After Wallace Stevens. From Parkway. Published by New Star Books in 2013.
1 He was in Nanaimo writing letters to Marshall, every now & then walking down to the playhouse for a smoke. The heavy leafage of a wet June absorbed the roar of the highway so he sat on the damp carpet he’d slung over the old garden chair & picked up and put down the book that had begun to curl on the dusty table raising more dust. He trades places with the cat so that when the gravel trucks gear down or loudly up the cat can watch it pass & he can pretend to read. It was almost time for Rockford when the news intervened. Outside the last bees on Planet Earth rubbed sagey pollen on their undercarriages. Noting this he raised his eyes from the newscrawl to a copper Ford drifting thru the twilit Bel-Air of the Ford administration. This is the part of the sublime from which we shrink: Sepulveda, Ventura & Culver City are to him an approximate haze as hard as calcium, unspooling painkillers at every point of the compass. Something shifts & then he shifts. He apologises to the dead space where he had been sleeping. 2 He wakes in the pollarded half-shade of a dying walnut. The half-audible early birds tweet ear bones press against each other a passing satellite pings its archive. Night had been a tree to him moving through space, sparing him memorable dreams, something medication never quite achieved but if you sit there thinking it goes dim the golfball grain comes rushing in like water through a window. All he knows of the moon—its interlocking t-shapes of broom yellow fanning oilslick tailfeather—is that it’s both outside & above, a bell held in a cup. The pain is such a little thing to be wandering abroad like that. He becomes aware of the heavy air & that he’s awake, a hiss of decompression through the leaves hanging heavy in a hoary-hanging sky sickly after the rain hit, turning west he hallucinates as it falls each ring of the tree. 3 He hangs hangers in a cupboard left to right the wind chime’s soft memory gonging across his neck, Chico Hamilton style— a handswidth or two more or less, unstrapping the braces, snapping brasses a hinged ruler with oil, rarely looking up, even at those shivers of bleached green leaf piercings where other people move through the light more or less as he does but rarely with that quadrant over-the-shoulder- you-see-what-he-sees angle—no narrating parrot or hummingbird or offshore bee would follow so close knowing neither right nor left nor above nor below bouncing around at the end of a pineal stalk like the third eye of realism squinting through the low cloud.