistakeable consequences of all our plans.

 

I have been trying to discard the extra weight along this journey, which does not include a variety of perspectives obtained through multiple mistakes—those can only aid us. In the hunt, for protein.

 

 


VI.

 

   Once television       became the lightsource

                    my       body

                    felt       light as a feather

 

 

 

 

       and I broke into a run, a track star running towards the presumed ocean.

 


 

V.

 

In all these years Franz ran towards staircases in order to provide employment, intricately starred canopies deflected his searches of the skies for a manager’s presence. Did the ship wait for Franz to finish? Did they know it was a wasted mission already? Bleeding magnolias never lived.

 

But declarations were posted, and flags designed. Finality became a word, just like prevention, and extermination. This was the era of invention, that the books would later document, that still later the people would burn for discrimination, that still later the people would burn for firewood, that still later would turn into lace-burlap dances sweeping under doorways like fireflies.

 

What are we if we don’t get out of the book?

 

Where was I? It could be in a valley or rainforest. Soldiers, they passed every day, along the border with the hostile territory, where we were all born. It’s a risky business, to cross lines. As long as we didn’t get lost, there will be plenty of pollen.

 

Inevitably, young boys played with the rotten bones left in all our trash heaps. Irresistible to their playdogs, who rode alongside fathers in military jeeps perusing this great frontier. Jokes and late night scuffles and dark streets punctuated by lanterns made this venture seem prosperous. If only.

 

 

IV. Transcription of a dying tree, failed wildernesses, nuclear aging

 

…… ………………. …. ….. …………………..         ……. ……. ……. ..

  ….. .. ……. …….. …………………………………………. ….. ..           ………………………….

 

.. ………… …  ……… ……. …….       ……… …. …………..   …………………………………….                  …….

                  ………. ….. ……                        ……………… ..      .       .      . .   .  . ….       ……..

         …………. ……………………………………..          ……… ……..     ………. …………………………..

 

….. ……………    .…. …

 

 

III.

 

Houses once crowded showed no signs of recovery. Dust bowl. He held you, she kissed you, but maybe … that was all?

 

Insisting upon nautical seacourses, the farewell party zoomed through relentless waters. There were many moments to sit still and ponder, even when the ponds went dry. That, in itself, was reason to question everything. Fourteen years ago we had just arrived here, and it took that long to stand still and wake up. Appropriately or not, we weren’t worried about the nationals in the past or future – there was the wreckage of the plane as a worship-temple, and our satisfied myths.

 

Things were heavily ripe. Onward and upwards, we traveled, and enjoyed every second of it. Regret was something not pasted here nor hopefulness since every day felt like a brilliant wisdom forgotten immediately on its arrival, never a second in doubt. Don’t hang your head, this is good news!

 

 

II.

 

Possibly sealing statistics to get away with murder, we knew deep down we’d have some reckoning to do. Ah well. What’s done is done. Corrosion occurs in any place with wet life.

 

Spelling, at least, wasn’t an issue since verbal communication let alone the written happened in increasingly short and mutated intervals. Dancescenes gone awry. And troops only weigh down your lifeline.

 

Whether there’s factories or barracks, nets over limbs, we have an implosion of autonomous centers like you always wanted. “Mission” became colloquial and then it became archaic.

 

 

I.

 

This coagulation has percolated now. I hope you won’t be kidnapped for much longer. I’m tied to my armchair, as it is, and wish you the best of luck.

 

I pulled a gun out of my pocket and walked to the door of the hotel room in Astoria.

 

The fictional dream that had been the most real, requiring a search for a bright red flower, was over now. Things were percolated. I had no mission; that was always an ugly word anyway. I had multiple doubts, two pairs of shoes, and a jacket. The gun, well the gun was found under the bed last night.

 

The gun is a sign of materialized action.

 

 

Preface

 

As caricatures we have work to do. As full-blown creeps we have work to do.

 

The form (into) the willed (beyond) the hopeful.

 

The bright sea behind me, I put on a jacket and took a step into the interior.

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