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   m i d l a n d:    o r    t h e    c o l l e g e    o f    n e g l e c t e d    s c i e n c e

--- S T A N D A R D   S C H A E F E R

						(for Uncle Bob, Evan Calbi, and all)

support our troops and pawn their paychecks, hats optional shoes forbidden though on occasion a particular pair of waders through the quest and the question that were not, as Bob put it, in hand, just doves berserk in the compass, avuncular forms of lust, and a flirtatious hostility to remind us history was only a colon to nature despite the tedious shift of the needle from bramble to ash the peculiar slope of dignity diverging from spikes in the crime index, and a hemorrhaged clarity

two out of three ever waltz out that caldera, and the last out is a big tarantula crawling across the angel food, up Cerro Gordo to Bob’s bestiary of any opening any day it was no use, still too close to Camp Pendelton or Amalfi Drive memoirs of a critic turning over in the shore like a shoulder of ruined foam until the whole continent seemed less horse-like and more phatic— taking sides against the topsoil in Bolivia or just a few years left of gas the soft, but firm reactors over San Onofree insisting no one can escape the long worm of the lawn, as if the dirt hadn’t already grown up around the music— on Red Hill there is nothing is above the music—the rest of the week, dank serious pedestrians walking their coins, maybe five divorcés team up to dance or discuss the well-mannered illusion of technique in which shots don’t exactly “ring” and the wind in the willows plays nothing particular and nothing if not partial to a lady who looks best purring thickly beneath the freeway about her love of pork chops, the beard her finest piece of jewelry, something to be proud of out here where eighty-eight percent can’t afford the median home, she would tells us don’t move, but don’t peek and no one did. I never once saw the lights had gone out or the extreme tides in which words suddenly seemed to work: a lone wolf was a lonely wolf, but upward the wand forward with the whiskey or not, never an outsider always a reject from the project of fragrance and proving things other than sixty-four cigarettes into a novel sixty-four pages until maybe sixty-four years of age, abrupt as Pomona or the satin whip of ellipsis, eclipse, elision after which you were gone, I returned the lake to its bowl to reflect—your project was rejection itself, each day the little closet over the city that was nothing but a big ole broken nose, and the ranch dressing was a tribute to half-time itself, now it is all half-time, heat activated, if three times a week once around the block the beagle and I share the same bad knee and a plum each morning for our health, the rest of the day sleeping off the smoky red dress, and though I owned neither the helmet nor the breast plate for the occasion, I did love those debaucheries even if fabricated to keep one of us, at least, from being lonely at least then we knew why we were here—we were earthquake bait— about the best you could say was it was all worthwhile, though only for a while and only while it was—not much of a Vienna, but one hell of a Pompey.

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published in association with the |
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