speaking of failure is to a degree a failure so instead we speak of flowers that bloom independent of our meager measures

she is physically beautiful
to me, so i want
to talk to her.
i am made of
meat and water,
water, a powerful
conductor of electricity.
what portion of this meat
is made of desire, or
is desire that which is
conducted? atop water,
floating, we briefly walk,
she and i. she,
a stranger to me,
and i, only strange.

a friend commented,
“it’s really heavy”,
and yes, my pants tend to
fit tight. but still
i float. she,
beautiful with crowning
hair, for nesting and for
floating, enters a vehicle
as i try to stay
on my feet. i can
see strands of her,
floating, long after
she has left.

this small town is not
full, it is not full
of shops meant to ensnare
visitors, separate them
from their money. and
this town is today
not full of visitors, so
the shops that don’t
fill this town, are empty.

a woman walks
ahead of me, with a
tilting, wobbling gait.
i wonder at her
structure; is it hips?
perhaps knees?
that cause her to
tock like clock
as she ambulates?

a park was constructed
at the mouth of a river.
this river fills
with salmon, every year
returning to their returns.
in turn, bears
are brought by these
salmon. and this park,
its construction brings
humans, to the same
spaces as these bears.
our human brains can
outsmart, yes, but
our bodies cannot
compete. the park
is closed today
to human, just as are
the stores; too many
bears, not enough money.

out front of the river,
just beyond the brackish
water, where the saline
sea takes full
possession, boats float.
some of them let
hooks out into the water,
trying to bring salmon,
flashing like electricity,
into their boats.
others, still others,
they unfurl nets
into the sea, wondering
what they might ensnare.

rounding a blind
corner, i nearly walk
into a man, bent
to his cell phone.
i move aside and
he never once looks
up. trailing behind
him, two more
men, much older,
looking straight
ahead. their eyes
of fog and their eyes
of water’s blur.
wondering, what can i
today ensnare? wondering,
will it hurt?

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

2 thoughts on “speaking of failure is to a degree a failure so instead we speak of flowers that bloom independent of our meager measures

  1. Alice Oswald has a book named Falling Awake. Wrote a poem in the wake of it once, trying to mirror the openness. Didn’t quite push through. What I write is often closed upon itself, and that one seemed even more so. A Chinese finger trap.
    This one reminds me of a poem of hers, Cold Streak.

    “I notice a cold streak
    I notice it in the sun
    all that dazzling stubbornness
    of keeping to its clock

    I notice the fatigue of flowers
    weighed down by light
    I notice the lark has a needle
    pulled through its throat

    why don’t they put down their instruments?
    I notice they never pause
    I notice the dark sediment of their singing
    covers the moors like soot blown under a doorway

    almost everything here has cold hands
    I notice the wind wears surgical gloves
    I notice the keen pale colours of the rain
    like a surgeon’s assistant

    why don’t they lift their weight
    and see what’s flattened underneath it?
    I notice the thin meticulous grass,
    thrives in this place”

    Excerpt From: Alice Oswald. “Falling Awake”


    1. if i had a mantra, a mantra–far too much doing, the mantra would be “do less”. or perhaps, “don’t do more”. i talk and write and think mostly of and about myself, the prison of subjectivity is also just a garden, and in this garden of which i cannot escape the eye of I, in this garden i plant myself. toes are so short, even a small plant has roots that go so much deeper. it isn’t so much that i wish to disappear, no, rather more that i might like less. i have little money and i want more; life would be more pleasant were i to want less. my body grows at the ice cream i eat, life would be more pleasant were i to inhabit my form with less trouble over fat roll or corded muscle. it’s all body, after all. it all goes away. your words catch your tongue in your Chinese finger trap, i feel very much the same way. though i s’pose i might look at it like an ocean, in some examples, an ocean that comes in for a bit, yes, and then stumbles all over itself in its leaving.


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