Kevin Killian, p.1


I'll have the glass, the shimmering dust
to see the ragged real better
through its shade
and second skin

          --Charles Watts, "Dramatic Realism"

I keep waiting for a break, alas--
ten thousand party favors have to be blown up and placed,
just so,
on the table of the zombies of the lake

"Of the," "of the," all this possession
I'm haunted by, built into the structures of English
like that shadow on the dinette table

It is hundreds of years old, and creaks with yellow

Watts up Charlie Chan? I used to say
on the telephone, can I put you on hold,
slamming down before he could say yes or no,
"Now I'm back," but you never know
if the distant person will be there still

a ferocious guess
the ragged real, and I would say
what's so real
we're just molecules who went to school

Each dust point's a blazing prism
the glass a crystal screen
and cast against the glamor
the image, vine and leaf,
of blackberry,
whose body, almost unleaved, thick, still
unwithered, green and armed,
endures the February light a foot away.

I'm afraid of my face, that gathers in a scrunchie
all of the sights I witnessed in a trance
A round robin of sights
that, once eaten, never graduate
from the Tanz Akademie of Joan Bennett, Alida Valli
& what is that thing that looks
like a giant slinky
try to escape it, your flesh tears off in liver strips?

Kill a bat, light a cigarette, breathe easy
except for the face pinned to one's skull
Watt's up, Charlie Chan, I haven't
got all day
I'm a busy man
More peccable than the boy, still unwithered,
armed, green, the unendured
and a foot away from il lago di zombi... darkness