How can it be, that when I open my windows, after drawing back my curtains, in order to let in fresh air, I always get trampled on? Why not just let the breeze carry in the smell of the ocean? The dogs are on the seashore again, their legs stuck in the sand like branches. That is why I drew back my curtains, opened my windows, and let the noise of my operation drift out into the night air.
The wind blows, shakes the dead leaves, drifts across oceans, destroys homes and now breaks into a still hot day and refreshes its occupants. There were over 30 people and the few who survived were swimming for three days. Crippled fishing boats nest sleeping, jumbled about the shore.
I was bustling about the house preparing for something when the doorbell rang and there he was, just there grim in his winter coat, oblivious. I saw hundreds of tractor trailers standing in lines across a moonlit lot, singing, the vehicle sticks to the road. You step out onto a black river and walk across the water; it forms in puddles around us. His face felt like a sea shell, curious eyes like little light projectors followed my movements. A wet nose bumps into my hand. Friday, woke up.
We crouch on the shore of the estuary, search among the piles of shells and scuttling crabs for plastic bottles, chunks of foam, bits of rubber or fiberglass. In order to start our fires, in order to repel mosquitoes. The local firelight reflected off the skin, the sound a thick liquid of mangrove insects and currents. Beneath night clouds slumbering cultures build themselves, a man emerges from the darkness and into the light of the fire. Reduce me to an idiot.
It seemed to come down from the sky and it was beautiful, a million ruby feathers and sharp crystal eyes that amplified our sounds of breathing into a pounding surf against the shore of the future. Rain protects us from our lonely networks. Now that we've fallen from the tall buildings I go from city to city. I change my clothes, I tell stories of the ocean and fleets of ships that stood still in the water.
Race cars speed through limitless boundaries burn fuels beautifully crash explode become rusty and fall apart, make their own music as they age and evolve into horns. We never told you to grow up like this, we never intended to be where we are now, we only spent a few dollars but we feel a distinct disappointment. I intend to become the masses and behold the breathtaking effectiveness of our most taken-for-granted structures and most organic mechanisms. Is enthusiasm the ticket?
Dogs smell other dogs, on your legs, the mind draws a blank, the economy rolls. My head tilts forward and I dribble out onto the page thoughtlessly. When a pet dies it can cause a lot of grief for its owner. One should not get scared or avoid eye contact. Take the bag with the merchandise and walk out quickly.
The intrinsic advertisement. If I could rope down a thought in a moment of time it would be like a billboard or a subway poster. Maybe there are good people and bad people. Maybe we move to the rolls of some unexaminable die.
Take the air blowing about gently over the plateau at mid day. Take the stars as they align to the streetlights. Take the indulgence when it presents itself? I wouldn't remember how the words fall into place among the lines. I recover and cast my lure in pursuit of a glorious fish. One person overflows into another, mistakes are made, communication fails.
Behind closed doors rules break and alternate realities emerge. I walk strict circles in pursuit. I overtake stragglers, absorb their energy and continue on. They all remember time at different speeds.
When was it that, emerging from a dim alley, she became white like hot fire and transformed in front of us and followed us home like an animal? We, as the reality, as the functioning experiment, are required to project our wills over digital networks. We, as the functioning reality, cradle picture-boxes like babies. We, humans of the future reject, fail, and become humans of the past. Insects fly in low patterns within the air between and above the plants themselves.
Clouds hang over this spectacle on strings. Planets move in this detailed universe on lips that part and emit laughter. On old eyes that shine a dim light. Maybe when the door opens above the world's lost oceans. The sky is thick with airplanes, a tree shakes in the breeze, a white car is parked on the side of the street. The sidewalks are flowing like rivers.
I was here for this sunrise, let me speak of it in a loud voice. Let me breath out in fire my frustrations. I have used words to describe bridges and their interactions with the water at night. I have drawn highways into sentences. Perhaps I am the vehicle that misses both the target and the scenery along the way. The fathers were right and the fathers were also wrong. Even now the translators fail, to give us what we need, to deliver a message that is not haunted by errors and misunderstandings. The experts brag pathetically from their brilliant prisons, trees take root, pot holes form, surfaces change.
These are the controls, we make ourselves out to be just what we are. It is easy to look on one's footprints and say "Thank god these ailing days are sometimes broken into by episodes of joy." The last seat we took in the front of the theater was a dangerous one. The actors were disintegrating under the spotlights. A wind was blowing, we had to close our eyes and wake up somewhere else. Survival. The vehicle runs on gasoline so some of the people keep moving and the janitors come out to sweep up those left behind.
It's not modern; it's an hourglass. I have been outside where there's nothing but the wind and the water but the air was filled with electronic waves and the islands I came across were completely imaginary.
When we meet at the cash register and I load my purchases onto your conveyor belt I can't bear to look into your shining eyes because they gesticulate in numbers and cash. And because we speak across deserts, or as from one watchtower to another, perpetually our sentences arrive incomplete, obscured in jet air planes that move people from one place to another. And because we speak clinging to the terrain we find ourselves littered upon until from the ground explodes, amphibian, our mutual sensation.
Tommy FitzGibbon recently returned to Brooklyn, New York after a year living and traveling among the Islands of the Bahamas and Hispaniola. Once again among friends he is learning to play the guitar and trying to find the Old Road amidst the joys and horrors of modern America. His poems have appeared previously in Zone.