Exquisite Corpse - Issue 3
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by Pat Nolan


Resolution: The Passing Year

Bare wet branches grid a pale westerly sky
a "Hail Mary" pass sails across the air waves
clustered rose hip tips cheer denuded stalks
last year's yard litter raked by oblique rays
snug green nubs of suspended vegetation
tethered to their lengthening shadows
burnished horizon outlines the forested ridge
the smoky glow feathering a sharper edge
no one moment announced the stirring year
it began with the very first bowl of morning
it stretched itself into the waning day
and early evening with one more game to play
just one religious experience after another
door of night opens onto corridor of tomorrow
a football's lobbed lazily above a fence line
distant voice murmurs of a twilit neighborhood
street light readies itself with spasmodic flash
someone's tiny dog unwinds in tight sharp barks
or the eerie buzz of an airplane's widening gyre
this coincidence of moments uncurls with resolution

and such speed that I find myself here once again

Diamond In the Rough

Violence is just a sex substitute
friendship is those thousand
          tiny betrayals overlooked

the long arm of the law of diminishing returns
just caught up with me

               call my lawyer quick

after health insurance legal insurance
otherwise known as
     The Big Professional Payoff
everyone is on the take
eventually it works out for the best
we pay our taxes to ourselves
what's left of us

     the organism regulates itself
we all feel in our bones
     but are in full blown denial

don't despair

heirs to the mysterious power of discontinuity

and settle for the relationship of one
map deep attachments
uncover the hieroglyphics of the psyche
a synapse of pixels
          get the picture
it's the beauty of the particular
attended to in passing
whose sum is a memory
an exquisite sample
     importance loses its touch
the equality of a jelly doughnut
          to the Hope diamond
music in the air
     settle for that

Where the Heart's Concerned

All this self-examination has made me raw
set on edge by my own complexity
to suffer from a hypochondria of the spirit
even glib optimism can't often dispel
so that I have to springboard past caring

a triple double twist
               perfect nose dive
into the wet sponge that is my anima

that is my own applause I hear

it's like a tiny door in my heart opened
out steps a little guy and takes a bow
finally acknowledged the romantic in me
down swings a trapeze
and I'm flying through the air
with the greatest of ease
head over heels
          as if I'd invented it

if I believed in any of this
I could go on to be normal
life isn't easy where the heart's concerned
and I've been in love too little too long

I have to laugh to stay serious
the poet as joker
though priestly notions try to repress humor
this mocking skeletal frolic
takes each step
               as a celebration of passing
and of the return
heel toe heel
     (which time will wound)
          grim but graceful
I knock on wood

scattered sunshine in the forecast
"the hassles of the day make a real mess of me"
Chrissie Hynde sings in my ears
preoccupied by the danger signals
               of a terminal existence
everything on the line
which is the very
very edge
and as much as I try
          can't stumble forward
while falling backwards is so simple
I can never catch up with myself
               always a little off register

the dance macabre of a dying star
makes its effects felt across eons
multiplied by a room full of mirrors
and dominates the headlines

the heart more direct
it's live
               not Memorex
the thrumming of wings as it soars
leaves behind every care
as well as good sense judgment
               duty and responsibility
slips the bonds of certain gravity

no verifications of levitation
you say
ever heard the expression
               walking on air
have you talked to a man in love
("has a man in love ever talked?"
being an entirely different matter)

emotion requires a song to escape
its captivity in the cavity of the heart
and so in the karaoke bar of my privacy
I wail out my lungs with maudlin sentiment
suddenly overwhelmingly meaningful

in meditation the self flows out
so every thing that was kept out can flow in
I experience displacement
that which was heavy is now light
that which is light becomes heavy and must
trade with the heavy which is now light
the logic of push and pull populates the world

"is this love that I'm feeling"
is not really a question
because if you gotta ask
                     you got it bad

Cadavar Exquisito
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