So this guy walks into a bar and asks for a beer. Sorry, the bartender says, I only sell atom smashers And the guy says well isn't that America for you— every happy-hour Nelson's a homemade physicist and no thank you, just an ice cold one, but it's too late—suddenly, he's on his butt in a ballfield where handsome men are chasing a ball over grass sad grass, yellow like the hair of his once-young mother! and again he says, no thank you—I've seen this movie before And the bartender says it's a joke and you're inside its machine... Hey, the guy wants to say—I'm not the guy—I'm me I'm just a guy who walked into a bar. I'm just a guy who retreats to his car for a private cry. Instead he sniffs and cries out— The sky smells like the bologna from when I was a boy! Ahh, says the bartender, ahh yes. Someone has left the refrigerator door of the cosmos open a crack And the view! cries the guy. The beauty of an atom smasher, says the bartender, even from the cheap seats you see clear into 1952. And the guy, squinting into the distance, starts to bawl. Maybe it's the vendors hawking commemorative popcorn, or the programs promoting emotion ("the matter of the universe!") printed on material whose pulp was milked from the trunk of a winesap apple tree, but— What's the matter? says the bartender. And the guy says, I'm confused. Am I allowed to be homesick in a joke? Yes, the bartender says. It's elemental, the bartender says— How streets are downtrodden atoms and falling leaves are aflutter atoms and beer is over-the-moon atoms. The moon's an atomizer of all matter's perfumes: And the guy starts to parse it out— Wait, I'm not smart, but if emotion's a material substance then when a leaf falls in my lap and I hold it, like an about-to-be-abandoned baby, I'm touching "aflutter" in 3-D? Dear fluttering leaf! Streets—I'm sorry for stepping on you! Apples—for coring you, and beer— * * * A guy walks into a bar, —actually just the beer-drinking bleachers of a ballfield—and says is this some kind of joke? Well, says the bartender who has observed the little lamb and the tyger burning bright and tickled their particulates, because your life has lately been stagnant, we have yoked you to a joke and we await the gasp that will gas up the cosmos... Just then, there's a hit at the plate—and it's going, it's going—gone to smash the guy in the skull And since baseballs are made of nostalgia atoms, the guy, with concussion, says I want to buy a coke for a nickel I want to install apple pie perfumemakers in the crotch of every tree Bartender, bring me dried nosegays! Start the stalwart pageants! And the moon's spritzing its perfumes and the phlegm is thick and fast And the bartender says time to wallow in byproducts: Where we planted peanut shells, we got shaky, palsied trees Where we planted nickel cokes, we got nicked cans Where we planted baseballs we grew large, sad eyeballs as we watched for something to grow. Still, still we atom-probe: In a dark building a child is about to be born. The smell of bread is about to break. And our guy is going, O spring evenings! How I used to stand yelping in the alley by the bakery... Who are these boys throwing baseballs? Who is this baby? O bartender, tell me, what is the message in this light rain? But the bartender's dark eyes are flying over centerfield, over the rooftops and watertowers of the joke's universe, over alleys and cold valleys of refrigerator light toward an aptest eve where these street kids are hurling a ball into the moonlight and the moonlight is curdling into freon...
The infant asleep in the trough is a Buddhist. This time of year is very, very old. Over eggs, that is all we can conclude, us who are asleep, who are dreaming this long dream. What if this infant could be awoken? There is someone in heaven who for centuries an infinite number of centuries, has been perfecting himself. Is he here now with us, watching for a red globe to roll off the tree into wretchedness? To pick up the crying infant is to teach it trust and love. But to suffer: babe-in-the-manger, we will all be the dead man if we live long enough. If we are even alive. I am not sure that I exist right now, actually. (I have been a word in a book I have been a tree high, high above the Tuileries!) This infant must learn to cry itself to sleep. This infant must learn to dream itself awake. Please god continue my own dreams into infinity: must get glitter glue to spell our names on the stockings. No, must awake from this world. He is crying. No not “he.” Say “it is crying.” It is snowing. It is crying. This time of year is old. The cold and dark: were they not made for us to hold the infant against? Shouldn’t we name ourselves and the things we love? (darcie.carl.remy.fiammetta.december) Of the six destinies they say to be human is the hardest but it is the one I have loved the most. Perhaps because I have not suffered enough. This time of year might be ancient. Older than suffering. If this world were a dream, we would speak of it, for the root of dream is noise. Yet! The infant is he who is unable to speak… It is unspeakable. The infant cries. It pains me. Oh brusque intuition, oh illogic answer… I will arrive at you.