Raymond Farr

The Data a Habitat Exists In

Is this about the flowers I always forget to send?
If you want to call me use the 352 area code

It never rubs me the wrong way whenever you
Think you act tirelessly on my behalf

Once I melted in the sun of yr 352 area code
Now I’m not sure if ego’s a real thing anymore

I’m not sure if the Tangiers you keep bringing up
Is a box of rough drafts or the data a habitat exists in

Or if it’s more like that blind feeling I get
When I stand up at the end of a movie ready to leave

& the lights come up & our tongues go blunt
& everything is bathed in a kind of serious blankness

It’s like there’s a canvas waiting for me
On an easel in an empty room abandoned by the artist

& there’s a piss-warm Moroccan wind settling
A friendly wager we made between us

& everything that should be obvious is like
Water draining out from pipes under the floor boards

Of this creaking heart of a hotel buffeted by
A stranger’s flatulence & it’s like we’d left

Something or someone behind—the overblown
Amnesia of a man writing poems in his bathrobe!

I answer the door hatless this morning & there are snowflakes twirling in this photo of a man holding a scythe & I think how it’s Asia Minor all over again! It’s like catching cold & uttering

                                                                                                                        yr own name to a bald Ukrainian poet & according to Basil Rathbone even Basil Rathbone had his detractors & there at the end of a long

empty street is a small Buddhist temple catching the wind & just beyond that, the whipping noise of a live telephone wire in Sausalito, CA—

                              something like a head of laughing red hair gushing from a fecund corpse & while the data a habitat exists in has left our minds swimming in the data dump of a curved

analysis we are blind & stumbling into oncoming traffic & this explains nothing—not the gag gift of clacking false teeth perched on a ledge

not the grapefruit I rip into reading pg 24 of The Sun Also Rises or why whenever I smile a thousand dollar bill flies from my mouth

In the clip I am about to show you
The poet is always just a splitting

Headache away from a walking sickness
Of pictures he shows no one

His life has been hacked out of
The genius of dead marble somewhere

Black & cold & reproduced in a box of
Exotic, erotic rough drafts. The camera

Shooting him evokes the data a habitat
Exists in & if we are to account

For the poet’s eternal sleeplessness
We must consider a tiger pacing

We Start Laughing & Shooting Because…
Beginning with a line by Marco Giovenale

The sun burned all our poems
& left us ashes to read

We start laughing & shooting because…

John’s girl thinks a big red bull’s eye on her chest
Is pseudo-erotic

We start laughing & shooting because…

Whenever we act out a word
The damage is already done

We start laughing & shooting because…

You just now say gnat
Settling a score from 5 minutes ago

We start laughing & shooting because…

In little Dutch harbors, so sour a poem, no structure exists—

We start laughing & shooting because…

We are bathed in the succor of imagery—
White chains drag her thru hard sleep!

We start laughing & shooting because…

Our eyes are bloody at their burned out limit

We start laughing & shooting because…

There’s interference on the play—
A zeppelin paused above the stadium

We start laughing & shooting because…

A beautiful girl is bound naked to a chair
& eating her own shit—

Her own sacred excrement out of fear

We start laughing & shooting because…

The black sand & pink clouds of yr poems confuse us

We start laughing & shooting because…

You listen to Devo & you are happy
& we are dead & have poison apple in our teeth

We start laughing & shooting because…

Children play in the crawl space
& grow wicked in the crawl space

We start laughing & shooting because…

There is looped video of a man with one arm
Standing on a wooden chair & screwing in a light bulb

We start laughing & shooting because…

The door shoves open & there’s dust & light—
66 seconds of it clogging the cellar air

We start laughing & shooting because…

We are wolves hunting the flashbulb’s source

Whatever We’re Made Of

Existence is a wooden image of a bird. We feel it wanting to fly. Whatever we’re made of can be music on a branch auguring the softness of our interest.

& without compromising anything he thinks important to his process as an artist, the poet says in his broken-bird voice—But, Father, I don’t want to play the pipe organ anymore!

A sparrow rising out of its own shadow on the earth—& you grumbling to yrself I’m too hetero
for this kind of bull shit!
& me wondering what isn’t a dark thought mad for the sky?

Shouldn’t a Woman Dream of a Man?

I read yr letters again today, thinking I could make something of them & know every word had been chosen for a purpose—how you resisted the tongue-tied thaw of winter, saddened by the violence of any story coming to its end, the thought of someone—huge for a moment—veering at the door.

A drunk sun is its own purpose! you whispered, taking hold of the ladder leading to the attic, an avalanche of shadows & cob webs catching on the edges of our skin. & as we fumbled a little over storage boxes trying to get comfortable yr left hand lingered on my spine, guiding me. Yr right hand already rolling up the crank of the ancient attic window, letting in some air—slats of light against our faces.

The dogs’ barking seems almost human tonight. Tonight you feed them the passion of yr wedding dress cut up into rags. & discerning moonlight from street lights they skulk & they bay out of luck. & nothing moves! Not the shadow of the girl bringing you yr supper—her ruined beginnings shaded towards dissemblance. Not the dowdy black dresses of the women in the church.

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the gift was broken before the celebration day. & that you did marry the mayor of wedding cakes…Somehow the door closes & a rush of cold air squeezes in. In a town like this one any dream is born a little tired already—a rusty nail punctures yr foot—car lights flood the parlor wall—all talk exhausts itself.

Raymond Farr is author of Ecstatic/.of facts (Otoliths 2011), & Writing What For? across the Mourning Sky (Blue & Yellow Dog 2012). His chapbook, Eating the Word NOISE! was published in February 2015 by White Knuckle Chaps. Another full length collection of poems Poetry in the Age of Zero Grav is due out from Blue & Yellow Dog in mid 2015. He is editor of Blue & Yellow Dog.
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