“O fragment of mica, looking on which I once learned,
for the first time, that I is not something 'in me.'”
for the first time, that I is not something 'in me.'”
Replace male with electrical socket. Female with garden hose. Rip through the drywall. Wind the cord. I wish I was an umbilical. Too easy. Too domestic. Too binary. Insert a question. We are bonded. Not strangled. Experience entanglement. Redact. Post bail. We used bailing wire to hold together the pallet compost bins. Purple sweet potato vines leaf out in spades. Dangle through the slats and begin to creep across the lawn. You said shadows tiptoe too. Hear the tinkering. Replace sense with sound. Hear the wind in the folds of the flag. Move the catcalling/caterwauling crowd. Students chant in t-shirts/without t-shirts. Students chant slurs. A spectacle of intimidation. ‘They’re selling postcards of.’ But these are children. Smiling. Are these children. The diagnosis predicts. A dicey. A runaway. Recovery. Replace diagnosis with daisies. Daises with fortuneteller. Are you surefooted. Find me. Redact me. Since I is failing. I is fleeting I is missing. Is a place. And another. We enter. Thick flies swarm melon rinds. The green sugar pumpkins return to half-ripen. An ocean of grass opens before my daughter as she totters. Redact the sea. The people sway/are swayed. Which people. Are you. Redact the human view. ‘The ledges in the rough sea seen from the road/the harbor.’ We are safe. Are we safe. We blasted bedrock. Laid bare before. Made roads from here to there and from there to here. Where is here. Replace where with when. Replace safe with saved. Replace saved with salve. I am approaching you with eager tenderness. Try a little. I’ve seen you. Arm pulling your daughter close. Parroting hate. Replace hate with love. Is it real. Real to me. Replace me with you. I am writing my own extinction. I am fixated on becoming a port. Plug in. Replace he with she. She with he. They with they. Come closer. Down here. See the turtle bug. Lovely parted shield of basil green. Whose work dissolves. Our work. Your work. Replace a cloud of birds with a squall of starlings. See the hidden reptiles beak the earth. Refuse/refute prehistory. It is in us always. Redact always. See the grain in the granite. The flakes of mica. Replace the present with the ever present presence of universal possession. West to east and east to west. We are the gathering of seafoam on the descending outcrop. We are the leaves drenched in sunlight and samaras spinning through the air. Today clarity. This is the sky. This is the crosswalk. I wanted to say the children. The bright children are bright. Are laughing. Are not frightened. Are still children. But you are not prepared to be you.
Replace O with only one. See Spot. See Spot run. Replace Dick with Jane. Neither says the Testament. You have. Selective reading syndrome. Does disorder matter. Is there. Chaos. Recall the molecular models from your Ms./Mr. Mueller’s chemistry class. They are they. Are you inside. Exchange inside for outside. The pink and blue beads of sodium and chloride. Crystal ionic lattice. ‘The unsettling sense of missing time.’ Memory implies revision like the way I forgot my silence for two days when you told me you were pregnant and I only recall returning with a toy turtle. Named after my father. Named after his uncle. Add owl to turtle. Revise you. You will be someone else later. Redact silence since silence is impossible. Partial. I look back despite the warning label. Objects appear. Looming. We felt sporadically guilty when just two our son sang she can take the dark out of the nighttime / And paint the daytime black while the elderly couple standing in line at the grocery store behind us were appalled at the miniature apocalypse. Replace partial with pillar. Replace pillar with shadow. Whose head. Sing. Sings ‘while you slave.’ Where do the headwaters of life begin and end. Revision implies form. ‘Do I use all of my fears.’ I am not afraid of dying now. Kicked ‘loose of the earth.’ I am afraid of the earth. For him without him. Be still breathing. The red cedars less than locusts populate the hillsides. Alter an altered place we have scraped, left bare and unknowingly invited the species. Into fire. The brambles burn. I understand sacrifice. Or some sacrifice. Are you in here with me. Eurydice. Revise. Replace with eschatology. My son now lying on the oak floorboards with his socks pedaling the air. Fitting together wooden train tracks. Soft pine. Male to female. Female to male. We are moved by the rails of language to sight and infection. Cut back on capital. The ivy roots form to fit the surface they climb. Excrete glue then dry. We reinvent the words. Sometimes with simple intonation. Revise the performance. The cadence. Make the words murmur. Make them personal. Rustle as invisible leaves. Return them to the commons. Maybe. Son. My son. And you will ask, where are the adults. Replace adults with atoms. ‘Here I am.’ You are. Look. Here is a ram. And here a door. Here a window. And let me tell you now so later. Little one. I refused. And once. I held. You. Against the metaphorical and g-dly darkness.
