The Same and the Other

in each hand a disparate dream: in all dreams
                                                                           another far
            too quiet: delirium
                                     of the mask and God behind it: paradise
had no winter like
                          this: this
            is the one where the infant sleeps in the dirt
                                                                                the sleep
of a dreamless mind so far from home
                                                           he no longer resembles anyone:
            his mother, thrown
                                        down, hunted, sick 
with fear, sleeps next to him among the filth of animals: his father
              watches (the imperative
                                                       that love
—not solace—
                      demands), for there is no room for another
              sleeper: the desert will keep
                                                         bringing its mirage,
no doubt:
             the child will walk in his shimmering garden, says
   
the wilderness, if you just get across:
                                                          motes in the light rise and rest:
             sole face left (remember you are dust)
                                                                       of our first lost image:

More by Gina Franco

The Idol and the Icon

no telling what lies on the other side:
                                                                     the X and its door:
                the wayfarer arrives at the throne
                                                                             at the end of the world
to find that the throne is a cardboard sign
                                                                             scrawled in black marker:
              (I thirst):
                               no one, nowhere: no “look no further”:
 
though the boy
                             waves his bottle over his head, walks the highway
                shirtless on the shoulder, the last
                                               of his water beading against clear
empty plastic, and visible
                                               from the car as we drove by. In the worst
                heat of the day.
       	                                    In the desert not far from the border.
 
So, the X
                   and its exits, the many passages since. So to have gone further
                out of the way—to have not been so sensible—
     	                                                                                            so that the walker,
watched sometimes, secretly, from the givenness, the order,
               of conditions that now still make their
    	                                                                             appearances known
                                                                    	    	
—and utmost—wouldn’t be alone: here is water
                                                        	                     left on the roadside
               with the carrion,
and the cars that cross leftward, inex
 	                                                           -tricable from the broken line:

The Artificial Infinite

like a room with an open window, we
               were haunted:
                                         neither exit nor entrance,
fully: so the ghosts crossed our thresholds:
               they have all gone out, they have all gone in:
the little houses leaning into the field of grass, the water
               tower levitating into the sky, the roadside drill
that digs in the grit:
                                     shock of the human
               machine
continuously beating but irregularly: so absence
               fills with expectation, overfills: and the thing is
king:

Related Poems

Still Life with Invisible Canoe

Levinas asked if we have the right
To be        the way I ask my sons
If they’d like to be trees       

The way the word tree
Makes them a little animal
Dancing up and down
Like bears in movies
                 
Bears I have to say
Pretend we are children     

At a river one of them says
So we sip it    pivot in the hallway   
Call it a canoe

It is noon in the living room
We are rowing through a blue
That is a feeling mostly 

The way drifting greenly
Under real trees 
Is a feeling near holy

If You Must Hide Yourself From Love


It is important to face the rear of the train
as it leaves the republic. Not that all
 
departing is yearning. First love is
a factory. We sleep in a bed that had once
 
been a tree. Nothing is forgot.
Yet facts, over time, lose their charm,
 
warned a dying Plato. You have to isolate
the lies you love. Are we any less
 
photorealistic? I spot in someone's Face-
book sonogram a tiny dictum
 
full of syllogisms. One says: all kisses come
down to a hole in the skull,
 
toothpaste and gin; therefore your eyes
are bull, your mouth is a goal.

A Modest Proposal

Let's not kill or die today.
Let's make angels out of yarn, men of snow, mashed potato animals
that smile as we spoon
their eyes of melted butter.

Instead of killing ourselves or one another,
let's neatly stack anxiety's sweaters
and scratch our itchy trigger fingers
by whittling turtles for our mothers,

or pretending to understand Heidegger,
or imagining the sexual embrace
through which time and space
first conceived of matter.

If we still aren't over killing and dying,
we can search the stacks for library books
that haven't circulated in generations
and savor the mold

that spores their spines
the way wine snobs savor the nose
of vintage wines bottled
between wars to end all wars.

Look, we've played all day
and haven't spilled a drop of blood
apart from the occasional paper cut.
In an hour or two, when it's very dark,

let's make up stories out of stars,
and fill them with all the killing and dying
we didn't do today, except in our imaginations.
Let's pull our comforters over our heads

and sing ourselves to sleep
like good little civilizations.