PEOPLE SAY THIS IS NOT MUSIC

 

Quarter to eight sun cold ball of wax

Bedroom shape-shifting again

 

Nothing comes across the waves

Trembling under the low spot of each atom

 

I hit reset and nothing happens the machine

Pouts I sit on a small chair and imagine

 

Clarinet disjoined from time

My wife’s boots no longer the boots in “The Dead”

 

But sprawled across the carpet as titanic boats

Resting interminably in a desert

 

While cold in this room with indecently swinging piano

People say this is not music

 

Tell me type a head back into time

So people who watch television can follow

 

Piano I imagine because divorced from reason

I can see the beach unfold I can see sound

 

In this place people tell me is not music

Tell me to type in a head an image that mimics sound

 

The cold the cold cold cold

Room not too big small room

 

Magnification grimaces carpet

Sheet music stereo music ear music bird screams

 

People who tell me this

Can’t get cold to break their dreams

 

Cracked bird claws on the kitchen windowsill

I get on my knees I hear them sing

 

I get off on getting off my escape route

To gesticulate inside a cocoon with a broken furnace

 

Only in the small teased out words

From a toothpaste tube does language resemble prayer

 

In last night’s meat I starve to say against the language

People who say this is not prayer

 

Scumbag of vision and particular voiced groove

Sucking up victuals from a grave in the hypothalamus

 

Their thirst will not deliver them from internet radio

Their stars will not grieve their transmogrifications

 

Ears folding a hermit crab’s shell around the face

In middling lives they walk into trees

 

Only hear the dull thud of stomach kissing mouth

To swallow something soft and tasteless

 

Perhaps a tongue without a fire

Soft without insistence

 

No rain

Only believed forests falling

 

In the dream the temperature controlled room speaks

Opposite of falling asleep I have taken the seeds from my socks and fallen asleep

 

Insistent on the backward word shape

Compositions intrinsic bathe beside

 

Bathtub song-like singing near song

No singing only landscape free of minds

 

Silence begat landmines

Energy of non-happening

 

Screams back out bird wings

Above a stalled car on the street below

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEFORE CELLPHONES

 

When I cannot gather the fragments

I’ve collected I don’t

 

Do anything the world doesn’t

Do much either I mean

 

The world doesn’t react

Nor exist the world that isn’t

 

Place only name a divorce

From gone times and the device

 

To monitor time too doesn’t

Stop or go ahead I keep

 

Sitting in a basement trying

To churn words from the black

 

Tiles cold dust residue of spider webs

Old beer and wall rot

 

A place definitely my parents’

One-floor house rotted bottom up

 

On the inside the outside untended

The lawn sun-scorched and stomped

 

The dirt and grass faced up a map

Two sides to every place

 

In two dimensions in three

We get more than the natural history of Wisconsin

 

My memory beaten down maybe

Someone else who goes there can

 

Unwrite this poem I have seen

Only the ghosts in the sub-pump

 

Can speak the music I’m thinking from

Nightmare constellations out of

 

The pilot light a dream Blake

In Orion’s cloak holding by the hair

 

Einstein’s severed head I’d run

And wake up in the living room once

 

Barefoot on the front walk

Stars in the grass concrete

 

Summer cool ignitable

Music detached from music

 

Or not the music call the air a machine

Call vision the machine and distance

 

The necessary current that only kills

Unless we abide in obliteration

 

As an act of perception other times

I woke staring my mother down

 

Nick at Nite and cigarettes

I guess an oracle all

 

Civilizations end as I do

Dyslexic reading grave markers

 

Imagining corpses

To purge real dreams the night sky

 

Front walk dream lit with rusted ships

Alive once but arrived dead

 

Spoken out from a time before laughing

Failed to stay a spider sneaking

 

Out as sleep flinched in

Or a bottle cap kicked under the fridge

 

With wet crumbs and cat hair

Currencies my mother never said

 

 

—–

 

 

Matthew Henriksen’s first book, Ordinary Sun emerged from Black Ocean in 2011.  Some recent poems appear in Fence, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Mandorla, and Bright Pink Mosquito, and a special feature of Frank Stanford’s unpublished poems, fiction, and correspondence, selected by Henriksen, appeared in Fulcrum #7.  He co-edits Typo, an online poetry journal, and Cannibal, a handmade literary journal.  With his wife, Katy Henriksen, he curates The Burning Chair Readings in Fayetteville, Arkansas.