Movie on a Sunday Afternoon
A stone pretends to understand the cold.
A hedge rattles beside the road.
Elm trees cry all along their shanks as if the bones are loose underneath
From my haversack a dream breaks out plump as apples.
It is not September turning inside out all around me. It is August
heat left over in
end of night and the cold that October sends early and the water
true as omen
rising in the Atlantic, ogres at odds.
The barn shakes all the way
back into its other existence, boards and beams and joists
shudder half way into the new life taking them underground again,
back to the
old stretch, the nesting, the leaf shaken free, the sap frozen under
an inch of
bark, the sizzle in April where the sun is a hot spot and ignition
the dowsing roots and the limb of the highest arc.
Toads move into slowed-down
earth, miners, membrane diggers, sand hogs,
mud suckers, rambling root rooters having left all their warts
for my children’s
Now, under the moon’s paintbrush,
grass shivers and crackles and snaps under
ponderous gleam of cold moonlight as sharp as edges from arrowhead
Where my footsteps
fall across the tender field, heading to where The Bear
the way, grass
answers and so the moon.
I have tracked myself to a childhood altar
shaped into a cliff face by old
everything about the old place. The gods here wore darkness well,
about in hard
cloisters, sang windy Gregorian dirges and airs full of earth
and the reach of fire still seen in pied rock face. All my fears
rooted in this place:
height, well depths, falling free, other
omnipotence, being alone, impotence, graveyards with moving shadows,
engine failure, lapsed insurance, stock market ignorance, pillow
on my face, electricity, love.
It is the season for hurricanes, the old book says. You can read
a page at a time
on the subway or a surface bus or on a slick, oiled, aerodynamically-designed
singular of the caboose. Wind means the Earth is turning faster,
spinning on its old seventeen-degree axis with hardly any worries
of the universe holding it back.
Once I punted a football ninety yards with the roll and Herky Harris
Hercules Haristopolous) ran it back eighty yards before Les Woodbury
from behind, too tired to move on. That prevented another hurricane
from starting out
in the bed of my night and the recall of every singular distinctive
action that has
levered me. That night I dreamed a girl riding on a bicycle with
a boy named Claude
who had curls and Hollywood smiles at the quick draw. I saw him
paw her on the
bike. Oh, Love.
Saugus 7, Peabody 0. Me 1, Dreams 0. Some part of her flesh found
Moonlight tastes salty, marshy, best of bracken, temptation. The
sea is just over the
hill from her couch. Oh, God, the gods attend her touch. Wherever
is white against a
pillow, a breast, a howling outside a thin wall as if the Atlantic
has come home to
roost, roofs at sudden flight, shingles at shrapnel and the night
full of odd artillery pieces, old .76-ers the Germans had, one-five-fives,
eight-inch hunks of Herod at his best. Then the breast draws you
back from other violences besides your heart, leaves you waywarding.
Who remembers a wind with a name and a silhouette and a summoning
with roses. Who remembers your hand and mouth remembering a breast
and a storm and a cry beside the hill. What’s hidden, is.
September shakes like hoboes rising from dreams on old benches and
newspapers, a stolen overcoat, a pizza box for a pillow because
of the remnant
even of deadly anchovies. September
moves on different legs. Runs a race
and at odds with all timekeepers.
Spits out of the Island ways and Cape ways
migratory paths we all think are reserved for the high flights of
blunt as old cigars or smashed cars in New Hampshire fields once
under the plow and now the press of cold steel and aluminum and
failing in the sun and hundreds of rides to heavens and harshly
back to such grass
What I meant to say was, I remember that night and you do not, and
I am alone,
moving on a Sunday afternoon, Celluloid Sam at it again.
Copyright © 2004 Tom Sheehan. ALL
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