Mrs. Vex and Mr. Fret’s tale
                        regaled us. Unlikeliness’s
                  allure we’d become converts
                                                                 to
                     of late, readiness and reluc-
                         tance’s draw… A continent’s
                  width away from Lone Coast
                                                                  we
                 came to Low Forest, reminisced
                    what never was. Called it soul,
                  not knowing what soul was, as
                                                                    if to
                    say we’d have otherwise known…
                      In Low Forest we got dirt under
                                                                          our
                       nails. The Overghost Ourkestra
                    blared out of earshot, bass light
                      spangled with leaf glint, glimmer,
                                                                             we
                        scrounged on the forest floor…
                      It was a weighty sound, soon-come
                  somnolence, work to remain awake
                    though we did. A plumb sound it
                                                                          was,
                  nonsonance notwithstanding, heavy
                     sound we sensed on our hands and
                knees… It was a voyage we were on
                                                                           un-
                        der house arrest. Nod lay in front
                    as though flown from inside, gone
                      from reminiscence’s ramshackle
                  auspices, ransacked romance’s house.
                                                                               Dis-
                   mantling it, we stood, stewed, steadied
                     ourselves as we could. Low Foresters…
                 Foragers… Found our legs…
           
                       Seeing we could stand, we sat. An
                  organ quartet arrested us. San Fran-
                     cisco, 1971, it seemed we were in,
                Jack’s on Sutter Street. We sat on
                                                                       logs
                    encircling a fire, telling tales…
                Rooms under the ground amplified
                  what sound there was, wood we
                                                                      sat
             ensconsed in, hollow what else there
                                                                         was…
                We came to see or it came to seem
             Nod lay behind us, long since rickety
               exit, rickety floorboards under our
           feet. Thus it was or so we said it went,
                                                                         Mrs.
             Vex and Mr. Fret’s ythmic boon by
               the wayside, soon-come croon, com-
           plaint…  Memory Lane it might’ve
                                                                    been
               but we were bent on the moment,
             Nuff the arch name it got, always
                                                                    never
           enough

















                  ____________________
 
             What with Brother and Mrs.
        Vex departed, what with knowing,

          what with what could not be
         happening happening, we moved
on... 
          Low Forest lay east of Detroit,
         north of New Not Yet. Toward 
       the upcoming slope we saw sparkle, calm 
           we called reckoning, Nuff... Look
              back in advance we’d have none

        of, did so even so. Somewhere
               judges whispered into their robes...
           Someone had said or somewherewe’d 
          read the stars were campfires farther
              out. Pilgrims orbited each of 
           them, we’d heard or we’d read some- 
         where 
 
 
                                    •

                  Calm we called reckoning, desire-
              less we’d become. Up thru the roof
                we went, angry. “Want, be ours
a-
                     
gain,” we grumped...Shook  
                our heads, pulled our hair, saw 
                something shine, not knowing what. 
             Light’s next-to-last will and what-
                   say. Fractal respite. Fractal un- 
              rest... We stole away from it,
                    heads each a cocoon hatching
ap- 
                petite, long since lapsed arousal,
                    erstwhile rouse, regret... There was 
               a bag we’d forgotten to watch andsome- 
                 one had stolen. Reprimand spiked
                      love’s potion, love’s dream lost 
               love clung to, clasp it all advancingfell 
                 away from, time intolerant, intan-
                 gible, touch and go... We were 
                     loss’s intimates, inmates, wings
                     unfurled inside the cocoons our
heads 
                 had become. Not so, we said when
                 someone said we were dreaming. 
                  Naked, someone said. Not so,we 
             said... A dialogue of soul and sex
                 it had been but shifted, the what- 
                 sayer adamantly back. What to
                do, what of what comes after, he
was 
               asking, Mr. P’s confidante... A  
               dialogue of soul and subsequence, 
              what was debated what would be.
           grandmother strangling a water snake
                 in Georgia was all the history, he 
            said, he knew... So it was we learned of 
               social burlap, divination’s rough cut,
                    the what-sayer claiming to’ve dined 
                  with the president. Pitch, provocation, boast...
                     We were love’s last portion, politics our 
                 stretch, nowhere not orexic still. Again
                 we’d go the way of new Andoumboulou, 
            large heads turbaned with butterfly wings, co- 
                 coons they’d truly turn out to’ve been...
               The what-sayer’s date with the president 
               cracked us up. Mr. and Mr. Plex we’dhave 
            said. We applauded Nub’s facelift, ballot-
                 box pendulum, wondered without asking 
             what next... We stood in the parking lot 
            Low Forest had morphed into, a remote
               lot Itamar had met his first love in. Asphalt
           stuck to our feet... We fended off sorrow,
the
             earth awash in oil, black planet, a sigh so light 
           feathers felt like
           lead 


























                  ____________________

              The parking lot might have been
         a drive-in movie, so loosely did its aspect

           fit. The what-sayer said they’d gone
          to dinner even so, insisted it again
and 
            again... They’d eaten popcorn,
          rabbit and arugula, he said, meant by 
          that to make us think. The sky
        balled up in qu’ahttet light, Itamar
said 
          so too, the Overghost Ourkestra
       gone but for a tremor, David S. Ware 
           on the box... Love’s graduation gone 
           haptic, a poultice made of cardamom
                husks... Mr. and Mr. Plex fled pomp, 
         ceremony, make-believe’s long day
       done 

                               •


               Once again we thought of mov-
                 ing on, Low Forest a lid on

          what we could see. Desireless
             but for that, owned a conceit
of 
             sorts, wanting to be wise to
         itself...Looking to leave part
            regret, part glee to be done 
            with it, a little of it made its way 
         back... A night out, a night not
            unlike others, drudgery’s night
off 
            at least. Yes, it was a drive-in
                movie,
The Tingler, 1959. 
       We sat each with an ostensible
           mate and held hands, turned
away 
           when it came to the scary parts...
         We begged Mr. and Mr. Plex 
             let go, cinegenic precedent pest. 
          Fog rolled in from the coast
              but only in memory, the 
      screen we sat in our cars looking at 
         obscured... Black hold, gnostic
       hostages again, stellar collapse... 
       Backlit galactic tarpit, spasmodic as- 
     phalt we stepped in... It might’ve
         been a play we were staging. 
   I lent the cast what I felt, what was
       left of me, the reed’s voice not
out 
    of earshot, what sound could ac-
      crue to ennui. “We were dead
  before we knew it,” said the dead,
      heard it clearly. A quick wind
  rose and was gone... The edge 
    I’d sworn we stood on retreated.
 The nay’s whoosh lamented the
mo- 
   ment as it faded, lament the sole 
                                                       mo-
   ment there was... The nay’s lament 
     gave time a sound. Sad but okay
 it seemed and so the dead said. “We’ll
      be okay,” they said... We was
  a vain wish to rescue, Ahtt En- 
    semble the name it got... Ahtt was
 an abstract aggregate. Hallelujahs
went 
     up as we pulled
    out 
 



















                            ____________________
 
                       We knew no other way to say
                   it, so messed up we were. Mr.

                   and Mr. Plex fled pomp, cere-
                 mony, eked-out amenity what
cast 
                 we could salvage, light’s late
                      show our chagrin... We
               were light’s last addicts, we 
               feasted on frame, flicker, the 
               what-sayer’s presidential
                      fare our tale of the tribe, light’s
                last advocates,
                lost 





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