to believe is to please what most you
love, swimming on surface tension, hearing
strains of an old song. fireflies describe
its leisurely punctuation--slow wings, low
flight, flickering. meaning darkness, believable
onyx night in which beloved qualms walk
into a cascade. of what? no one remembers,
but many have known roman numerals in black
ink on pink paper. i believe i see them. i make
them convincingly cascade as if they were
tiny dark droplets, enough to make . . .
i forget. but i believe i'm here
with the beloved, serendipitously. a certain
amount of cataclysm is expected each

instant. this elevator, for example. your right,
my left. what's not to believe? if that's the only
flaw, maybe i'll change my mind, steadily
climbing higher until land morphs into map,
flapping birds become street names. zoom out,
zoom in. it's the same catastrophic universe
in which to believe is to please. zoom
closer. one tiny shoe--puma brand--sits
on a ledge under a window. what happened?
the only thing i can remember is a smooth-taking
carnival barker magnetizing all the ducks
in a row, pleasing no one. any belief will do, but
every now and then perfidy returns with its pleasant
molecules, and the baby just has to wait.

* * * * * * *

scattering dust is good practice. like
bouncing voices off the floor and out
the window into the fog. i suspect the future
of withholding evidence. if i wait
long enough, dust will find an upward drift
and encounter fewer obstacles. through the open
window, tomatoes ripen on a stone, machines
arrive to paint a rainbow. see the colours? they
are the children who sing the same nursery
rhymes five hundred years later, fluttering
their coded soundwaves into history. something
has come to pass that never was before, maybe
the hum of the fridge, more constant
than air, more peaks and troughs than drops
in a monsoon. catastrophic, it bears no ill. no

slippage, no tears, no savage sky. it captures
what it came to capture and fritters
into the future along with the rush of traffic.
as never before, i believe the moon is made
of glass, as solid as the animal whose name
i can't remember. but breakable. i sprang
from scorched earth and started walking
until i heard voices from windows.
it's humbling to realize that most of the time
 i spend waiting for myself to carry
objects to another time, another place,
and then to be bled as if it were a cure
for the recurrence of the feeling of nothing
left to do but scatter dust, just in case.

* * * * * * *

welcome home. that was a lie. a well-worn path
leads through these floodgates. you can't stop running
now, but at least you know you're on a track,
as opposed to dangling over an escape hatch
unaware that your character could slip away at any
moment. you understand your origins in snake oil. more
lies. your alter zombie in a tape loop brings
flowers to your ramshackle home, hears
falsehoods and mirrors them. and who'd want
to stop the propaganda? under the skin, it maintains
the rhythm of chaos. therein dwells a queen,
in quarantine for the remainder of her life,
a singularity unable to see the plaguy rats underfoot
or to stop running in place. lies! she mutters. lies

and roots and voyages to more and more convincing
dreams. and the music, she thinks, the discordant
clusters stoked by basso continuo speak to dithering
along a shoreline. there, she sees the ship on which
she's to arrive but never does. she's trapped herself
in the wrong artificial music, so long has she listened
to the spinning of her scribes. which is to say,
lies of self-sameness totally absorbed in their own
carnival. the queen melts as her image watches.
be sure, says the fading queen, to linger around
the battlefield, save the scraps after the clashes. then
she's gone. welcome home. lingering is impossible. dust
settles on deceit as you put your shoes on in the morning,
start to walk, open your mouth to speak.

* * * * * * *

a familiar zero in the dark: abandon sails
and gaze into other waters, maybe
a puddle to scale on which personhood
embarks, tooling along geometry's grainy
surface, again jumping ship, body weight
swimming regrets, whispering into an empty
mood beneath a washed cloud mapped
from an island so long ago. cloud, crowd, where
have i been? all around the seashore and skimming
the smooth sea floor, half winged, half drunk,
sloughing off frills soon covered with sand, listening
to songs of rotting leaves, the spread feast
hazy in remembrance but confidently
made up until convinced of the way things really

were and might still be, a whole forest of rain,
jubilant for lack of a more melancholic
strategy. why some things are just not
possible, and if we knew it we would under-
stand why we weren't given to know. and
always there's music, foolish arias, bloodthirsty
animals dressed as humans in ballet shoes,
sennets announcing churning chaos.
bedevilment or so it seems in my stunted
mood, needle skipping on a broken record,
redundancies waving like dizzying banners,
echoing oboes playing the saddest riffs, even
when the melodies gather into clusters of grapes,
even when comforting memories surface, like
holiday secrets, little jokes of childhood,
fluid things funneling counterclockwise.

    Camille Martin 2009