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Tim Sullivan:

I grew up in a town in America with trees, a church, a town hall with an eagle over the door, a football team, and, in between these elements, many more important details and truths. I live in the friendly city of San Francisco and have been writing less poetry now that I'm unemployed and, as a happy result, no longer need to struggle so hard to keep myself sane. But that doesn't mean I'm done with words. Not by a long shot, buddy.

distance

by tim sullivan


The distance between
Two brittle antennae rising
From the building next door
Against the whole of the radio
Static white sky is
The same as the distance
Between the slithering
Words, redirected as necessary
Like water against dams and
Rocks, of sceptered men
Whose minds, like yours
And mine were shaped
In localities infused with
A cohesion unspeakable but
Extant in, for instance,
A sooty grime frosting the
Outer walls of a cluster of
Stucco row-houses, or the
Wet echo made by the clack
Of a tiny shoe falling on the
Worn-wood floor in that deli,
A man-made surface
Made natural by the
Passage of time past human
Reference, or a syntax of gestures—
A voice: heyhowarya,
I remember you with the bowlegs;
A space: between two men shaking hands;
An angle: an averted gaze’s—
And possibly frozen
By a final mold as small as a B+,
The hint of alcohol in a cough,
The approach of a dog,
A grandfather’s idea,
And possibly as large
As a beating or a death
Or too many boring afternoons—

The distance between these
Libidinally relentless words
From such minds tenderized in this way
By these such elements and the gasses that
Spawn them, chemicals and matter that make
Of light, radiation, instinct, memory, and language
The mystical necessity of sending fire
Over there that will reshape
The flesh of some whose interest
In this thing that has not yet happened,
That is invisible, gargantuan, and weightless
Does not go beyond impotence
And fear of pain, whose bodies
Will know invisible forces whose nature
To the living and the not about to die
Can only be theoretical, or poetic,
Whose bodies are going to
Blossom into clouds like ocean spray
And less refined clusters of
Chunks, and in numbers that,
However relatively small,
Are like the end of the world
On the local scale we all live in—

That distance being infinite
Between two puny things that do not touch.

[]

copyright © 2003
tim sullivan

 

 


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