Small Classes Are Surreal

Quiet: there is no one here but me.

The professor is commenting on a Bishop poem. He talks about dreams and what it means to enter the spiritual realm. A man transforms into a dolphin – who is already him – his hair smells like the lake. The rain has stopped but it will begin again. Students are graduating in a white tent on the field. A beeping outside: even that, peaceful. I follow The Path and it leads me home. (Still here, in class.) My glasses are half dark. Should I be taking notes? I watch the ceremony from my mind. The graduates walk up a staircase and disappear into the lake.

“It’s weird how easily you can be replaced.”

The whole class makes one cento.

 

—June 15, 2017

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Lie #1

I can’t walk bare feet in the junkyard because all the metal will cut me and then I’ll have to worry about infections – it’s never the initial cause that kills you always the infection – at least from what my mom tells me, she’s a doctor.  All I do in the junkyard is kick around so I definitely would get cut if I was bare foot. I stepped on glass once. Or it was my cousin who stepped on glass and I watched as she stood there with her heel lifted, her blood already pooling on the gravel. Stepping on different textures is supposed to stimulate your brain. There is this park with a special path made out of smooth stones just for stepping. I never finished the path because my feet always hurt after a few steps. My mom says my skin is still too soft. Freud says the skin is the bodily ego. They are both doctors. And I think that’s really funny the thing with doctors and skin because I’m in a hospital bed right now surrounded by doctors and none of them are telling me to put on my shoes and I’m beginning to wish they would because my feet are getting cold. My feet are getting so cold.

Nov. 2

The apocalypse comes to mind. In the subway heading to the turnstiles. I can’t move my left arm because it’s wrapped in plastic. New tattoo. Half sleeve. I’m getting up and I’m suddenly conscious about my posture. “How fresh is that?” “Last night.” Everyone is looking / time to bring both fists down / and you don’t keep your word. Is it because you don’t remember or because you don’t care. The joke’s on me because there is no difference. I learned about priorities and how every act is deliberate and now I can see through everything. Including myself. I’m not even here. Someone recalls something I said on the first day of class. A reminder: senses are stored, memory is picked. Does this make you want to puke? (I’m sitting in The Buttery alone waiting to go meet Walton at JHB.) I want to go home (it’s time to bring both fists down) waiting for M to publish my poem waiting for my copies of MS to arrive in the mail waiting to finish my— I’ll know when it’s done/how will I know when it’s done? Waiting for death waiting to escape it [death]. Waiting for my arm to start itching. Do my tattoos complement each other? I don’t get tattoos I grow new skin! Everyone is busy! What does that mean. Busy I’m busy I’m on my phone and I’m so busy. H8 u anyway.

Oct. 26

The lake was / for the first time in months / a mirror / It was like ice after the first lick / When you take it out of your mouth and put it in your palm / and it’s like you can see right through it / like glass / but there’s only more clear / clear opening to clear / and the sky on its surface / the sun still busy threading light into the clouds / I could see Dali’s elephants / faint in the distance / moving so slowly / I hold this in my heart.

A Poem, I Guess

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I wish I was a black wolf that could turn into mist.

I wish I was running through the woods and into the lake.

I wish I was diving, blue back to blue.

And everyone would poke their heads out and say comeback!

And everyone would be so mad.

And I would run and I would run and I would not understand them anyway.

I would just be a wolf in the woods.

Gone to mist.

Royal Fowl

The golden eagle swoops down and grabs me by its talons and I am the eagle and I am taking a nose dive but I bounce up, right before impact, I bounce up and I soar higher than I’ve ever gone. And this continues—with so much strength the air is sliced open by my beak—diving/bouncing to infinity, like a heart going into frenzy, forever.

 

June 15, 2017

Today is quiet and I feel other lives touching mine—and they are mine, except I can’t reach [the past] them. Books will steal your brain and leave a kaleidoscope in its place. I am restless and angry with myself. I am going to carry binoculars around so I can see what those trees are doing so far out in the lake—looks like it’s going to rain again. [A rabbit! Behind the fence.] We’ll meet on my neighbour’s roof.

—phone notes, June