Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jaswinder Bolina


The telephone poles lashed and strobed by an electrical storm

in the bus window, we must’ve been halfway through Uptown

when you clutched at my poncho and said, Bill,

are you seeing how this deluge of photons overwhelms

the tiny cockpit of the eyeball! In this hullabaloo of thunder!

In the damp overthrow of April! You said, And think

how the plains crumple into a pageant of hills

at the feet of our mountains and of our noble woods

with their shotgun shoulders and the labyrinthine city in which

our punk-haired rosebushes are a berserk argument between

the trees and hydrants! You said, Isn’t it all such a wingding!

But I said, In our chintzy country? I said. Here we’re insipid,

eager only for diversions and chic habiliments. I said, We’re daft

and out-of-proportion, vain and cussing each other in traffic

as if the ego is something more substantial than a pesky infection

of the corpus, as if the corpus isn’t only downing its espresso

and everything bagel with cream cheese en route to the office

park of nonexistence. It’s commuting, at least, out of the palace

of our best efforts! you said. You said, At least look how bonny

I am in this skirt the color of a hatchet wound blooming!

You said, Look how the telephone lines droop and festoon

all our avenues, how the rain paratroops totally reckless

out of the cloud! See how it has no religion? How nothing

deters it? But I said, We’re more like the gutter spouts

or drainage grates or the steam rising from asphalt

like end credits after the squall. So, you said, Here’s a rope,

you dolt. Go climb a tree. I knew then I’d deflated you brutishly.

I said, O, please, forgive me! I said, Here’s a bouquet

made of moths ruddied by stoplights, o please forgive me!

Here’s the jamboree of a crosswalk, if you’ll only forgive me!

I said, Here’s the sound like ovation the rain makes on rooftops,

won’t you forgive me? But you didn’t forgive me, cratered

as you were in a rut of futility, so I felt futile too, the steel cranes

unmoving over their worksites, under a serious voltage.

I said, Ain’t this a shame? You said, Ain’t that the way?

And we felt more grown up then than we’d felt before,

more sober and American than we’d ever been before, motoring

along the steep crag of the curbside, a fracture of rivulets

garbling the windows, and I said, Honestly, Amelia,

what is it all these chipper tourists come photographing?


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