Raymond Farr

Our Lives Are Sparkling Disco Balls

The beginning of our story
Is a caged lion giving birth to a person—

Mahler at the Café of Empty Light!
& you & I wielding Time like a gun

We answer our cell phones
But once our days were Bumble Bees

Falling from our mouths
& so ensembles made us happy

I remember laughing—one of us annoyed
& you opening the wine like Tweety Bird on Benadryl

Yr wisdom teeth pulled like a leg from a UFO nightmare
A poem can never fix a toilet, you sd

That’s what snakes are for!
The point I was trying to make was a defragged skyline

A flash of information so discrete
Nobody knew what had happened

& so we stood in line worshipping baguettes
Our silver boot heels falling off in the snow—

Soles of a merchant selling us a dying breath
The point I was trying to make was

A Niagara of red like any Tuesday—
Spectacular blood gushing from a man

With a wound in his face!
The point I was trying to make was—

We stared too long at drops
Of someone’s blood

Scenes but No Music from Journal Noir

                I saw yr room, I sd
The TV like a sobbing child of chaos

There was some shame in this
We were sitting on these big Moroccan pillows

& I felt like a lion had walked in
There was no wonder in our voices anymore

It’s all we had it seems—garlic for a cold
& going back thru the drive thru with ketchup face

& asking for more ketchup
In real life, you sd, a small dog & its owner are out every evening

Each walking a different street simultaneously
Neither one aware of the other

& this pain is prodigal, you sd, it can teach a child almost everything—
Spring in the Humanist sense!

Lovers gawking in the planetarium!
It is a stainless steel chair with cold white plastic arms

& then you sd—this afternoon, it will be a beginning
& we sat there like snow on the guilty shoulders

Of some obscene American god of the light coming up
But stumbling is the form our piety takes

& everyone’s a dog served dead on a plate
& everything is funny & serious both

& we are gods now & not poets—
Something this insignificant

Pater Noblesse

It started out a story being told to a freezing man
& how the snow was a dumb kid forgetting how one goes into zero

& yet some were fascinated & some were wickedly forced
& our only friend was a broken ukulele

& the man sd: the Puritans had beer & ice fishing to look forward to
& I sd: the picture of the crooked alley was crookedly framed

& he sd: no Puritan would ever deem it worth writing about
& I sd: the longest way around a Berryman poem is through it

& he sd: turn around slowly & put yr arms in the air
& I sd: TV, my friend, is a big box of lemonade, why can’t we drink?

& lift a glass for the woman changing the locks on her doors?
& he sd: he felt astrology so enhanced his good nature he hated that too

& I sd: I am taking the station wagon back into town
                                         & at the stadium that summer

We heard the white balls flying again, slowing the hands of the clocks
& the wooden bats thundering like the way mom sd God is bowling!

& I remember someone yelling—Get that bum out of there!
& the clumsy punctuation of the sun dying with a chuckle in our heads

& the planet slowly…like a pill bug scuttling

As Only the Mortified Flesh of a Man Knows How

A man is not a synonym for mistaken identity
A man’s body is radioactive when a woman is present

A man is an eye lonely as a cloud in Buddhist spring
A man is not bound by the things he imagines

But by the bigger fish he has to fry
His thoughts may sink in the vast erasures of the rain

They may disappear & resurface like old chums
Growing the same hair

The same look of slowness in their eyes every day
& painted occult black in autumn a man is the blunt end

Of a lie he tells children disguised as the truth
& he’s got to believe he’s just making-believe in

The empty corners of a room swallowed by dusk
Or a man is oblivious & can’t be described exactly—

A spy or a sleeping revolutionary maybe
But his life is only a shadow in the headlights of a passing car

The voice of this strange exhausted someone
This underworld figure walking beside him

Because it’s got to be like he’s somebody’s native son
& he doesn’t care whose & it’s got to be like he’s

Walking the gauntlet in Dollar Store flip flops
Or what occurs is problematic

Goodbye Now, the Eyes Flicker

But maybe death is not the end. Maybe my ass just feels like a bouncy flower today. Or maybe I’m just a man holding a shovel, who minds his own business. Maybe insanity is a flower that doesn’t die. & that poems begin with eternal petals wrangled like sentences dangled in the throat, spangled in the old ways.

Or maybe I’m a statue in the coffin of my own garden & talking thru my teeth—Take care of my kids!—the sick weed of my pelvis riding a bicycle into the splendid rain of an afternoon—a song pinning me to the neighborhood while my thoughts coalesce.

Or maybe I’m a puppet in a puppet regime of sophist reprisals & this world is all about the Saab wilting like a basket of mums on the crimson rug of the Braintree Public Library—did you mean “Sob” & not “Saab” asks the search engine that could?

Or maybe these dead little sprouts are only a memory, a poem I paint on the earth—a city melting like a sunset. Or a man climbing a hill, screeching at the sky—God Is Dead! Look at me! I’m Mr. Coffee! Or maybe my hands are just heavy with dirt in the creases of my knuckles & the poem never ends.

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 2015. He is editor of The Helios Mss.
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