Winter 2005 vol 4.1
Five Poems
Dara Wier
(as soon as the boy) (and the goat and cart)
(came around the corner) (it was all over)
(a few fairly respectable scientists) (used to believe)
(birds wintered on the moon)
(and others who said they went away) (to where they'd
been) (before we'd ever seen them)
(and others who said no) (they go underwater and stay
there) (very still on the bottoms of nearby lakes) (and
ponds) (maybe so) (maybe in those days the moon was

closer) (maybe birds knew something) (about breathing
then that we'll never know)
(closer to the edges)
(closer to the margins)
(closer) (as in the sultry air in the evenings)
(later) (to be dazzled) (by your facial index)
(later on) (we'll get to the levee) (and stay there)
(those were my concerns) (those were my affairs)
(I needed to get to a cliff)

(to get to a box canyon) (a gulch and a gully)
(I needed to look around in a valley) (like a spider)
(I needed to see where the headwaters were)
(I needed to be accidental) (in other places)
(thereabouts is where the well would be)
(that's where the chimneys go)
(you can put your suitcase down) (at the foot of the
stairs) (though the stairs are gone)
(you can do what you want with your shoes)

(first time I left your arms) (too weak) (to walk)
(first time I left the room) (too confused to move)
(first time I left town) (of my own volition)
(first time I felt the graze of sisal) (skimming over
me) (I was astonished) (like a facsimile)
(sometimes a friend will say) (I've never been)
(and it's said in such a way) (so you're breathless)
(almost like a cliffhanger)
(last time I looked) (you were breathing)

(I was supposed to know what to do with ammonia)
(you were an arkwright) (I was some clapboard)
(I could also be tarpaper) (and tin and a tincan
of nails)
(every so often we were almost) (making contact)
(it was variable)
(neutrinos probably to do to you what they do to me)
(those over there) (those are the swiveling marvels)

(they trap) (but they don't keep the coats)
(I had to walk the whole length of the channel)
(one of my concerns) (was a straw hat with a green
visor on it) (and my stick and my bucket)
(when the rice fields were flooded and egrets were
in them I liked it) (it was sufficient)
(I had a roadside stand) (I knew most of my customers)
(in the evenings we sat on our decks) (and drank
cosmopolitans) (no we didn't)

(on the first floor were printing presses)
(next came the rooms never undecorated forever)
(all cluttered with somebody's holiday fevers)
(next was the floor) (you couldn't go on)
(up there) (there was always somebody crying)
(on the first floor were groceries & chemicals)
(next) (I don't know) (I never went there)
(I can think of nine churches) (with which I'm
fairly familiar) (each one had a different smell to it)

(I had to get to a canyon)
(I had to get to the foothills)
(I needed to find a glacier)
(a few weeks ago someone told me) (it) (was) (only) (natural)
(when you meet up with some kind of new animal)
(you want to see what it tastes like) (like a lynx)
(for instance)
(I don't think so)
(that) (that's what's called a false river)

(usually you find people there) (fishing and skiing)
(and drinking cold beer) (never working)
(these people eat snakes) (squirrels) (ducks &doves)
(geese) (possum) (alligator & frogs) (razorbacks and
raccoons) (deer) (turtles and wild rabbits all through
the seasons)
(I liked it when we made eye contact)
(I could see we were going to go somewhere)
(like a climbing vine) (only faster)

upright piano
(it isn't a place you go to on your own) (you
have to be consigned to it)
(we were summoned, we were corralled)
(remember the cannon you dragged with you everywhere)
(it wasn't a real one) (it was plastic) (it was in all
the wrong colors) (you said you were color-blind)
(it's something I inherited) (we didn't know them)
(they lived far away) (they were old then)
(we saw a few pictures) (we could see the resemblance)

