Sessions 6 (Draft)


He sweeps. Simply. There is dust and settling, as on a surface. His shirt lifts and sighs, bares and bears. He might be called Sam or Kimanzi, Turuk or Salim. Or boy from then entering now. He smells like yesterday’s boy, now legal, still barred. In yesterday’s time he is never more than and barely. Glimpses from long-neglected blindspots. A sigh of perhaps. It could be told as a grand tragedy, or the whisper of barely touching bumpers.

I want to be haunted by profundity, not dropped calls on a tenuous line. Perhaps if I stand under a tree on a hillock conversations might be carried by wind and wave. Our pastoral now. I wait to call, fearing that leaves might fall, trees become cancerous. We wanted to believe multiplying cells would not enter us. Our intimacies would remain untouched.


To be holding.

It is easier to believe in the intimacy of phone lines—strings and cans extended infinitely from here to there, me to you. Now the particles feel thicker, our mud-like communications, the babble and press of other waves, the potential for muteness—lip-reading in an age of text messages.


He sweeps.

Habit without grace, like the half-limping men I once thought embodied desirability. Arthritic masculinities. I thought about the sensuality of rubbing. New fantasies in old wounds. Still. We rub along, tomorrow’s textures green to the touch, and if we rush fractures might happen, splits along uneven seams. One must be properly dry. As though prepared.

Men with longings sit under flowering trees to receive pollen blessings. Thus they become budded and garlanded. On festival days, we gather around and wait for them to burst open, to seed us. This is how it has been from generation to generation. It is why we are the seeded ones.

To remain open.

To seed.

Away from the clusters, pollen hovers, still dreaming of honeybee kisses. It might fall on uneven bristles, achieve flights undreamed of by coy winds. Petals gossip about the quality of light and honeybee kisses. One might envy dust-laced bristles the habit of settling.

4 thoughts on “Sessions 6 (Draft)

  1. I found myself wondering what it means, then I thought of this (something you probably have read before):

    Introduction to Poetry

    by Billy Collins

    I ask them to take a poem
    and hold it up to the light
    like a color slide

    or press an ear against its hive.

    I say drop a mouse into a poem
    and watch him probe his way out,

    or walk inside the poem’s room
    and feel the walls for a light switch.

    I want them to waterski
    across the surface of a poem
    waving at the author’s name on the shore.

    But all they want to do
    is tie the poem to a chair with rope
    and torture a confession out of it.

    They begin beating it with a hose
    to find out what it really means.

  2. No! Never Billy Collins! (I like the “message” of the poem. Don’t like his poetry at all. Different tastes.) I’m interested in the question of “meaning” because I think there are a range of different ways to experience writing, not all of them captured within language, and that’s valuable. In this kind of writing, I’m always trying to trouble a certain expository mode I associated with critical/scholarly prose and its incessant need to “master” the world. I wonder about the kinds of spaces available at the edge of language, at the side of words, be-side meaning.

    Ghafla, I read a lot and try to learn from those I read. I’m a better writer now than I was, say, ten years ago. So, yes, a lot of work. But also luck and learning to trust there is something available to be written.

    1. Your dislike of Billy Collins is seriously cracking me up. I don’t like his poetry either, but every time meaning seeks to establish a hegemony in my literary brain I think about this poem. Or Donald Barthelme’s stories, especially The Indian Uprising.

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