Our Bed Is Also Green

Please speak to meonly of the present
            or if you must            bring up the past
bring up only thatwhich you and I
            don't share. I know            this is a selfish
thing to ask. Yes, as Ihave often
            remarked, shore lunch            at hanging rock
was lovely. Yourhair and mine
            stayed put. Later on            we didn't, as we
do now, pull it fromeach other's clothes
            as if for final proof            that we've been
sleeping witheach other. In the glorious
            picnics of the past            we simply knew
such things. The rockupon which
            we sat, ran beneath            the lake, and was
the same rock wewere both looking
            over to the other            side at. I almost
felt, believe me,as if we were
            two people. Person,            I nearly could
have said, hold on.Instead, I used
            the name we had            agreed upon. Not
your fault. A nameis useful, it helps
            with the blankness            I am sometimes
feeling in regardsto you. I apologize
            for saying this            out loud. You are not
the blanknessI am speaking
            of. Plug your thought            or daydream
into me, and theyor I will often
            fail to light. You are            beginning to see
what I mean aboutthe past, how I,
            despite my facility            with pliers, and eye
for detail, may notbe suitable. What was
            your name? I am            not kidding. What comes
will run us throughfrom the front, we
            pull our way            down its length
if only to see, at lastwhat has ahold
            of the spear-grip.            Therefore, the future,
as a topic, is sadlyalso out. Instead, let's
            cast the deep side            of the weedbed
together. The lakeis black, like slate
            we scrape across            with paddles toward
the weedtops,sticking up, like alien
            flags, above            the invisible
settlements, the castleyou've dropped
            your hooks            inside of. I love
how destructiveyou are with the fishes,
            so go ahead            and bring your war
against them, Ramona,against the duck,
            against time,            against any things
that swim. Our fiber-glass canoe is of
            burnt orange;            our shapely hooks
of shining gold;our giant rock, also
            somewhere in the lake            beneath us, is
the bottom, towardwhich the minnow,
            lip-hooked, dives            after the lead,
its weight a thingthe minnow seems
            to follow, as if            we sent it dropping
both for what we hadto give away and still
            we didn't want            the lake to have.

More by Josh Bell

One Shies at the Prospect of Raising Yet Another Defense of Cannibalism


"You can't kiss a movie," Jean Luc Godard said, and this is mostly true, in that you cannot
initiate the kiss. The Movie could initiate the kiss if The Movie wanted, as it is so much taller, 
leaning in, no way to demur, you would be too polite anyway, and, as the Roman poets have 
stressed, there is always something porous in the decorous. So there can be kissing between you 
and The Movie, and it would be amazing, better the more incoherent The Movie is and the more 
you had to pay to see it, though in the movies it is said that prostitutes don't like to kiss as kissing 
is too personal, though I disagree, as sometimes the human will make a show of locating you 
with a kiss, almost to prove to you that you are a real person with a face and that, absolutely, 
they know where the face is and the face isn't, and this is how you know, for sure, that both of 
you have been paid. But I don't want to make you feel bad here, and I apologize, for you are 
entirely kissable, as I have watched you through windows and keyholes even though, up to this 
point, you do not appear in movies. Often you appear holding a book in your hand and with God 
knows what playing in your head—I imagine you repeating to yourself, over and again, "the 
horse knows the way, the horse knows the way"—and remember: even someone as learned in 
film as Jean Luc Godard got it a little wrong. You can kiss The Movie, if The Movie wants to 
kiss you. It's just that The Movie, finally, isn't all that interested in your mouth.

Related Poems

The Night Ship

Roll back the stone from the sepulchre's mouth!
I sense disturbance deep within, as if some sorcery

had shocked the occupant's hand alive again, back
to compose a document in calligraphy so dragonish

that a single misstep made it necessary to stop
right then and there and tear the botched draft up,

begin again and stop, tear up again and scatter
a squall of paper lozenges atop the architecture

that the mind designs around it, assembling a city
somewhat resembling the seaport of your birth,

that blinking arrangement of towers and signage
you now wander underneath, drawn forward by the spell

of the sea's one scent, by the bell of the night ship
that cleaves through the mist on its path to the pier.

Surrender to that vision and the labor apprehensible
as you take to the streets from the refuge of a chair

so emphatically comfortable even Lazarus himself
would have chosen to remain unrisen from its velvet,

baffling the messiah, His many onlookers muttering
awkwardly to themselves, downcast till a sudden

dust devil spirals in from the dunes—a perfect excuse 
to duck back indoors. (The sand spangles their eyes,

the little airborne stones impinge upon such faces
as only Sorrow's pencil would ever dare to sketch,

and even then, it wouldn't be a cakewalk, you realize.
A dust devil at sea would be called a waterspout.)

You fear that you have been demanded into being
only to be dropped on the wintry streets of this 

imagination rashly, left easy prey for the dockside
phantoms, unwatched and unawaited, and I know 

what you mean, almost exactly. This cardboard city
collapses around us; another beautiful document

disassembles into anguish—a cymbal-clap—and we can't
prevent it. At one the wind rises, and the night ship

trembles, drowsing back into its silver cloud. At two it embarks
upon a fiercer derangement. We are in this together.

And we will find protection only on the night ship.