noah eli gordon

from The Frequencies


Call it another rhetorical device to recreate the centuryís slipping music,
but the crowd still wonít let me in, even though I undid the drummers with a
joke, easing the lingering tension in a light bulb filled with moth shells.
Itís moving in step with the city, something like a petting zoo & everything
becomes public eventually. Because there was an ad in the paper for a job
just like mine, I couldnít help but bruise the downtime, rubbing the pelt
the wrong way. What purrs inside the city? Inside fields of corn & wheat,
tobacco & rum, trying to focus the rays since colors could add to it, edged
in by the airwaves, tumbling from the towers, the music that slips, that
follows us like fallout. The bleachers were crumbling beyond the buzzing
wires. Beyond is a thinning crowd. If I put my back to the radio it doesnít
mean Iím not listening. It means I just want to belong.


If I told you to be criminal you need economy, that marketing is making us
believe weíre not now & never will be categorically mammalian enough to pass
from hatchling to fledgling without searching for a switch to match the lash
marks Iím sure we leave on each other, because the egg shells were ours &
itís hard to build from a birth back into a stick figure expressionism what
wonít dry in a hundred layers of oil paint, no matter how fast or pretty, or
whose wallet the words are hanging on, ready to put a fist between someoneís
clapping hands, then this myth debunkingís done in secret, an inserted
scene, & the modulated tones in the minor scale tear the radio back into


After retuning rhapsody to its root sense, what can the airwaves stitch
together that wonít draw us away from the recognized world, a witty riff on
history & a DJ recycling pronouns, afraid to measure it against the real.
Iím running out of ways to make this relate, the everything electric
underneath a coming storm. The stories orbit, spiral inward & end always
without an annotated account, the third person in all of us asking the king
for an okay, the guillotine for an armada, the bend in a lilyís stem to mean
thereís solid ground somewhere & setting sail wonít bring the rain back from
an externalized, emotional atmosphere. Because the boats break apart in the
time it takes to consult the footnotes, Iíd cut up the trumpet if itíd bring
the breathing music back, tweak the singularity of our cross-wired
conversation into something besides another burnt lily. Better to give the
ashes to someone whoís asking for it.


Doc Watsonís got nothing to do with the porcelain music. We put it back
together without so much as a hairline crack. Who says you canít haggle out
a free lunch. The documents were dead on arrival & we milked the landslide
for another return to Troy. Sometimes itís a tractor, sometimes just a dune
buggy. Everything coming back blistered & the promotional stickers wonít
peel off an ashtray monument in the MOMA. Iíd rope the tire tracks outside
your place if it meant getting a list for these showroom departures going.
First comes the idea, the image, then the airwaves. Black bells. Bright
laundry. Boring radio grace. Itís true, the only place in Paris you canít
see the Eiffel Tower is under it.


Is it an idle way to work through the mind if I count every telephone pole
between walking from where you left & the arching shadow the dayís become?
ďIím not blaming you for anything,Ē you said, staring at the space ten feet
behind me where the birds were pecking their inherited names across the
concrete & the weatherís abundance outlined everything savage about startled
kitchen light. This appendix blinding is elusive & those variant texts &
folios make the abdomen of it all terrifically wounded, sewn in static,
seeing a tree & for the first time realizing that itís a birch, that Iíve
known it all along, that naming carries the longest list of conspirators,
keeps a room exactly how you left it, your glance to the horizon behind me
where I know thereís nothing to pull from a salted wound but the single pin
you could just as easily explode as undisplay me with.

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