Four Slateku

John Lee Clark
What is the point of travel
For a DeafBlind person
Other than the food the people the shops
And all that

*
 
Part one young
Question mother father
Know right name
Work some day

*

The mutant four-fingered carrot
Is in the pot and growing
Sweeter as it relaxes
Its grip

*

When we say good morning
In Japanese Sign Language
We pull down a string
To greet each other in a new light

More by John Lee Clark

At the Holiday Gas Station

Near the Naked Juices I passed
A man my fingers walking
Across his back he turned and held up
A box said what
Might this be I said oh
You’re tactile too what’s your name
He said William Amos Miller I said
I thought you were born in 1872 he said so
You know who I am yes you’re the man
Who journeyed to the center of Earth
In your mind he smiled on my arm said do
You know that the Earth also journeyed
To the center of my mind I said
I never thought of that he asked
Again about the box I shook it sniffed
Said Mike and Ike is it fruit
He inquired not exactly well
I think I shall have an apple wait
You haven’t paid oh
My money nowadays is no money he pushed
Outside we walked across the ice
To the intersection he made to go across
Wait you can’t go across we have to wait
For help oh help he said crouching
Until our hands touched the cold ground
He said I said we said we see
With our hands I jumped up and said you’re the man

Related Poems

Tug

The tug on my arm but soon spread
Perhaps now they could prove me there.

I've been watching the sky closely & for some time,
My hands in it, making crude, beautiful doves.

Sometimes a sprinkler spits
An arc of silver water over me,

Hissing, bisecting. Half of a thing
As much of a thing as ever can be.

If they have to water it, it's not a real field.
It's a yard, connected to a white building.

Once, I was inside a building.
Tooth, your shadow the color of the hour.

                    *

There was a smell of some spice,
I don't know what it was called.
I wanted to take a bath, change my gravity;
Feel my skin loose & leave a ring.
The man said they only had shower stalls. 
Those were the days everyone lived
In fear of a fierce spouse,
Paddling through the steam,
Something in her hand:
Hair-dryer, toaster, leaf-blower,
Plugged-in & zinging.
And you there, stewing in your own 
Sauce, whistling an oldie.

                   *

Deaf by dawn & if dawn comes
Day may break--bellowing
Below thing, be low, sing,
Slinging blows, blowing slang
Songs, bowing. Bring out the big
Amp, vinyl torn, plywood exposed,
I think the tubes are ready, sir,
The dew I flicked on them leapt & left

                    *

Steelsleet, the weather from the recycle tower
Less yellow as it lowers, a film of its tinting
The buildings, tinning the yards with first light.

I've seen the hours of train from above on the bridge,
Each car brimmed with rusty blades, broken bayonets,
Naked bent frames of things. . . .I can't tell. . . . 

Can you smell the crimson? And the cars behind me,
Metal mixed at the proper ratio, careen dying to be there,
Gasoline hemorrhaging, pistons punching themselves out.

The barge gravid with metal took its miles to pass as I stood
On the bank not saluting, thinking now, now what am I going to do.

The first blast of the opening ore-oven decays all decay.
The scraps shine. The smelting starts seamless, top down, bottom up.
Hollowing. Hello, thing. Hell, lathing. Howlingly singing holes.

                    *

So what are you going to be?
--A ghost.
I stole a white sheet from a line.
Leaves were stuck to it, I'll 
Punch some holes in it, I'll
Jump from the balconies
Of bleached buildings