Surrender Not Peace/ Young Man Standing beside

Empty Chair with Kepi and Worn Boots, ca. 1865 [1]

 

Your belly hardens. And then. Softens. Putrefies. Blood-gilt.

Shuck. Strip.               Become. Discharge. Pardon.   Pardon?

Sunburnt. Is she child or woman? Fancy. Forfeit. You ask. Again?

 

 

Seed. Reach or languish. Decay. Forage. Trade. You. Crease-

patterned. Across. Across. Your. Your opaline brow. One who.

One. Not two. Dance in the. Empty streets. Heather high.

Hollow. Set aside.       Piled.

 

 

Bearded. Or beardless? Vacant. Victorian tussock-ruffed

chair. Leather boots. Kepi. Busted. You don't. You’d prefer.

Preferred. Brother. Brothered? No longer. You left. Him. There.

But not. Alone.           Lone.

 

Carte   de        visite: 

 

(Albumen silver          print.) Alongside. The many. Beside. Side.

By side. Batched. Gold braided. Trenched. Tattered. Shovel

stench limed. Half rotted. Some          eyed. Some      yawned.

Some

 

 

Nearly. Stripped. Shoeless. Sockless. Your rations. His. Yours.

Picked. Clean. But not. Not. An ending. Day/ time. Inconsolable.

Cast.    Standpoint.     Angle. Stance. Cessate.           Not tender/

bellicose.        

 

 

Drum scape.    Spry flare. Flame roll. And mock. Flash wake.

Trifling wonder. Hare and chase.  Slam burlesque. Sunk.

Bottomless stupor. Boondockery. Sham. But solemn. Gay. Camp.

Gaiety. Of. Last. Encampment.

 

 

Enchantment. Past      doom. Past      drill. Past parade. Past

union.  Fiddle. Patch. Filch. Meat.  Mete. Chicken wrung. Some

citizen’s          blunt. Spark up          the poplars.     Lamentable.

White picket.              Front porch. Yard. Cripple fence.

 

Black husk. Old Crow. Margin. Drift. Glume. North light

candlelight.      Sky.     Home is.  Undoing. You always. Need.

            Examine. For love. For rain.    Brazen.            Effortless.

Endless.           Peace. Sleep.

 

 

Patter. Pour. Hope. Hope.      Hopeful. Utopian. Argue.

Argument. Cause. Drain. Brash. Bandage. Wrap. Sore. Bash.

            Stooged: No damn. Good. Edge to precipice. Forward.

Rear. Drive. Hedge.

 

 

Girdle. Wither. Petition. Lee hands Grant.     His finest. Never.

Never. Tincture of. Blade. Pure romance. Upright. Strip-limbed.

Tobacco fumed. Hard. By trade. Or inclination. Fervor bond

bonded. Bent.

 

 

Bondsmen. And women too. Hood-snap. Steel blind bound.

            Sojourner. Clod. Divot. Split-hoof.  Maggot. Manure.

Dirge. Gorse mat. Blind. Bid. Bid them. Order. Order them.

Abide. Swallow it. Stomach it. Bide.      Bide.

 

 

Take it. Current. Casual. Causal. Catastrophic. Surrender

            not       peace. Unperturbed.   Wedged. Wedged in.

            Below.  Piddle-paddle. Row. Oar. Pull. Punt. Above you.

Like a bear climbs a Pin Cherry tree. Maul. Hot

 

 

Scat. Steam. Road. Behind. Look. Behind. Behind you.         You.

Span. Outskirt. Province. Purview. Tent. Yard. Shiver stacked

bayonets. Rivulet. Bottom feeder fricassee.  To the top.  Eat.

                        Feed. Gorge. Before. Until. Grass. Weeds.

 

 

Mud ooze. Shit. Hunger. Chaff. Your belly   bloats. Hardens.

Softens.           Lustrate squab and hummock. White. Black.

Mulatto. Quadroon.  Blue blood. Patrician. Lace curtain silk

stocking           insurgency.                  Subdued.

 

 

Swell. Itch.      Alive with. Knee deep in.       Bygones.

Occupations. Coercions. Military law. Race as in race war. Post.

