From The Forever Notes: Excerpts

Ethel Rackin

Out of the forest fires and machinery madness before the clock has dropped
and we've gone home for good for the night to sleep between two things
I marvel on the grey of sky and the walls blown apart from what looks like
a barrage of wind or water: the wallpaper floundering in air like handkerchiefs
all these leaves tied up for some other day like Christmas.

We are flag poles, motes and I crossed one and you crossed and we sat in a circle
made up a partner, told our stories which now seem hard to remember hard candy. Candy
for everyone! Shouted the foreman on the planked platform steeple. I grew up slowly
like this sometimes in nettles between someone else's tea leaves.


Two wishes appeared to me. We waited by a pond. Another boy
stood in the other direction directing traffic or whatever crossed
his lonely mind. The watch of the place was faded and all around
were circles, squares. We had been driving there for hours.

I have called all my sheep home but still you are left waiting
on the landing which now seems too big and gooey, almost as if
written for someone else's apartment.

This is all we get. Misfits. Or two tuba part players where we
always expected to encounter one. And life is drawn out
of the most minute attention to detail. Like farming. Like the
time it takes to get there.


They may be multi-grained and cross-hatched in braided color
or they may be fish eyes that appear muted and dreaming
but forever is a long time especially on the wrong side of the

They are also people possible of betrayal except to me
from a distance little flag lights and something you can take
with you on a picnic or red and white checkered vacation.

Which which is witch and all of that. The time before
and the time after. Transitional play. thing. and cartoon
coasters resting on the long table. We talked things over.
Mulled around the same knob for a while.

For anything in the world I would bet on those racing horses.
Now streaked and sun-struck, now lack luster and
founded. We are reaching over their fence at what they
forgot. The time.

So if after the race everyone has gone home and fries
are smeared like chalk on the parking lot party
I might sit still in all of that swirling sensation and/or
race myself home.


In the cat-bird seat. Swallowing all that was left over and/or dried-
out about summer. Keepers winners losers weepers and all of that.
I still can't sort out which sock belongs to which.
Which is to say try me. If you don't. like it. return. within 30. days.

The long red and brown road of memory tilting slightly sideways. All that
green in the fence. And the ivy covered over. All around there are the tall
narrow shoes of winter and the hope-chests lined up like coffins. A
tall order. To have your eggs in the basket.

I have long since lost the sense or the message of survival. In my pocket
is good enough. It is so slow here. Like a backwards glance at a dead
peach orchard. Have you a partner by the way? It seems the only
way to even pretend to dance.


Shadows cast their light on all of the bugged out and ornery
ornaments left watching. The glass is light and the light straight ahead
says GO! Although the destination is completely out of focus and,
therefore, suspect. It is all I can do to keep from laughing.

Have you noticed the same theme and department store reappearing? The
one around the corner where silent ladeies try on long dresses and
the rats are busy scratching in the corners. Repair men and bicycles.
Drawers and drawers of lottery tickets.

Do come inside if you are able. The leaves in here might be
make-believe appearing lopsided in the fabrics and patterns of
domestica but they are none-the-less leaves for the trying.

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