Shall I move the flowers again?
by Jorie Graham
Shall I put them further to the left
into the light?
Win that fix it, will that arrange the
Faint cricket in the dried-out bush.
As I approach, my footfall in the leaves
drowns out the cricket-chirping I was
coming close to hear
Yellow sky with black leaves rearranging it.
Wind rearranging the black leaves in it.
But anyway I am indoors, of course, and this is a pane, here,
and I have arranged the flowers for you
again. Have taken the dead cordless ones, the yellow bits past apogee,
the faded cloth, the pollen-free abandoned marriage-hymn
back out, leaving the few crisp blooms to swagger, winglets, limpid
Shall I arrange these few remaining flowers?
Shall I rearrange these gossamer efficiencies?
Please don't touch me with your skin.
Please let the thing evaporate.
Please tell me clearly what it is.
The party is so loud downstairs, bristling with souvenirs.
It's a philosophy of life, of course,
drinks fluorescent, whips of syntax in the air
above the heads -- how small they seem from here,
the bobbing universal heads, stuffing the void with eloquence,
and also tiny merciless darts
of truth. It's pulled on tight, the air they breathe and rip.
It's like a prize the way it's stretched on tight
over the voices, keeping them intermingling, forcing the breaths to
cunning little hermeneutic cupola,
dome of occasion in which the thoughts re-
group, the footprints stall and gnaw in tiny ruts,
the napkins wave, are waved , the honeycombing
thoughts are felt to dialogue, a form of self-
congratulation, no?, or is it suffering? I'm a bit
dizzy up here rearranging things,
they will come up here soon, and need a setting for their fears,
and loves, an architecture for their evolutionary
morphic needs -- what will they need if I don't make the place? --
what will they know to miss?, what cry out for, what feel the bitter
for? A bit dizzy from the altitude of everlastingness,
the tireless altitudes of the created place,
in which to make a life -- a liberty -- the hollow, fetishized, and starry
a bit gossamer with dream, a vortex of evaporations,
oh little dream, invisible city, invisible hill
I make here on the upper floors for you --
down there, where you are entertained, where you are passing
time, there's glass and moss on air,
there's the feeling of being numerous, mouths submitting to air, lips
and dreams of sense, tongues, hinges, forceps clicking
in anticipation ofas if the moment, freeze-burned by accuracies--of
could be thawed open into life again
by gladnesses, by rectitude -- no, no -- by the sinewy efforts at
sincerity -- can't you feel it gliding round you,
mutating, yielding the effort-filled phrases of your talk to air,
compounding, stemming them, honeying-open the sheerest
the rightness seems to root, in the air, in the compact indoor sky,
and the rest, all round, feels like desert, falls away,
and you have the sensation of muscular timeliness,and you feel the calligraphic in you reach out like a soul
into the midst of others, in conversation,
gloved by desire, into the tiny carnage
of opinionsSo dizzy. Life buzzing beneath me
though my feeling says the hive is gone, queen gone,
the continuum continuing beneath, busy, earnest, in con-
versation. Shall I prepare. Shall I put this further
to the left, shall I move the light, the point-of-view, the shades are
drawn, to cast a glow resembling disappearance, slightly red,
will that fix it, will that make clear the task, the trellised ongoingness
and all these tiny purposes, these parables, this marketplace
of tightening truths?
Oh knit me that am crumpled dust,
the heap is all dispersed. Knit me that am. Say therefore. Say
philosophy and mean by that the pane.
Let us look out again. The yellow sky.
With black leaves rearranging it