The Weight of Paper
Preoccupation with bureaucracy
or better yet equation of my name
with what I deem anotherís fate: no, these
donít eat at me although a paperweight†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
collection by my indiscriminate
mail slot smothers anything that claims I owe††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
more than seventy-six ticks a minute
or my mother a visit and Jell-O mold.
Billing flamingos tinted in. A flowered †††††††††††††††††††
obelisk. Dark quartz with yellow veins.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
Oval. Conical. The Eiffel Tower.††††††††††††††††††
Bar charts. Additions. My stark minimums.
The Sphinx is always so quick†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
off its stack. I know when I am licked.
Ordinarily I wouldnít mention it ††††††††††††††††
but this has been a draining week.
I havenít once dreamed
anything of consequence.
But that can be draining too, week
after week of dreams that make††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
everything of consequence:
a chicken in orbit, an armless orchestra.
So after weeks of dreams of making it
with Kim Novak in Vertigo,
a chicken in orbit and an armless orchestra
tumble into dream like sweaty strangers.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
Because with Kim Novak in Vertigo
the dream is clean, sketched:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
a tumble with a dreamy, sweaty stranger.
Pinch yourself. Youíre dreaming.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
But sketchy dreams really clean you out.
Maybe all dreams are that way. Maybe Kim didnít deliver,
which puts you in a pinch:††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
was it simply you in Jimmy Stewartís well-pressed suit?†††††††††††††††
Dreams are that way. Kim didnít deliver††††††††††††††††
and surely you didnít pluck her from that steeple anyway.††††††††††
It was simply you in Jimmy Stewartís suit, well pressed
to reckon why Kim wore a snorkel in bed.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
You donít have the pluck for Kim anyway. Sure, you stipulate††††
waking from dreams is like losing a rough argument,†††††††††††††††††††
but reckoning why Kim wore a snorkel in bedó
or was it a rubber nose? a camo negligee?ó
is the rough wake from the dream, the lost argument.††††††††††††††††††
What argument? What are you arguing about anyway? A dream?
A rubber nose? A camo negligee?
Who are you arguing with?
Anyway, a dream is like an argument
you couldnít dream up,
the one where youíre arguing with someone
you wouldnít ordinarily mention this to.
I wave them on and still the clouds donít act,
just bare their hairline fractures like victims
of an authorless crime, an atmospheric
crash. Letís just leave it at that. These cosmic
types are everybodyís star witnesses.
In this stratosphere, Pluto may be little
more than a chalk outline, but the battered
cumulonimbus is this close to giving
up Tropical Storm Edgar, which never
even touched it. And thatís vindication
under the bright lights, thatís evidence.
Some will spill guts for a cup of java
or gust of wind in the interrogation
room. Anything at all to build a case.
Dan Kaplanís chapbook Skin, a letterpress, bilingual edition produced in collaboration with Cuban artist Julio Cesar PeŮa and translator Maria Vargas, is due from Red Hydra Press in 2005. Work recently appears or is forthcoming in Meridian, Spinning Jenny, Forklift, Ohio, Third Coast, Pool, Good Foot, and others. These poems are from Billís Formal Complaint.