Was to have been. Some moon or other shines on (shines on?) vertical
shirtboxes in a ring, with a croquet carton laid on top of two, another,
strong enough to cast their shadow on close-mown grass. Manifold gnomon.
(Don Quixote watches over his armor, vigil, in some other place, not
necessarily the same night.) Every bush is a bear, but there are no bushes.
Dante is under earth's coverlet, not quilt, not counterpane. In Poictesme
a doctor can almost see to write, lists and lists. His bottle is ink, any
dark color, all ink the same, brass lamp like a Florentine slipper unlit.
Wind elsewhere makes rivers in grain paler than grass, a young apothecary
dreaming of these, inventing Autumn. Cute bears with angel wings
are stone or terracotta, simplified to unfamiliarity, complexified. Salmon,
tuna, SARDINES sleep in tins, Humphrey in a bed in Chateauneuf.
As in Portland winter the grass can stay the same length for months, so here.
Nothing need be where it is, except by courtesy the unArabian moon, sessile
as volvox in equinox. Lakes secrete lucite around sleeping swans, trapping them.
Few stars, or none, do hang. One ghost, pale as a sardine on black bread,
cream cheese on rye, frightens the statue (terracotta? stone?) of a poacher.
An Ethiopian in striped caftan dreams of felidae, near him a stone lute unstrung
A princeling lies with his loved one, suckets under their tongues undissolved.
Buttresses of the back parts of churches dissipate heat, twixt Minolta and Minox.
The man in the bushes (blackened bronze?) rests his head on a crossbow painted black.
Canids notable for their absence wish they were luminous. One sculpture on brick paving
is just footprints. In another place a toothpick windmill has been burned, badger
holes and cellar holes dark as molasses cookies' thumbprint jam, the hollow in
a quilt behind the knee, civil sculpture likewise androgynous (Joan of Arc? Robert E. Lee?)
The named unnames itself, as in Scaliger's verse. Henry VIII's jester, whose
name we know, also sleeps, in poems Eliza, Chloe, Julia, Vanessa, Ann, Stella.
If the shadows are longer under the cardboard boxes, it doesn't mean time, happening, occurs.
Some moon shines on some boxes as if on found sculpture by a river off the Danube
with a name like elbow. If there were trees (a copse?) they'd cast a shadow like
a hatbrim, like a shadow of a shade or the brow-ridge of a mandrill, Gibraltesque.
Robert Bums sleeps in a ditch, Hugh MacDiarmid imagining he dreams he dreams, each
less himself than courtly horizontals vectoring toward a spindle, our shirtboxes (nightshirts?)
alone seeming sentient, perhaps from their arrangement. Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric sleep.
A Universal Yawn left over from the Dunciad arrests itself in stone, perhaps basalt.
Urns left overnight on broken earth, not yet written about, shine dully, seem pale.
That's how I would do it now. Not how I'm going to.
Copyright Gerald Burns 1995-1997