Neighbors (I-X) Revisited
“the odd branch scrapes across them”
—Vincent Van Gogh
—Vincent Van Gogh
Replace one plague with another. And another. Counter plague with prayer. Redact “please g-d” since the shibboleth is a chrysalis is a crescent moon. On an [insert] field. Moan me. Darling. Mumble. Replace ants with termites. Inside me is another layer of decay. What language do you speak from behind the fence. Could it be a human wall. In encampment. Row upon row of dry tents. Imprisoned in retail space. Exchange grasshoppers for crickets. See how vicious. The volta. You have. The potential to be photographed. I have plaque on my brain. You are not funny. You had me in stitches. In tear gas. Please. Replace my knees since my knees now knock. Even in the oncoming sunshine. Replace with the red light of the exit sign. Exchange sign for music. Dim for din. Too predictable like a whorl of fire. Keep at me. Now the leaves roar via wind. Ob via. Now the crowd overturning the car. Whorls. Now at a distance. Now at an unearned remove. Now walk through the museum. See the docent encroaching. See the missing thorax. The lost abdomen. Specify. See the Olive Trees. I carried you ‘across the heath and through the hedgerows.’ Replace heath with heat. See the wall again laden with words. Replace laden with loved. We bear life unevenly. You have to feed the mule my alter ego says. Find a river of cars. Which one burns. Does it matter. At which point. Who are we. Come hither. No matter how good you think the fence is, my alter ego says, cows will always find a way through. The rabbit is out of hiding. The dog yelps. Down the street barking. Replace the wideness of night with quiet. Extract the tincture. We are three letters and a redshift away. Squint hard. See the expanse expanding. Keep at me. We are witnesses to our own evolution. I knew a woman, lovely in her years, who has never bodied pain. What joy if ignorance is. What heartbreak if consciousness is. On a scale. Scale up. A mass. A mask. A scream—pinfire revolver. Herald of mass production. Shootings. Go back. Yonder. Redact evolution. Place tongue against cheek. We are murmuring congregants at a blue wedding. Waiting. Replace wedding with ending. Words inscribed upon doorposts. This time without blood. Do you forget the exodus. The thoughts of the unloved mechanical beetles cross your door. ‘The day is green.’ Why figure love for warmth. Love can be as cold. The air that makes your breathing visible. Why figure love as sight. I see for some of us. I stop upon the decibel rising. Our relationship is vertical. Inverted. I stop somewhere. And we know the daylight makes a museum of the sky. And can be seen through a window. And we volunteer to be volunteered. And we are crickets caught up with song we can no longer hope to display. And O is round. Is final. Is thunder. Is address. Replace moan with mail. So many light seconds ago. O synesthete. ‘Last hawser. In you creaks’ our ‘last longing.’ O streets. You are ‘filled with rubble Everything will be different.’ Even daylight. ‘When we paint.’ Our symbol. Everywhere. ‘You are loosed from your moorings.’ Speak what word back. What is the body to us. Microcosm. Abridgement. Hieroglyph. Signature. You are loosed upon the tide and free. We are the embezzled sea speaking in flashes of light. Exchange embezzled for embodied. We are the genderless sea heaving upon the breathless shore. The tired. The poor. The masses. ‘Yearning to breathe.’ But what we need is (not) also. What we need is. No adherents. And oxygen.
Copyright © May 2021 Daniel Biegelson
Daniel Biegelson is the author of the forthcoming book of being neighbors (Ricochet Editions) and the chapbook Only the Borrowed Light (VERSE). He is the Director of the Visiting Writers Series at Northwest Missouri State University as well as an Associate Editor for The Laurel Review. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Denver Quarterly, FIELD, Grist, Interim, The Spectacle, Timber, TYPO and Zone 3, among other places. He hails from New Jersey. Find him at danielbiegelson.com