The Stream

I heard the stream
below and to the left of me,
and it pleased me
to leave it there awhile.
I’ve always had a flair
for the intentional.
Hence: all of this blessed breathing.
Hence: the police I found
by looking behind me
where their bodies went
lazy in the vacant light,
slouched in vague positions
where they waited,
tuning their scanners down
to a gossiped static
among the luminous rabbits
and tiny hits of moon
shot across the moth-clouds.
I felt rich again
when I tried to remember
every dollar I ever spent.
I felt good
about leaving fingerprints
where the beech trees stopped
right over the bank,
their tentacle roots
exposed and suspended
by the drift and wash
of every idyllic afternoon
lazed away there by wastrels.
When you take out the visual,
what’s left is a feeling.
It messes up your joie de vivre
and it is chronic,
like dust, but more of an obstacle.
I visited some pyramids.
I donated to watch a witch
do a spell and then hang out.
I guess I must have been an optimist,
stuck in this raw belief
that if only I could stop living
outside the poem,
its words would open up
the way shadows do
when you view their source
and then the sun.
The day got shorter,
barely even registering
upon the pates of the great poets
who came to visit me
because I paid them,
oh I would have
paid you anything,
Max Jacob, Alexander Vvedensky,
to stand there
in the riparian area
with one hand on your drinks
and the others pointing out
what I could do better,
what I should do better now.

***

Christopher DeWeese is the author of The Black Forest (Octopus Books). He is Assistant Professor of Poetry at Wright State University and lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

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