Post-Appomattox. Post-Charleston. Post-Roanoke.  Post-gunned

down. Down on live TV.        Obscure

 

Church shooter. Vengeance. Plunge. Plummet. GoPro twitter

tattle    automatic feed.  You’ll know. Know if you’re          hit.

Hit.      Governance by Glock. Magazines. Rounds. Justice by

alias. By social. Media. Reportage.    Revenge.

 

 

Retribution. Hollow point.     You mind. Streaming. Video

spasm. Content may. Stream to the Bay: you watch them. Paired

sailing sailed sail high away.               You watch coupling

eagles              swear their.     Glide. Mated. Spray scrub

 

 

Airtight zip-tie post-service    church basement         secession

sesquicentennial supper. Nothing squandered hot or cold.

Nothing wasted crumb or scrap. All-in. Used Up. Face it. Taste

it. What is the.            Shelf life of.    

 

 

Grudge. Savor it. Hold it in your mouth.         Blown. Grave

blossom O be joyful/ blown away. Will or capacity. To fight.

             Scalawag. Sap. Sapped.

Sapper/ smash. Not lost. Lifeless. Yet.          Unforgotten.

 

 

 

 

And Other Things Besides

 

They’re never the same lounging        the lane           black

and gold bellied           rat-swoll bush drape   poke-

lick sun savor bask the slate terrace hid in the crick rubbish

             rusted-out washers and tires and

piles of busted tools harmless warmth

suckers coil plumb sashay up and                  flicker

nicknamed for local personalities

radio hosts balding TV weathermen   or just on general

attitude easy-six-footer-slide-up-rough

rake-the-flue    bust-out-the-shrubbery slam-into-the-

driver’s-side-door       you’d have thought     to death

but       nope

sidle-off-nonchalant-as-a-skunk-after-a-spray          

did I imagine it? sinuate muscle           non-associative

behavior          according to the nonplussed

farm agent       city friends with their pretty new

baby walk the trace directly into        big-fella-munch-

one-whole-while-the-other-unfledged-cheeps-its-cleft-shell

peek-gulp-right-quick-from-born-to-dead      park my

butt on the brick crumble snowmelt               stoop  

nurse an extra-hot coffee          urge me up hard

but       slow go easy don’t argue        slip back hand

            on my shoulder draw me up inside one hand in

my hand the other square-aim-spade-yellow-tail-baby

copperhead-flung-airborne tinny        bang               free     

 

                                    ______

 

Reticent                 they are

thinly venomous         lickety-flick fork tongue

            heat-seeking

 

                                    ______

 

                        Uneducated     we were

and frightened of alien             somethings      and other

                        other things                 besides

 

 

 

 

Lineman (Tap The Pure Blue)

 

If you could    see       the spiral arc bound

            circumferential current            trunk  flung

 

cable slung shoulder    sluice a shudder

            quick the arm bone blow         the hand

                        clean    off       -         

 

            tap       the pure           blue

 

If you could see him stuck where he stands

            paralyzed high up the easement    platform

magnetic field’s           captive            the hand his     hand  

 

at large          fallen to earth     as what?  electricity  

must flow through ions in the body              right? 

 

            bolt      gantry            crossarm         clutch

 

If you could    see extremity as covert weapon as

            voltage             quiver a spark/ a surge through

& through him if you could    

 

observe him from a distance   spot the child-

            size yellow tinsel wings fly past/ bank the leased

land come in (take hold of him discharge &    release him)

 

            low & let go a dusty riverside pesticidal        stream

            (steady he mouths the word to himself  steady)

 

If you could see          the stub sear tout-de-suit/ hear

            the engine brawl/ recall            a dream he once

                        dreamed                      

 

If you could picture    him in his little boy’s reverie

            come true/ chimeric/ a crippling trance

atop a tower/ a hooked stump prosthetic       conjure/

 

a prognostication/ see an unplanned pirate  fall         

                        to land/ push   a janitor’s broom

                                                with just one               hand

 

 

 

[1] Photography and the American Civil War, Jeff L. Rosenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

New York, New York, distributed by The Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2013.