Erin Perry - Five Poems
It’s nothing to do with philosophy.
It referring to much. God
was ambiguous all morning, and I thought
I could do the same.
Ambiguously, for instance, tearing up
the apple tree all night. Ambiguously
corrupting the locks. A knock
on the door. Who is it?
This is it. It, I say, and, This is it.
I mean both discovery and finality.
Forget it. In it picking up
sticks. Looking up
philosophy in a dictionary:
the study of the fundamental nature
of knowledge, of reality, of existence.
Okay with it, but what’s
with all these of’s. How are you to know it?
It containing a lot. And all of it
interpretation, like why was God
taking it out on the apple tree
last night? What did it
ever do to God?
Someone tells me I’m funny,
so I laugh. Isn’t that
how it works? Thinking,
wishing, work was just a place visited
and then left — instead, work
is a body
of material, is a humming memory
work, then, is spatial inside the body
and out of it. Out, out of it.
Out today feels impossible.
Last night at an event, circling.
Smiling and being recognized
as not a goer. Continually pouring
and picking up. And lots
being said, and a smallish DJ
dancing, and no one else
dancing. Wanting to make myself
small. Wanting to uncrease
a woman’s pants, take her tasteful
Western shoes, and another
with glasses, to crack them.
Wanting more trash cans. To know
what young people will do. Perennially
for invisibility. For not
introducing myself, for never
interrupting to fill a glass,
runneth over to a bar and
taking an order. Order being both
a command and a sensible
sequence. Order being the way
the mind is organized around
a central principle, like do
unto. Is this an issue of class.
Unsure of what class is beyond
a binary of having money and not
having it. A poet shopping for
a toothbrush in a furniture store
and blond boys selling it.
Trouble to tell of a stutter. Can’t
really explain it, a jitter in the mouth,
a senselessness, a gabble of words,
and ontological stuck
to my roof. On the actual roof
of my house, some shingles have loosened, worry
of the consequence of their loosening,
teeth like missing.
Speaking of which, haven’t been
to the dentist in a while. Know
something in there is wrong.
A dark corner, a shadow in the tooth
itself. You might be thinking,
this person isn’t a stutterer,
they have all these words, which
they are saying,
and I would agree with you,
and yet it happens, unexpectedly,
sitting at my desk, faced with a face
and them asking,
and I saying, saying, nothing
something like mother comes out
and that is it — but also in a room
all of the faces looking, cocking
their ears to hear, and all you have
is nonsense, saying tooooo much
cofffffee, as though that
might make up for it. Ghastly
to be so incoherent, a mountain
presenting itself as jag —
my hand, my hand,
running across its surface —
A book in the morning
in no way gets in the way
A book being a metonym
for literacy — just look
how good at this I am.
a poem. Told by the best:
10 ways to do so, not
to use cliché language
such as, it was raining
cats and dogs.
What is appropriate
in a poem
is to displace: it was raining
leopards and wolfs.
Another way of saying it:
A cognitive rhyme
is what I read once
in a chapter about
Today the kitten
is snug on my arm
and it is raining a lot
outside, I say
to the kitten,
it’s raining you outside,
and it looks like
you should change this.
Etymological transference. I am told
that, at this point, I explain it.
It being metaphor and God being narrow,
and what is known is known.
Haven’t felt erotic. Haven’t felt
urge. Thought of names all morning
and a dark cap of hair, a girl, calling
her Eliza, and instructing —
Crisp cellophane — giving you a bone
in which to bend it. The cellophane.
Over a book. Wake in the night, each night,
with worry — worry of blood
on the bedsheet, of rain
in the room — worry of space
and light and no book left.
Lingering on the rug — wanting
to get back to sleep — it isn’t any good —
but signifies an away of mind.
Train the subconscious to remember
its dreams by recalling them
in the waking day, this, I guess,
is waking. Rude in a dream last night,
denying to pour the riesling, orange
in a skinny bottle. Agreeing
to shuffle the plates and plaiting.
Caught myself reflected the other day
in a window lit with night —
holding a box, and my hands, my hands
were large, started, thought, not mine,
surely, is another behind me, grasping —
Sculpting is a massing before a cutting —
a face in the mountain winks —