Thursday, July 14, 2005

6 Poems Jay Snodgrass


My ghost made an art movie through which I am moving with heavy footsteps, and a heart made of horse hair and whispers. This is canticle. I am sure you know how to make a pope. Sprinkle two shades of gray with the envy every nation has for a good, violent history. My ghost blesses me with shadows. These kill by arranging themselves across my memories so that I don’t recall the names of friends I’ve had forever. At night, if I’d been drinking, I’d sprinkle the last drops of my bottle onto the ground. There the white whisper of my childhood friend would bob up like a body under ice. Blue and grateful I’d remembered at least that he’d died and that he has thirst. If not his name.


My ghost’s art movie never ends. It never goes off the air. It’s in the living room of every house I pass when I walk the dog. Or when I drive down the expressway, the wide tongue of dark lanes swallowing cars into hillsides, blue light flickers like wildfire through every living room. And when I fly, it’s everywhere you are. She doesn’t want to miss any possibility of scaring the shit out of me. And just like a moonlight on well water, there’s no chance of outrunning her.


The tidal wave of my ghost’s art movie is determined to wipe away all life. Biblical? No. a charm of suffering I can’t go without. She films me with her eyes. I am her will. And the will of her fantasy. She wants bugs, I’m there with an oversized spoon and a bib that reads “Who’s Buggin’?” I’m there looking at you through the mirror. Or is it me looking at me? Then it’s the negative, the blacks and whites transpose to make ghosts of everything else. And upside down too. This is scary because if the surface of a thing can so easily change, why not the substance. If I am painted gray by moonlight, do I become a leaf? And if I am a waxy bobbing leaf, then my ghost is the caterpillar coming to consume it, one nod of the head at a time.


My ghost made an art movie of harsh sunlight. The leaf shade is characterized by sharp pains and an insistent machismo, the persistence of light which seeks to show, to show. The eye of her camera is everywhere, evil concave, sinister aperture. Hers is the movie of innumerable movies. She is the dark theater and the scorch of white mouth outside, the re-entry into daylight. My ghost’s art movie is a movie of weeping, of human voices running backwards as though we are slipped out of time and grasping. This is the art movie of liberation. It is a closed box.


My ghost’s art movie moves me like the desires of the tide. The will to be despite the obviousness of decay. This is the chance to groan, to be a part of the pantry, to be that which is eaten is surrender to the devour-able. My ghost has a half face of bone. In the yard, palm fronds turn brown. The yard has a half face of sand. The sun is the bright smile of decay. The world is half bleached bone, half dark wet flesh.


My ghost’s art movie gives me some time before it kills me, so I’m not sure exactly where I’ll be when I die. I think I’ll be at the beach. That’d be a nice place to die. At some point I’ll think, I haven’t seen the ocean in a while and I’ll get in the car and go. Night or day. This scene is characterized by long roads into dark interiors. This scene is the course of a river fighting against inward turning, to get back to the water. I will die at the beach where all my poems will meet me and beat me to death with pieces of drift wood and rubber truncheons. I love you loneliness, ghost, you are a hard blow to the head. I love you solitude, a sea shell on a mountain top.
A child waiting.