Raymond Farr

               Recipe for Breathing In & Out

In a new year, supremely chicken blanc, we swaddle ourselves in the hot flesh of something postmodern. Mel Nichols’ The Beginning of Beauty gives us pause, as though a tease of hallucinated rain darkens us, reads us aloud, we pull on our coats while chewing gum. Then out on tortured streets we lag like urchins kicking cans, dropping footfalls in naked puddles. & hailed by a New Year’s firecracker we contemplate / we are the straight line of a punch line. Our minds are Time— the big hand & the little hand— entering a silver door. Lucy remembers her diamond sky sautéed in white wine & butter. A dove transforms our grey curb to apple pie. In the buzz of a brain—our brain—we bat about a tennis ball, the whole earth a photo booth, a one camera planet crammed inside a mall. For laughter is a flower bud. We sprinkle on some thyme. Someone says Talk alone is our escape from what we practice all our lives. Someone else says ardor meaning mangled squiggly lines of sight—a strawberry syrup on all the tables and counters at IHOP. A quality that burgles us, elastic in our childhood of snide bourgeois, sits down in a booth & opens both its eyes. As if stung by a bee, the whole city awakens.

               This Might Be City Anorexia or Maybe Ocala, FL I’ve Found

There’s a bright rubber substance we call chasing a dachshund through a small crowded Zaxby’s; called eating the earth at the edge of our neighborhood. The street we are on is an organ or cell engorged after sunset. When we begin again, the sun is adjacent to the Goodwill on Easy St. The pigeons here mock us. On our left is a Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart we frequent sells sleek little iPods that store 9,000 songs. If you ask me Who are we? My answers are vague. We are translating nothing. I tell you the time when you ask me my name. We are all about romance, attempting an impulse. We are the consequence of cause & affect. If our little car back fires outback of Red Lobster, we pick up yr sister & go see Titanic. These facts are like flowers arranged in a vase. I am burning the toast before you come down. From the frumpy for French we converge on a point. We are one happy poet. We are six raving waterfowl. As Rilke eats cheese the schoolgirls attend him. He braces up walls. He steadies a beam. I want what yr dad wants—the purple rain to stop talking Trakl when no words will do. Our life is a parakeet. I push pause while it rains. A paragraph has pauses & stresses a subject. I enter a day that’s ploughed by a foot. Our lunch is absurd. I am the prince of bologna. My one naked meal wrestles with angels on Rue Paul Célan. We rhyme with a fox trot when pushed to the wall. This bus tonight is a slow yellow fish. A freezing cold liquid of southern exposure. Our next stop is Haarwood. But a tear duct is nearer a trash can than home. Is this why we howl? Our lives a poem read only by friends? Who are they? These people who “read” us at a bus stop near blind? We are missing a tooth is one of my hobbies. My dandruff is proof of life that is blunt & a good friend to death. We sit in a Starbucks engaged in a fable. If I sit very funny then all yr friends whisper to shape what I breathe. I interrupt ourselves. I am training yr toenails to act like a queen. A flaming exhaust pipe is the fix that I give you. If our one giant nerve comes quickly to an end, we still take our time. But isn’t it silly being dust in this town? I name every bone I’ve broken for love. Do you know my position on comic spittoons? What’s a city kid to do with a jaunty red notebook?

               A Poem for the Gift of Dreaming

Existing to ponder the yellow soap bubbles into which all the manic side streets flowed then, I ate the premature fruit of the sky. Dripping with traffic sounds I had many visions of you & time & endless watermelons. The season was summer 1969. A dozen sunsets, stacked up like brownstones—the ones I imagined you & I would share one day—gleamed off rows of just-polished cars up & down the elm-lined block. A silly silly place to presume to exist. A city wholly imaginary where my urban feet wandered white & cold day in and day out though I stood in heat of teen age summer daydreams laughing doped infatuated. The echo of love’s seamless little deaths moved inside me like an eye, any shape for a bride. O to touch as the holy priest touched us then. To swallow as the hawk swallowed everything whole. & burning alive as though set aflame, I collapse now in the meadow of old shames. The music of these ruins echoes in a register too high to enjoy. Repeats in my mind like the chorus of Hey Jude. & draped in theatrical fireman suspenders I quipped like a tulip for you. My pants were always on fire. & guided by a wall of hot living Braille I felt my way out of the poem we were in. I paused at the bottom of the stairwell. I felt you disappear—your presence a photograph’s presence. & all the way down I was licked by a flame. At night I dreamed I had super human powers. I dreamed that I moved to the outskirts of town. Some living seems done always in afterthought. Moving in & out of love’s house was the work I had chosen. I lifted a mattress up sideways & shoved it into a room. & then you were there again. A witness reappearing as if out of nothing. You kissed your reflection in the still of the hallway where moments ago I had set down a mirror.

Raymond Farr lives in Ocala, FL. These poems are taken from Ecstatic/.of facts, published last year by Otoliths. He is the editor of Blue & Yellow Dog.

For more info visit his blog: http://mjonesrview.blogspot.com
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