SHORT FILM ON THE HISTORY OF NATIONS & PROGRESS
The camera pans across the mouths. Each mouth, an oil slick. Speaking into one another.
It is perfectly natural to speak, you might say.
The camera nods vigorously.
It is perfectly natural for the telephone to wait for you by the door
to kiss you on the cheek when you return.
The scene changes. Sunday arrives like tousled hair. The camera is attentive now,
like a child.
Watch: the mouths are socializing, gesturing. One hands another a flute of champagne.
One mouth hurls itself through the nearby window & hits the ground below.
Who cares. We’ve made a lot of money from these mouths, you might say.
& the camera, eagerly, nods in agreement.
& money is like skin. Skin, the largest organ. Twenty-two square feet of skin.
Money, like skin, must be kept clean.
The camera falls out of focus. Returns. The mouths have been replaced by a stack of photographs.
They wait on an empty table in the middle of an empty room.
Your hand leafs through them,
each portrait more illegible than the last: stranger, stranger, an actress, another stranger.
The camera watches as you set them down and walk away.
Off screen, the camera, dutifully, takes the discarded photographs & sets them on fire.
WE SPEND YEARS CHASING AFTER LIZARDS
after Gerrit Lansing
Lizard still watches from your porch. & it is not
so much that your lips are gold
or the dandelions growing through floorboards.
It is not wine spoiling in our cups.
See: His eye is like a dawn
swallowing your crooked teeth, a dawn
lapping at the weathered wood of this dust-mansion.
& you, so familiar with him, you say you can
hear the tap-tap-tap of his toenails
reverberating like golden windchimes when you sleep.
But O, for the afternoons when you ate soft eggs,
chased ragged cats or held red books in your hands.
Now sun soaks the yard, ghosts walk the porch; & now
lizard sleeps: drunk, one golden eye open, still watching.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER
In previous weeks: a garage & three
reddish feathers. It was nine o’clock,
rain painted on the walls. Old cassettes
as she slipped through an open window.
“All nervous hands…teeth
floating in my champagne…” She danced
in the back of the garage; it was nine o’clock
& on the phone
you listened to wind, or a distant train.
“You ache—like footsteps,” she said that night.
Tongue as fragrant as lavender.
Empty garage. It is nine o’clock
& you are drinking
champagne, caressing your own hand.
After the Deluge–of Cash!
It is only after the flood that our bodies prune.
Liver rests in concrete foliage,
clocks move, & die, so that our prayers
can slip across the circumference of a sky
in which we toil like spiders on a web.
O! On these streets where rodents
re-live their births, splendid hotels
are built with bloodshed,
by bluebeards, by chefs, under
glittering floods of hail & gold.
But what of the gems that light up & wait
like foam on nightstands,
the flowers that open like budding windows
as carnival birds take communion
in this building, repossessed by mold?
I profess only ignorance of the secrets they hold.
Conley Lowrance publishes REVOL: Poetic Smut with three collaborators. Along with his wife, cats, and dog, he lives on the fourth floor behind an unmarked door. His work has been published in Bombay Gin, The Stockholm Review of Literature, Noble/Gas Qtrly, The Glasgow Review of Books, and The California Journal of Poetics, among others. He believes that Surrealism remains the way forward. Follow him @ConleyLowrance. His work can also be found on: www.conleylowrance.com.
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