(we never asked any questions) (it was futile)
(you were shy) (it didn't seem like any of your business)
(you didn't miss anything) (you knew more than you
needed to know) (maybe I don't remember any of it)
(you were always arriving asking who'd called you)
(I was always hiding pretending I couldn't hear any­
thing) (if it's called an executive war it's because
executives start it) (they were circuit riders)
(they sold fetishes) (it was a relic) (it was made

out of cowbones) (it looked as if it had been monkeyed
with) (there's an inexhaustible supply of them) (they
never stopped coming) (it's known as a widow's curse)
(say you sell flowers) (show them your corollas)
(arrange something for them) (say you'll send some­
thing to a funeral home for them) (don't call it a
mortuary) (it will make them suspicious) (all that is
is a road sign) (it means congested) (they're hard to
see) (they stay behind their mosquito netting)

it's made out of goathorn) (it's a cornucopia)
(it's where feasts come from) (they are always
extra-moratorium) (it's a disestablishmentarianism)
(say you're the zygote of two zombies) (let them test
your intelligence) (let them tell you what your
destiny is) (so be a condor) (have something door-
to-door to take with you) (find something to re­
cycle) (talk about most favored nation clauses
with them) (it's a night jasmine) (it sweetens the

evening) (remember how much lip service was paid
to doomsday) (like they say) (you have to start
somewhere) (it was a contretemps among discophiles)
(it was the vortex out of which we never exited)
(some of them were involved in one kind of frottage
or another) (it looked like gossamer) (there was
gossamer everywhere) (it was the morphine)
(it was below the belt) (they were stony-faced)
(they were sleeping on conveyor belts)

(if they say you are unredeemed) (shrug your shoulders)
(keep your mouth closed)
(keep an eye on the hems of their tunics)
(demi-discophiles anyway) (were we related somehow)
(quasi-so) (like candles and candle extinguishers)
(that was the payload)
(there was the longest morning after)
(we didn't want to be paraphrased too many times)
(they thought of themselves as matchmakers)

(they couldn't get enough paraphernalia)
(it's just coyotes) (they're moving wherever
they want to) (so don't go anywhere without a
donkey) (see if you can reverberate all over)
(it looks like what's left of a once upright piano)
(did you hear how it played by itself all through
the thunderstorm) (they're your ears) (you can do
what you want with them) (it started out sounding
like something tap-dancing on stucco)

(or taping their fingers together to fix them)
(or rapping a code through some pipelines)
(there were pentagrams aplenty)
(you can lean up against it) (it's an altar rail)
(if it looks like a roundup) (it might be)
(that's a tiara)
(it's what they wore when they were out hanging up
laundry) (it made them feel better)
(laundry lines were not allowed there)

(at least not on weekends)
(weekends were for blowing leaves and for chainsaws)
(display your muscles) (say you're a wrestler)
(you were voted in by your people)
(it was all done in tandem) (like payola)
(as if they'd kept it in the family)
(like an umbilical cord) (to launch a rocket)
(we were feeling a little sandbagged)
(as though we'd misunderstood being superfluous)

heave the guide ropes, find a wedgestone

(for a while) (we lived in a house with bars on
its windows)
(there was an evil genius) (concocting a cubist music)
(to frighten the children with)
(to find the ammunition dump you take Animal Road)
(you put on a dress, you put on a scarf)
(it's a little past the radio station but you can't
see it) (it's been burned down)
(we can make a raft of the bedframes) (we can turn

the curtains into sails) (we'll find something to
row with) (nothing can be motorized)
(we hadn't been cursed or blessed) (we'd been syncopated)
(so we didn't talk like we used to) (we didn't walk like
we used to) (we made up new ways to walk) (to many of the
same places) (but we didn't see the same things there)
(as we used to see)
(though it didn't seem as if it made any sense) (to force
how we were feeling) (to be synchronized)

(there was no convincing evidence to feel otherwise)
(it was still the habit in those days to apply) (the
ancient three-ply solution to everything) (like clockwork)
(with a metronomical insistent amnesia clause inside)
(some things were taking a clobbering)
(some things weren't in the position to synthesize)
(even when I suspended some pretty cisele chiseled with
night jasmine over some of the windows I froze)
(were do you get 'em) (you get 'em at the landfill)

it's open a couple of hours every other Sunday)
(but it's closed)
(look how they've spruced up the thought trans­
ference booths) (that's an institutional green
to die for) (if I ever saw one)
(once I went with two strangers) (who were out) (chasing
tornadoes) (once was enough of that) (once when
a tornado was chasing me I took refuge) (in a drugstore)
(the druggist always sent me away with a little tin

of something) (something he'd concocted with a mortar
& a pestle) (he liked me) (I was a mobile addition
to his honky tonk laboratory) (and he admired my
calciform nose)
(every shredder served a different purpose)
(the one for false pretenses was way undersized) (or
undersiege or underutilized) (it was fatigued)
(you look for your shoes) (you don't need your keys)
(you put the travois where you know you can find it)

