De Terre

The birds (of paradise) are chittering
which seems insufficient
for a poem, because it does not match
the intensity—or is it pain?—

I feel and want to strike out with
like a pack of Diamond matches
or a baseball bat, waived
before the curve or fastball

pitch of history, and insufficient
also because I don’t know the names
of the birds to call their bluff
of meaning with my own.

But I am wrong.
They are more than enough.
They might in fact be too much.
Like some green or mauve

swath laid down on a canvas
that would devastate me
if I were as light
as I would be if I had eyes

and yet no life. This poem
is like a watercolor day/date
spread open on the sky’s table
like a diamond encrusted

skillset, skull, or skivvies, words
on display, legs lasered, the latest
like the New York World Trade’s
Fair in 1939, long awaited, is sense

necessary, as long as there’s
latex and leather, weather, windex
to wear, as long as there’s a voice
in the diamond encrusted

hills of thunder saying I and you
while we wait on hold with beauty
and are transferred to loss
who redirects us to surprise and elation

as a bus shifts by with all colored kinds
of thirsty flowers, though it’s much
on hold, no face time, and little voice,
and when we speak to people

or purple, or pillows,
they mostly seem to imitate
the pliant, pallid pallets
we would be speaking to

if we had reached the people,
or the paisley parsley, that once lived here,
in this cloud encrusted garden,
if we had reached the phone

with our swim fins half-intact—
matte board, bleached coral, broken spoke—
calling as we are
from our compromised positions

third to last row of the Greyhound.
Things keep floating up
and there’s no appropriate person
to tell, so silence descends

like diamond encrusted dust
over our mouths and over the storied
pines, whose spires the churches
have been ripping off for years

in their Grand Ole Opry conspiracy
to take us nowhere first-class
and now we have officially arrived
scientists say, and the birds in the void

where the spires once were—forgive me
for this long detour of, or out of,
meaning—pig iron, fig leaf, Farrah Fawcett—
are chittering, which seems

sufficient for a pomme.

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