The shotgun shines
___radiant history across the mantle.
The wind rips through a rolodex of the names of the dead.
___It could be a litany, almost
______like the registers of Audubon societies
___and the Who’s Who of West Virginia 1974
______begging for a trumpet in morning,
a waltz and then a nap
___in the hush of a million miraculously lit libraries.
And in waking,
___a waking more this time than a polite not yet to the idea of death,
the atom of speech.
___Not like an old man mumbling to himself in baseball metaphor,
______but like a drop of rain in the palm,
___reminding that above there are stars in the continual ricochet of triangulation,
______bodies positioning themselves
_________in relation to a reference for which
______we have no analog.
But one can take comfort in the miscalculation of the heights of see-saw fulcrums,
___a child running around with a gold wrestling belt,
______brave men on Massachusetts quarters,
___Silver State on silver,
The wiper does not draw barren Nebraska across the windshield,
___and the merry-go-round children are not about to be
pulled from their fiberglass horses in rapture.
I am acknowledging this.
And yet the story doesn’t end.
An act is a draft for the acts that follow.
___We say forward and pinewood cars fly down their tracks.
After/at and a mother makes the wedding.
___Like a bow.
I haven’t earned this but I’m hitching myself to your kindness.
There is a photo in my living room
___on the back of which scribbled are the words
______memory is an anachronism.
In the picture a child is
___dragging a stick though the sand
in the vacuum of summer.
___And I am sure that each grain had to pick a side.
John Wayne in Municipal Projection
A movie playing on the courthouse lawn,
________________________specked light flooding
__________________the summer air.
John Wayne in a panorama of desert
______against the stone wall. Beyond this city
the actual desert stretches
for more miles
______than we have ever known what to do with.
Like the air an empty category, unthinkable
__________________Enough cannot be said of his horse
in its unfathomable redness,
______surveying the prop buffalo in the basin,
____________the rigor of the battle dead.
You said there is nothing true of love
______that is not also true of the Waffle House.
______In the real heat some kids are dancing to an unheard music
in the grass,
______in the light before image,
as though to say these, my feet,
______are the circumference
of my world,
______as if to say I.
______in a soft pink mouth.
The gold dust in the projector light
______has yet to stop falling.
In the Cordage of the Municipality
The aperture of dawn breaks
over the government lake
embalming our long apprenticeship
to dust stalled in the tertiary gloss.
The scrutiny of a man between needs.
The wanting less to be oneself
than to hold one’s place—
to insist sincerity is only
the desire to have said
what one has said.
The rooms replenish themselves
with a stable of objects:
an apple core browning in the drain,
button shirts hung in the limpid forms of bodies elsewhere,
in a stable of rooms which relay their tedium
like figurations in a language made of a single word.
The city remains and the city is grammar.
Brandon’s blog .