We had called it, in the past, “the fatal subject” | With the trembling of the teaspoon on the saucer | the rock of the light metal chair | a desire not to linger | it appears to announce itself | a resistant presence | the wind blows through it | Hard to light a cigarette | and you must drop to low gear | even the cup shakes a little | as forces shift the elements around | with that crackle and tinkle and quake | as of an extraterrestrial debut | that scene in Close Encounters | the toys all start to play | the gadgets spark | pure | alien | animation | Arrival of a thought | a mercurial | response to temperature | the sun’s call | to puppet life | to rise | Connoting and denoting our way | from this particular juncture | conjuring a map from fresh air and ancient archives | moving slowly on Lakewood Drive | resisting the personal export | from an essentially tawdry existence | to applaud a more civic program | a more democratic dispersal in space | as if the sea had no name | and our love | was not just our love | but belonged to others | and they wanted it

Very hot out there, and a dry wind threatening fire | blocks of beige buildings | chunking and cubing and jumbling the valley sides | satellite dishes and telegraph poles | silver threads and razor wire | red and yellow signage | the pleasing banality of the roads | dull and dead but, at the same time, presenting their blank, mysterious vistas | brooding with unexplored possibilities | Our tedium was recent | evolved perhaps through a combination | of regular drugs, a commitment to novelty, and that specific and mechanised | failure of imagination | adults | end up embodying | a kind of asphyxiation | through too many reasons | He was depressed | unable to escape the feeling | that his life was flimsy and tawdry: he would never name a sea | The city was like a model in a museum — the model of a town | in a museum in a town | in the Caucasus | the town bombed and the museum abandoned | and Lakewood Drive was like a street in that model | and he was like a model driver | in his plastic SUV | surrounded by dust and balsa wood, dandruff, the droppings | of mice | and no one spoke his language | and they never would | His boyfriend’s mind | seemed elsewhere | focused, no doubt, on the next | in line | it was an error they needed | to correct | Neither spoke | for several minutes | toyed with their phones | Slowly, though, inevitably, they began to turn | to the fatal subject


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)