Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cati Porter

Not Knowing Where This May Lead, Blue Horse Lets Them in

1. Blue Horse believes:

The method of travel is not
as important as the departure,

Paper-white and less motion. A flip
sheet and implement to write it
up; to write it

all down. A headless torso,
a bodiless letter that is
all header

and footer and no meat between.
What meets between is a plank
to walk,

a whitewash, a clean plate upon
which to make your mark.
The arc that

swims up is the heart-mote, the cart
that pushes the horse, the buggy
that carries

what is pulled
out of the wreck--

1. Blue Horse begins:

Here the cart arrives before the horse
who’s a’carrot-waiting.

A girl in a checked fedora
drives it away.

The stars prick her eyes out
so that she may see.

The light that blinds is the headlight
of a passing thought.

The carriage is returning. The passage
is a thruway,

a flimsy shim stuffed
between the ‘whether’.

Do not seek out
a thread that tethers;

a filament that glows
is not the bulb, not the porch light.

Blue Horse keys in,
She may be getting somewhere.

3. Blue Horse tips his chair back, slurps jello with stiff hooves, then inputs:

Black, and the partition rakes the distance clean.

The river she is now crossing is a bridge...
She skims the slick rocks...
...each eddy
an ad
for a new and improved.
Slip along,

Blue Horse, on all fours, snout to the wind, whistles.

1. Blue Horse contemplates the unfolding scene:

The field flickers in a weathered way...
The panhandler is snipping the daisies...
The rain barrel holds none other than...
Spoon the numb mouths with cream...
Tongue the crevasses and lick out the seams...
Flame the corsets for binding us all...
Shame on the seamstress for letting us out... for letting us doubt...
Here is where the girl in the checked fedora tips her hat...

5. The Girl in the Checked Fedora

tips her hand,
fumbles center page.

The trumpets howl and the trombones sob;
the clarinet stings. The pervasive percussionists drag the beat into the adjoining room

where it is dressed as an exotic bird thrumming its beak against
a hollow clavicle.

The nails pull themselves across the board
and the room expands. The boards flap open like a bud
unbuttoning. Blossoming, the couch unstuffs, the polyester
fiber fill floats, prickly little clouds.

Hell is the way her mother used to make her wear
stilettos to church,
her Sunday skirts scented with
bacon and cigarettes.

The Girl in the Checked Fedora pulls up a chair, winces, writes:

I am writing to you on this fine Thursday afternoon...

6. The Girl is Writing on This Fine Thursday Afternoon

The Girl chews the end of her pen, pulls out a fresh sheet, then begins:

Dear Possum,

You misheard me right, my dear.
The aquamarine splash in the glass as you shake it to your lips
The jiggly yolk centered in its diaphanous pool
The green bubble on the level that roils as you sway:
Nothing stays on the sill for long. But
have you ever not
left the table wondering how you were
going to manage all of that heavy lifting?

How you were going to prop the weighted door
with your heart,
and how that might hurt?
But that is how the door stays open.

With your heart in the jamb while you push your way through.
Are you going out or in.
It can only hold the door for a small while.
Slowly the while is whittled.
The wind whips the door shut and you are on the looking side.
And the table is alone and holding your breakfast.
And the chair is pulled; the cushion, warm.
The house has been gone a long time.

But that is how the door stays open.


The Girl in the Checked Fedora holds it to the light, reads it aloud, nods: “Yes.”

7. Possum responds:

Dear “Girl...”:

Received your letter. I respectfully disagree. Let us meet for tea.



The Girl in the Checked Fedora reads the reply to the light; nods, “Yes.”
An argument ensues

(though none could agree about what they were arguing).

Blue Horse, frustrated, interjects:

Dear Possum, Dear Girl in the Checked Fedora, let us not quarrel. Must I write you
out of the script?

“But Horse, I am right and Possum is wrong.”

“But Horse, I am right and Girl is wrong.”

But we are all right, and we are all wrong. There is no argument.

“But Horse, Possum doesn’t believe me when I say
that the pudding is done, and the pears are in the cellar.”

“But Horse, Girl doesn’t believe me when I say
that I have no interest in pudding or pears in the cellar,
nor selling her wares.”

“But we must or the pudding will ripen, the pears will
grow up and turn on us like leaves.”

“But none of that matters, Girl.
The End is coming. No pudding nor pears will save us.”

Dear Possum, Dear Girl, you leave me no choice....

8. Possum and Girl Meet Secretly for Tea (Sh!)

Girl (whispering): We must do something about Blue Horse.
Possum (flustered): I have no idea what you mean, Girl.

Blue has forgotten whose story he is in.
Whose story is he in?

Why, ours, silly!

Yes. Forgive me, but I was sure we were in his.

That is what he wants us to believe. But I know better.
How is it that he is in our story and we not in his?

Remember before he sat down at his typewriter...
Yes, I do remember before...

Well, then. What was he doing?
He was watching us through the window. We were playing Parchisi.


... (gleefully): !
What do you propose we do? And why does it matter anyway?

WHY does it matter?
Yes, why.

Yes, why. The end is nigh. The end is night. Nicht.

(Tick-tock Tick-tock.)

Blue Horse writes:

The Girl in the Checked Fedora writes, The Girl in the Checked Fedora writes, “The girl in the Checked Fedora writes...”
Blue Horse thinks:

The departure is not as important
as the method of travel

a raveling of the room into a field
of poppies disclosing a destination.

The Girl in the Checked Fedora rises from the desk, and, smiling, opens wide the door.

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