(ne'er before were the Phoenicians here) (but there
they are) (pulling up in drydock) (where a warehouse)
(has been patiently waiting for them to come in)
(tin is what the Phoenicians have to trade)
(we can vowelize with them for a while)
(tin weeps) (that's one thing is does)
(because of where we were we could always see sparks
from the welders' torches working on the oil rigs)
(we could see them in the distance from our windows)

(which we preferred to have open when we could)
(riata sustained) (amanita sustained) (aught sus­
tained) (standardization endured) (as if we were
modules) (low-grade) (extremely slow motion vertigo
sustained) (imbalance endured) (it's called a pro­
tective slope) (you can call it overprotection) (if
you think it is) (a moat for a moat for a moat)
(lock for a lock) (a combination of something) (you
missed and something you likely didn't want to

miss further) (like a pretty steady ferry)
(in a steamy steady rainfall) (we'll get to the land­
ing by nightfall) (along around midnight we'll be
in our blankets) (we'll have our heads down in all
the right places) (we'll lose our backbones)
(it was as if we were out of proportion) (but to what
that was not in the picture) (you have the camera)
(point it at something) (you have the solution)
(you can try to dissolve it in a slurry of in­

activity) (radio back to us in a few thousand years)
(reach an agreement) (staunch, steep, fearless, sus­
taining) (unbreakable) (fierce, pressing, unbleeding)
(we were sparring partners then) (we walked in wing-
tips) (you've got the tintypes) (you were the one
who dismantled the templates) (there wasn't any
convincing status to calculate) (there were thought-
substitutes available) (approachable) (affordable)
(little side-effects) (minimal collateral damage)

(we walked over the borderland) (to where rivercane
hid where the river was)
(it was just a homemade flat-bottom boat but it worked
all right)
(we didn't use oars) (we used poles)
(there was clean water in two canteens)
(we'd spent the night before) (in a ghost town)
(the night before that) (in a cottonwood grove)
(with a flock of caracaras) (with too many snakeskins)

(to look for a house to live in) (to see yourself in
it) (to cross its threshold) (to be or not to be absorbed)
(looking back at what you left behind) (looking back
over into where you once were) (you can be a ghost there)
(you can make it look like a cross section) (and never
see how it started) (and what went on during most of it)
(or hear the end of it) (though someone wrote it down)
(with lots of semiquavers in it) (now and then some
slurs) (and at least once crescendo) (a great grey owl

who looked a little cross-eyed) (and one small time
dot for your trouble)
(ditto for what wasn't yours)
(loco for all those things yet to arrive)
(it's never worked to put a lodestar) (on a lay away
plan anyway)
(lame brain) (lamentable) (laying on of hands)
(it was a vanguard-phrase) (like a plunging neckline)
(it was marked with too many arrows)

it was literally literal)
(like a smoking jacket on a loggia)
(if you stand on a chair in the loggia) (you can see
the fields of tobacco)
(I'd call it a dress depression)
(take it in for an overhaul)
(it had practically been smocked) (to death)
(they don't smock flags)
(or do they sometimes)

(oh it was almost nothing) (like a light depression)
(like light artillery)
(there is a ghost word out there) (somewhere meandering
(betwixt a sawmill) (a smokestack) (a duckblind)
(everything seemed to be infiltrated) (with some kind
of gerrymandering mind) (all crabwise)
(that's why we left the porch light on a tripswitch)
(so as not to play havoc with the insects)

(we did a few things quite thoughtfully)
(at night when we moved from the woods into the
clearing we watched where we walked)
(there were whip-poor-wills there)
(I want to go back up in the hills where those giant
turbine windmills are)
(for a while the kids used the abandoned car) (for a
(I don't think they noticed mice used it with them)

