Still Life with Transduction
The last time we’d met—a bad quarrelsome
Thanksgiving made worse by partners we
were both about to leave—she’d told me
about the pregnancy, including the Southeast Asian
country from where its soul she believed
had come. It was Oakland, a world away
from the prairie suburb we’d both fled
for love & education, where I’d drawn
mostly from postcards & she’d explained
it was best to draw from life. I said nothing
of comfort—not because I was heartless
but because I was stunned—& she retired
to her prized possession, the claw-foot tub
she’d restored on the second floor
& my last thought before waking in the dark
to drive south over swells & stretches
Midwestern in their shorelessness
was to wonder what it was like to see
with sound: limbs
folded, unfolding, curled in pulse
& process. I took a class to pass the time
in a jobless friendless city: it was important to learn
to feel what I saw, to remember what I touched
touched me. It took years to learn
that with luck you can see the face
& with luck’s opposite even stillness.
Soon a postcard came (a favorite Balthus
& a subtext of reconciliation) & in a drizzle
off Fairfax she introduced her husband
& I my wife & infant son. Out of ignorance,
not tact, they made no mention of the one
we hadn’t been able to have. She
was glowing, almost three months,
& would soon get her first chance to see.
Tell me everything she said, meaning tell me
not to be afraid.
[Island in the Infinitive]
To survey. To surveil.
To yoke stars, islands,
tribes—slow & far-flung dooms
corralled into ensemble.
To constellate; archipelago.
Portmanteau & neologize.
To fix a golden
foil across the mouth—
a burial mask
to keep the evil out.
To raise walled cities
stone & green with rain.
To reconcentrate (to hamlet).
Keep the evil in.
Upang maging o hindi maging.
To infight. Backstab.
Resort to guerrilla warfare.
To lay it all on questionable wagers.
Submit too readily to fate.
To find no comfort in shade
the Pasig sluggish under the Jones Bridge.
Boys jump down into the weedy slush
To count them, body by body.
Rushing in the ears
ultra / sound
ki-bo1the heart strong & fast
ki-bo ki-bo2pressed by echo
ki-bo ki-bo ki-bo3he stirs when you’re
for the moth-
ki-bo ki-bo ki-bo ki-bour music
is a homophone
pregnant is pregnant