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Tag: @rikam99

The Clock of the Long Now

I know what’s going down out there

from the apocalyptic sunsets lately

scraping the sky red and purple like

a bruised clavicle. It’s a tiny miniscule

bit of noise, but still: the litter of fences

and factories, the town seeping like a stain

into the surrounding fields. When Monet

couldn’t tolerate the incoherence

of the streets, he went back to painting

landscapes he would construct himself

just for the purpose of painting them.

And I’m telling the truth when I say

I’ve heard a guy busking on his guitar

in the strip mall outside the Goodwill

and next to the Food Lion. When I go in

for groceries, he’s singing “I have become

comfortably numb,” a little high and

a little sharp, and then when I come out,

he’s doing “Hallelujah,” and both of these

sentiments are simultaneously accurate:

DepressedBlessed would be the hashtag.

On the car radio today a woman lectured

about mid-life, told us to have goals, get

hobbies, create our own milestones

around athletics. I take notes on an

orange and yellow Virginia Lottery

Ticket with a stubby pencil: mark

boxes as shown ⌧. When my son

ate a pencil—colored, blue—his tongue

became an ocean of sorrow. A group

of sea otters resting together is called

a raft. You and I, we lashed whatever

we had in our pockets with string

and set the parcel gently on the sea.

I’ve heard the sounds of a waterfall

cascading from 148 speakers. I’ve

heard the cat crunching kibble and

the trees shushing the fields as I write this.

I’ve heard the rubber band that binds

us extricably to one another snap back

against our skin and leave a mark.

I’ve heard a car engine gasp, then

turn over in the parking lot of that

numb hallelujah strip mall and maybe

Monet was onto something. In his

Painting “Boulevard St. Denis, Argentuil,

Winter,” he captures the exact moment

the sun struggles to break through

a light snowfall. There’s a path, a fence,

a town; figures hurrying with umbrellas;

snow takes the edges off of most things;

but it’s the sun—the yellow light riveting,

sickly, the opposite of triumphant.

from Poetry Northwest 12.2 Winter & Spring 2018More by Erika Meitner from the library

Copyright © Erika Meitner
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

Big Box Encounter

My student sends letters to me with the lights turned low.

They feature intricate vocabulary, like soporific and ennui.

Like intervening and kinetic and tumult. He strings words together

like he’s following a difficult knitting pattern. He is both more

and less striking without a shirt on. I know this from the time

I ran into him at Walmart buying tiki torches and margarita mix

and, flustered, I studied the white floor tiles, the blue plastic

shopping cart handle, while he told me something that turned

to white noise and I tried not to look at his beautiful terrible chest,

the V-shaped wings of his chiseled hipbones. I write him back.

I tell him there are two horses outside my window and countless weeds.

I tell him that the train comes by every other hour and rattles the walls.

But how to explain my obsession with destruction? Not self-immolation,

but more of a disintegration, slow, like Alka-Seltzer in water. Like sugar in water.

I dissolve. He writes enthralling. He writes epiphany and coffee machine.

He is working in an office, which might as well be outer space.

I am in the mountains. The last time I worked in an office, he was ten.

I was a typewriter girl. I was a maternity-leave replacement for a fancy secretary.

I helped sell ads at TV Guide. I was fucking a guy who lived in a curtain-free studio

above a neon BAR sign on Ludlow Street and all night we were bathed in pot smoke

and flickering electric pink light. Here, the sun goes down in the flame

of an orange heat-wave moon. The train thrums and rattles the distance,

and I think of his chest with the rounded tattoo in one corner and my youth,

the hollows of his hipbones holding hard, big-box fluorescent light.

from CopiaFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2014
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Litany for Our Radical Engagement with the Material World

Objects around us are emitting light, transgressing,

           are discrete


           tropes, backdrops, ruination, lairs.

Objects around us are blank and seamless,

         suffer from an arbitrariness,

         are habitual or habitually


Objects around us can be carefully etched

               or stitched on top of our skins,

          dismantled and placed in the trunk of a cab.

Objects around us are Oh my God.

Objects around us shimmer in air-colored suits,

             in flesh-colored suits,

         are waiting to be caressed.

          They breakdance when we turn away.

Objects around us depend on fracture and fragment,

         are picked clean, derelict—


           like hostages without blindfolds

         or tout survivability

    by trilling in the wet grass.

Objects around us are durable,

             glow relentlessly

         as if they’re actually immortal.

Objects around us are not strangers.

              They are the ruins

              in which we drown.

Objects around us are expecting again,

         blanket things with feathers

    to offer refuge

         but tremble anyway.

Objects around us wrap us in compassion,

            sing an ode to something,

         take the long way home.

Objects around us are no substitute for anything.

Objects around us moan.

Objects around us wander the aisles,

              take everything of worth,

              flee, exit, make off, vamoose.

Objects around us dismantle the city.

The doors are wide open. Go in.

from CopiaFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2014
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.


Witness this: peonies and roses on the bedspread. Her red dress. The motel curtains sliding together to cover their view of parking lot oil stains and cigarette butts, the billboard that asks How Will The Falls Transform You? Their bodies give way, unresolved and stumbling. Afterwards, he stands in the rented doorframe listening to her shifting, her breath. In the half-melting drifts. In the creak of the car door before the slam. And how she breathes, like an accordion or a jewel box, and the sky opens. It’s not the first time he prays for wonders instead of happiness. Cave of the Winds. Maid of the Mist. Rushing torrents of neon bouncing off the pavement between gaps in the motel curtains: aperture of plastic, chrome, electric light. Love is thrown and it is caught. It lives a long time in the air, floats on the surface of the skin. It can overflow, bounce like a fiddle string. It can be blurred, shaped like an onion peel. The half-moon of her body in this stained place, vertiginous. He hasn’t written these words in a long time. He writes them with the motel pen. If there was an apartment and I had a decent job and you felt happy and thought there could be a nice history together, would you come home?

from CopiaFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2014
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.