(you gotta) (do) (what you gotta) (do) (usually makes someone
(there goes one)
(there goes one in a seersucker sunsuit)
(all decked out)
(there goes one) (where it's raining cats & dogs) (with
a fine black poncho on)
(there goes one in flip-flops tying a knot) (in a
fishing line)

(there go a murmur of them) (all in string-ties)
(it happened during the last loud-speaker phase)
(we missed the parade) (but heard it lasted a long, long)
(time) (unit by unit on into eternity) (like chewing)
(their problem was they took real estate too literally)
(one could feel the avarice for the locus) (amidst the
endless bruhaha) (of some of the malcontents)
(I was going down to zero again)
(I was going down to sweep out the chicken coop)

(so barn owls could look in some other direction)
(we walked over planks wherever water was)
(in the aftermath of the storm) (we were without
lights) (we turned a generator on)
(that was when an ash went into a tear duct)
(that was our excuse then)
(now it's possible to need to be misted) (like a
fern) (that's been in a room with the heater on)
(not like a hothouse fern) (not like dust for brains)

recollection of a day sitting on a park bench
(it looks like a page that's been torn from a
calendar) (why did they have so many haircuts)
(cut through the alley) (it looks like a short­
cut) (those are voting booths) (it took a team
of efficiency experts to decide that)
(to determine there were other ways of doing things)
(they're on casters) (we can move them)
(what would we move them for) (to see what's
behind them) (to see if there's a door there)

(look) (they had training sessions almost every
day of the week) (maybe for medical purposes)
(remember the day we took off the training wheels)
(they were jettisoned)
(we never saw them again)
(maybe they were learning to be something)
(how would you know which one's doing the learning)
(maybe they were training animals)
(have we passed any lost and founds lately)

(oh one of them said it had opened an old wound)
(and it kept growing) (not like a carapace)
(it felt like repeatedly being smashed in the face
with a cast-iron skillet) (but it was mental)
(it had headphones on it) (it looked like the place
where antlers attach)
(when was the last time you found antlers on a side­
walk) (that was in a comic strip)
(we were having another monsoon) (in a smokehouse)

(we were supposed to check boxes) (as if we could
do that) (it was frowned upon to have mood swings)
(we were supposed to be very calm) (we weren't
supposed to have more than one thought at a time)
(we never got anywhere) (you got your lasso)
(we liked it when you worked on those speech
balloons) (it helped us get started)
(that is a tuning fork) (you should keep it)
(we will now go and find a piano) (they are plentiful)

(it was sandpaper with almost no sand left on it)
(but the banister is smooth) (and the woodwork
is easy)
(it was pretty hard on those hairlines)
(it was dissolving in concentric circles)
(like shoe polish does sometimes)
(on a shoeshine stand in an airport)
(it was a vespa) (there was an alarm clock
bouncing around in its basket)

(it wasn't bulrush) (it was metallic)
(it made a noise like a dustflap)
(we were supposed to have equilibrium)
(that is impossible to do in a library)
(less so in a caldera)
(that is a cooling rack) (it serves its purpose)
(they used pruning shears) (it was passive-
aggressive) (like a casserole)
(more like cattails)

(what it meant was aghast)
(there was no brake shoe)
(all of the magnetic strips were marked down)
(you were supposed to just sit there)
(as if you knew nothing) (you were supposed to
swallow it whole) (like a prescription)
(like a coin slot)
(you could really handle a soupspoon)
(it was just a bracket to hurdle)

(you were supposed to turn in your family)
(remember the calf we helped extricate from
a fence)
(it felt better after) (it was askance)
(you were supposed to concentrate on extrospection
and nothing else) (they'd take care of the rest)
(it was worse than being invalid)
(there are numbers to call in some of the boxes)
(we can set up a wire service) (like a telegraph)

(we can go fossilize some things)
(we can entertain an opposite conclusion)
(like anvils) (it felt like being pounded with
anvils) (not with feathers)
(remember in the park by the ferrylanding the
ultramarine bird we ran into)
(we had been to one of the extrospection stations)
(we were tired and we were hungry)
(we sported our expiration dates with euphoria)