from THE BOOK OF FORMER WISDOM

///

There’s no interlude, because life

later maybe crowbar community or special effects, but not consisting solely of naming, or hinting at subtracted predation, or summarization of ethics while standing on one hairy leg in hot sunlight, whatever got written down

and this is not that, there is no project, the research unaccomplished, the filter needs adjustment, the hive mind thrum sounds like a choir singing “Adon Olam” and you don’t even know that one, nor what it means, nor are you a baritone swinging low, sweet

nor are you entirely alone

[……..]

more than half of the knowing is the messages: are they for broadcast or for personal use

///

Real enough that you can see the blood vessels in his forearm even as you hold it, knowing the hold, dry skin, scrub brush silver hair, you don’t want to let go but you don’t know how to sing that song, and anyway he’s bloodless, an organized bundle, in the dark there’s never flesh

he’s not Peter Falk, he’s not a suburban rabbi either, he does have history’s ghostly name and he did burst into flame once, in old cartoon Jerusalem, or maybe that was you

“find something to hold onto, kid, and hold onto it”

and to explain the malachim to us would be to carve some colored smoke

[……..]

later again “there are brush fires burning”

neither the cost of living nor the heavy lifting

nor the fervor of the admin, a hysterical system, a microcosm, this is not that

///

Think of it as holiday science or badly-wrapped gift

think of it like this, kid, regardless of whether you feel like going where you have to go, you still need to put gas in the car, so go get gas

there’s also whistling, albeit unrelated to wind

there’s also a beautiful croak, a filthy shtetl, one or more 1892s

[……..]

there are no anchors, there are introductions, but then you’re under oath or mere container

apologizing with an unknown other’s mouth

[……..]

expect a carnival, expect similar black

///

And where in God’s green earth do you acquire tan slacks, you wonder, subject-changer, no extant white people store so secrets remain secrets but the malachim are fancy, dress like Lytton Strachey, like Noel Coward, swellegant but that’s not the point but sometimes even cultural anthropology is a form of devotion and style is style, and this

vulnerable like a human, removable like a belt

the malachim tell you you look nice in that straw hat, and that you need to get laid more often, you just wander from rabbinic door to door asking for book recommendations and get some static, some slam

would be easier maybe if you were actually that innocent, or mastered linger

[……..]

one of the suns still sets as if alternative light is either mere or corporeal

romance being several kinds of journalism, and this is not that, no odalisques either, shop talk all domestic wormhole travelogue

///

There’s also the option to intentionally survive, and wherefore

or the malachim reassure you, an uncle’s nudge, a gesture’s never empty but Moshe they say you should do your homework but don’t get mystical, this is not that, and rigorous analysis demands the circulation of blood

neither appointed nor local, neither found nor lost

an adopted attitude of infinite unfolding

[……..]

moreover some surety of rabbinic erasure

a mirror’s not a river and glitter isn’t dust


Nicholas Grider is the author of the story collection Misadventure (A Strange Object) and his work has appeared in Caketrain, Conjunctions, DIAGRAM, Guernica and elsewhere.  He lives in Milwaukee, where he’s a pre-med student.

This poem originally appeared on Revolution John and has been pulled and reprinted here by the author’s request.

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