The Patient

- 1955-
I am patient. That is my mineral fact. 

         I have long term storage in double helixes

my two long polymers of nucleotides 

         my backbone made of sugars and phosphate groups 

joined by ester bonds. I see imagist pears dissolving down



golden arms I hear needle-less the sleep aid cd's

         real violins, then float blue-black 

at the eventide, injure

         of the taut to and fro, cut-back 

asphalt road, a path of greening twigs nourishing


nothing personal. Root stocks 

         of the best grapes, balm

for the honeybee's bite, lyme's flea—

         money chimes in the community bowl,

with patience I can sit on this bench


and wait for the ironworks of a previous century

         to reverse themselves, or I can lie in the grass,

vision the airplane's scatter-lit

         hallway, the descent 

only a little shaky

             like the trouble between art and life rolling you out

into an unpainted landscape,



the unbelted intoxication of travel    unstable as a chemical's twisted briar


medicine or drug    licit or illicit

                or afterimage

                time to move along

it's pathos time

        dodge a supreme fear

pathos—



                                        Patience was crowding anxiety

                              Patience's tired tongue was breaking a bone,



                                   while the twin and drone
                           to be patient with


hovered over 

our uncharted, rimless wants, 

rictus a slit vowel—




                                  La vida,
                                  a mess of dominoes
                                  face down.




I am a pilot light
                                 desiring more recognition,

                                 I suck grass
                                 to the dead inside.



The sleep aid cd & Hippocratic oath     mixed up good 

in the cocktail of my head    spoken into like commerce's cavity,

cavity or skylight    opening to the early spring blossoms

in the airless baggage claim


                                       SANCHEZ in stencil font
                                       stitched to my desert fatigues


holding luggage    looking for someone to pick me up 


I can be both
life-charged and dead
in consecutive units,



exited to like

turnpike rest stop's    promisingly lit 

pagoda, a respite    for the humans stopping and returning,

            the humans predicating,


a human is someone
who has wandered in from the desert.

I am patience in a substance clothed.

truly a creepy troll
truly a creepy troll

a human is the one 

continuing to close 
Christ's eyes
on the great crucifixes 

wagering will there    now be some inevitable progress.     In a tone pour,

the erotics of the electronics    swelling the house

and trailing to the sidewalk, 

        skip to sound

a harrowing to go, a darned patch

A soft fontanel
a warm harm
a human 

         does nothing 

unusual, forgetting the euphoria
of human potential

is human potential 

wanting more tools to form the mind. Rest, stop, a human is go

stopping and returning,

a practice    a human is someone

to pick you up
a human is someone to hone
in a human's 

long-held desire to vanish in a crowd or x-ed 

out void of others,
in mass human's estranging light.

More by Gillian Conoley

It Was the Beginning of Joy and the End of Pain

The sewing machine had a sort of genius, high, oily and red

over that little hellion’s pants.     Joy and Pain crossing legs,

then coloring in the poverty—

Are we a blue, blue whine in the restive trees?

Are we under the imprecision?

The beginning endless, ending like chasing deer out of the yard,

sphere unto sphere it takes a loyal Enthusiast
to be
Death’s mother.  Stag on the meadow,

mare in the river,
unwinding green river   wide rock for the resting.

The man and the woman liked to go there, 
sprawled across

the warm hood of the car, a question under sky, a curve where the trees rustled.

A patch of brown hair on the white clapboard
where the deer tried to run off
scraping its side,

harsh light in the paint can, 

                               weightless
        the screen door until you
heard it click   shut.

She placed the shell and the action figure beside one another.
Who is king, my queen, as many tongues as there are swords.

Gone to field, weeds sway, some places are still
semi-barbarous you can make a fire under the bridge and smoke.







A headless man knows 
how you saw what the saw sawed,

and there is usually enough poetry
to pass out,   the day is ongoing,

you can get more material there
a rough sleeping    writ large.

I loved playing that hand harp,        large face 
coming to ask      Who are you,      Where       is your precipice?

The pattern crying, the pins too many colors, surround, surround.

The pattern crying you be the master, I’ll be the life,
 
have I been in this T-shirt all day, did I sleep in it, first did I see it this morning.

Was that you bound in sun on the step, living the life of the seasons, and loving,

I am recalling nothing of the unloving of ourselves,

did you not foreshorten into pattern one thing from its happening,
 
where you are slowly dying in a city,

I am born in a town.

Middling in a hive
 
nothing is daring to move anymore.

Sticking our feet into a template of lakes, 

it is endless, endless and endless a schizy feeling walking back into your world

Sinking into the Leopard Pillow

I threw out everything that didn’t give me a spark

and hung all the whites on the table.

Greens and deep dirt browns and grays.

The sensory titillations of the day

entered each limb’s phantom collapse and gait, tremor are you
     there?

See until you are gone and there is only what you are seeing.

Just trying that meant yesterday.

What to do today. Falls the shadow.
 

Related Poems

Upper World

If sadness
is akin to patience,

                  we're back!


Pattern recognition
was our first response

to loneliness.

Here and there were like
one place.

But we need to triangulate,
find someone to show.


     *

There's a jolt, quasi-electric,
when one of our myths
reverts to abstraction.

Now we all know
every name's Eurydice, 
briefly returned
from blankness

and the way back
won't bear scrutiny.

High voices
over rapid-pulsing synthesizers
intone, "without you" --

which is soothing.

We prefer meta-significance:

the way the clouds exchange
white scraps
in glory.

No more wishes.

No more bungalows
behind car-washes
painted the color of
swimming pools