this one took forever, but it was worth it:
He was in the botanic garden, off
The walkway’s rutted iron-railed atlas
In early Spring, the grass spaced out in clumps,
The mud more dominant, the earth erumped
And watered recently, pools sit stagnant, brown
In the cool shade of a bush. He saw
Them here first. Tracks. Footprints? No, never that.
But three-toe pointed tracks, describing where
He should look, as if he had weathervanes
For eyes, out swaying tri-pointedly, caught
By wind in three directions, all at once,
The blowing making his dimensions, not
Him, not his two-paired catch-all eyes, matched
In iris to the brown of the mud pools.
The little pointed tracks make three of them,
The flecks in his eyes, too, the gold-burned breast
Of the once robin there, its own prints paired
(though in batches of three) dancing past
the time of his eyes now, still rooted now
as if, by seeing ponds made full again
by the emptying effort of pressing feet,
he could reincarnate marching, puffed breast.
He blinks. The sun enters the stage, to shine
In one window of the would-be night scene
Of a secret aspiring nature boy.
The new bright rays call him to the buds
Of a perched low magnolia, upturned
And spired, the heavy branch candelabra
Of waxy tapered petals, pale, the sheaths
(the candlesticks) furred green, just parting a crack
to show the lie—some candles have turned
to fireworks, to asterisks of bloom,
some halfway sprayed between the two.
He thinks, when did it happen, this stage-burst?
If I stayed up all night to stare, he asks,
If, standing, I were there, would it emerge?
(Would he believe in continuity?)
He feels the force then, now, the animate—
That endlessly flip card, the card flipper,
Who spins roulette wheels past our eyes in slides,
Whose series we cannot define, not quite
(Though we will load the film and snap it closed
and set the aperture to speed and push
open the shutter and, released, close it;
and we will dim the bulbs and pull the screen,
project onto acetate flips whose speed
is past separating, is past distinct
segments, or slides, the trick of whole we make
for the flip animator’s pleasure-view.)
He sees the buds pass into shadow-dark,
Thinks of dawn-light, invigorator, first
Wave-particle, that tricky spasm glow
Grows, evident, the primal paradox.
He walks, a made shadow appearing past
To stretch behind his legs—obscure, now, too,
The locomotion comes from parts unmet
As if he’s found a you unknown to you
(And now even ourselves are a frontier)
The meter on the house’s back wall spins
The power is always on, current, now
Always around, even the brain’s neurons
Electric firing, on and off, impulses
Of code and flipped orders to breathe,
To spit (to film) to walk, print projects
In massive rolling media of talk,
To bleed in vessels, mass circulation,
Sent messages returned to pump and think,
Renewed impulses before the eyes’ next blink
(It all enough to make his head spin round!)
The lengthened pass of fading light arrives
To knock on doors at nearly eye level
The reel’s last flickers rattle in the booth
As the projector gives away the room
With shelves of books in quaint rows lined up
A few with tapers, marked, midway or so,
Or bells inside, still, green ribbons tucked
In tight for later rescue, pendulate,
The time of reading passing without sands.
The robin puffs its breast and hops in earth
Impressionable, makes records in print.
The tracks are splayed out in three like deer’s.
The water draws out from under the pools
To roots below, the tracks, now shallow, fools.
4 hours ago