Spencer Selby


I thought yes let me out
now beating thrall
somehow different
and my voice faltering
out of mistake drowning
always divided nightmare

No answer the sheets
faintly visible like a prison

Struggle small and fragile
fear of moon thunder
incessant rain deposit
under day I conjure

My eyes of water moving
thick dark shadow of a shadow

My life what is left of it
empty full lassitude
weary sodden trickles
slush of consciousness
without listening in time
the hunt for waterproof sky


Vagrant heart spasm
free mixture splattered
what’s wrong back in
attempt to reassure

Treatment mutters forever
scooping out relationship
with teeth exposed like
a woman with no past

I ask because it’s that simple
Checkered history goes
where I need not devise
a good idea of what
happens next

The door opens and shuts
looking suddenly bereft
aching to be parallels
that soothe but never
put off the urge to cry


My throat choking
with beliefs lowered onto
the ground by telescope
become too much to bear

To break grasp of lineage
a quarrel claimed otherwise
with such vehemence
going to hell by self-defense

Vault remains to swallow
realism and dismiss
what I do know for certain
suggesting tragic strain

to turn a profit that sits
in the chair next to mine


Intent as a song cast
the dead so ripe they appear
and speak power ancient
forehead now

Blue rushed at parade’s
yoked imagination
stealthy thrust backward
shows searching alone

for glory bound enigmas
assailing that other friend
put off in long crash of
calm on every side


On shore arrange pebbles
least not metaphor
trying passion blind
to one pebble that meant
wisdom around many others

Got lost within musing
about issue of soul dialect
being understood when all
is not right with a sentence

that burst out laughing
on the edge of water chosen
whose name eludes sensation
of throwing one back in


This brief last-minute invitation
is a matter of telling minutes
puzzling over sublime
ordinary circumstances

I found it odd to have
qualms before critique of a social
person who had attained rank
just short of access throughout

the central corridor when
embedded feeling was shaking
rather than announcing those with
authority and conviction

At such time I take a pounding
as experience introduced
during epidemic that has

become the official word on file
if opinion would transform itself
and appear still alive


Stagger doing exercise
scarcely astonished during trip
covering a distance in circles
potentially of therapeutic value

For example type when induced
by spells to pass from position
conserving more urgent matters

Sense of guilt that returns with
a question that haunts as
investigation glances down
a list of names that replaced

what happened to the source
of emotion concealed
by those who put up signs
along futuristic memory lane


Another view interrupted
far-flung preference for
mystery of the door solved
once a knock is heard

The door opens pushing
envelope that would suggest
it was unlocked all along

Residue entered knowing
trouble to escape
pessimistic prospects living
in a state of benign tension

evident throughout report
finished on schedule both
incredulous and confused

by gestures of appeasement
toward art that still needs
to get connection first


All season the wind blows against
confines that enforce solitude
of conversation and debate

I long to be light again
to walk crunching on the ground
of voices with no need

to make the proximity of
delirious prose seem like
something written in midstream

where certain passages are
situated in grove of precise shade
a strip of film spread across

the yard endowed with meaning
that remembers and forgets why
images got mixed up as a young boy

approached his equinox always
being abducted by secret travel
through leaves scattered unaware


I become dumbfounded after
so many struggles to remember
names, faces and events

that keep increasing influence
responsible somehow for loss
of one redemptive cause

I go on and on about the story
in anticipation of a visit from
circumstances pointing to

the end just around the corner
but today eyes fall upon the
surface marked with verbiage

made palpable by searching
for clues altered to realize
desire occupies its former spot

like private property exposing
flare-up in mind that played
a nasty trick in the past

understood as life pulling
an elaborate switch to start
the whole process once again

(Editor's Note: Some parts of this sequence, published entire here, have previously appeared in Caliban online.)

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