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Disintegration Loop 1.1

In seeking to resolve a conflict
between two parties
one can assume
each believes it is acting
in good faith
just as the hopeful
gravel waits for your rough step

The only way to be truly alone
is for there to be nothing
not even myself

In looping you rephrase after listening
to what the person has to say
what the person had to say
and having the new words affirmed
you wait and listen again

Myself the eager magnet
for another to address

Maybe I should think this a spiral
a loop that gets closer
a loop that will not close

To make nothing
draw a circle
around what isn’t there

I found a note I left in the corner
of a part of the poem we rarely used
If you ever feel trapped
it said
this is where to escape

But legally I owe you nothing
I owe you at least that much

Like being haunted by the spirit of the letter

I remember my teacher’s story
of two teenagers who died in a storm
trying to stay warm
and the tailpipe
blocked with snow
so I always check
but it still happens
just yesterday
a man’s young son in what the paper
called one awful story

The light switch has a beautiful feeling
when a person reaches out to make it change
and the warm quadrangles of sun
on the carpet are beautiful too
and red berries on the gray bush
and the mail as long as it lasts
and beauty is what beauty does to you

Like trying to say a seagull
inscribing a circle
over what land
the day has thought
to provide

to enter into agreement with yourself
to lie but only out of love
for the verblessness of buildings
They do not rise except once
and then nothing
how being is nothing
and if there were a word after
it would be a slow decay

I will love across any distance
you think this has made to occur

Nothing so ruthless as a life

The day hangs low overhead
and soon enough the new grass will emerge
through the gravel
They have big plans to meet
in the middle
and in so doing
to phase all this out

I go on
 say enough and it will blur
off into sound
look up and see that night
has nearly settled in and darkness
and hope that if I look into it
long enough and keep my mouth
when I look down again I’ll find
a settled word
to which nothing
is attached

Re: the day
someone said
what doesn’t kill you makes it longer

It’s like footsteps toward you
that sound for all the world like
they forever move away

I keep forgetting I’m the smoke
not the camera
Then I see my dark
joining sky to what’s below

Like watching someone
from across a river
on such a clear day
that you can see her teeth
and at such
a distance
that you can’t hear the sound
so while you know
it must be screaming
it is possible
to imagine her faraway mouth
which you can see but not save
has opened—is open—to sing

After the collapse and before
the dust settles
the darkness billows
and grows
like it’s describing
itself to the sky
this it says
this and much bigger
but the sky
in its sorrow
has had to turn away

to expect praise for the beautiful apology

to imagine something other than again

Whether it is falling
from a ship
or plane or a building
the human body falls
at roughly one rate

The book said legally
thought the captain
of the slave ship Zong
to throw the people overboard
instead of letting them starve
would insure compensation
for his loss

And another has made
the words to decay
until what remains
loss loss

When I go to the video
it is paused close to darkness
the place
where I had last stopped
and as I drag the cursor backwards
so it can start again
I’m reversing
into morning what was night

The three buildings in the corner
begin a hypotenuse
the dark clouds

The subsection of sympathy cards
labeled words fail me
on which we pen
sorry for your loss

The lights that come on last—
what were they resisting?
Or do they not notice
as sometimes can happen
while the hours carry in
the new-fallen dark

They say we have fallen
a long way
to the cold and
planetary light

They say the bomb is a flower

A body falls much faster
than the night

You will forgive me won’t you
for the lines
I’m copying in
I do not want to be alone here
despite what I have said

And I have forgotten
to mention the music
though it has this whole time
been mentioning me
I will say it is the sound of a clock
which has had all of its hours removed

endless the smoke cloud
the blooming

The screen is dark enough now
that it can perfectly reflect
the facing window
a corner of morning

And some of the lights
they tremble
trying to decide
whether they can go on

Lights like pronouns for the buildings

to remove to go through to withdraw
to slowly walk into another room

What is legally an hour?
The time it takes the king
to fall asleep
the melting
of a candle in the snow

Hour like a jar in Tennessee

And yes I am afraid
to be with minutes
They have completely confused me

The buildings are a sort
of interference
how they stand
and complicate the sky
but nothing interferes
with the hour
it is
as they say
a law
unto itself

Maybe I should say that
I am sitting
in a room
different from
the one you are in now
and I am sitting at a distance
from the screen
so that the hour
goes on
and there is nothing
that I can undo

Every morning the diminishing returns

And now the smoke echoes the roundness
of the one building with a dome
the smoke in love and unable
to do anything more than repeat
the words of another
so after I would sooner be dead
than let you touch me
it cries hopeless
touch me
touch me
and then even that sound
that shape
drifts away

If I could get closer I could see
the river
reflecting back
the buildings’ light
but I am placed here
at this fixed distance
and the lights are fixed there
in the permanently imminent night

I know there are other cities
other hours
where you can watch the lights
copying themselves
all neoned and strobe-hearted

I know all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the way to dusky death

Today the reflected window
seems stupid
and too bright
replacing smoke with the pale sky
and the tree
its bare branches
a cracking explosion
no eye could resist

to justify desires with omens

to walk away before the morning ends

I’m counting my life
I’m counting the buildings
one one two

If you are in the center it means
every edge you can imagine
is the very same distance away

If this is my home
If this is my screen
If these are my books
imagined companions

This is the city
I can describe it
with power
an electricity
forced into light

Award-winning poet of 'The Trees The Trees'. Author of 'The Crying Book'. Published in The New Yorker, Poetry, & more. Former fellow at Emory.