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David Bromige

Ten Poems

from As In T as in Tether

This piece is about eleven printed pages long.

Midsommarsnatt: Time Out for The Authentic (7.5)

When you rose perfected
To rip my heart out
And my lungs along with it
From dead rock stuck on backdrop
Your being howling
I believed at me
To get as naked as
As one might get if
The full moon howled at
One is the number you
Have assigned as meaning

I don’t recognize myself
Full Empty Uncompleted so
Capable of otherwise so
Aware that in your moonshine
Percolating everywhere
Except these shadows that
Contain persons one might
By command discover: ‘Find me,
Oberon Titania!’
When by creating outline
Then by blurring detail

To fuse with substance
Felt essential, some absolute
Handheld frames of truth
We know ourselves in fragments
Lit by your unity
Shadowed by your unity
You reveal our sin :
Not to fulfill our missions
This one night each month
When we are handsome &
Carry in our mouths our hearts &

When, wannabes, we look where you direct
In our beat boozy splendor
In all mooncleansed sincerity
Adulterate the dead
With insufficiency

Poem Beginning with a Line by Pindear (1)

A mattress factory explodes
Then the ticking is noticed
This is called establishing
Excitement goes control
Take this apart take time
This is the pleasure spitball
Swimming from the hips
The Count-on-it effect
We derelicts squat our time
Resembles the ruined halls
For-the-duration embraces
Narrative’s arch uncertainties

And are you there listening
That’s what I have to trust
This is establishing us
Both puddles in a sea of faces
Deep enough to dr—swim in
Our initializing had to abstract
What it was as ticking presence
To what the world can talk about
An event worth photographing
Developing then printing time
We can’t be wasting since it’s us
Eats us then spits this out

You walk I sit you hear I talk
Hands are restless otherwise busied
Words all over everywhere as it
Sentences them to say lonely
In paragraphs named loneliness
Our lives watch one another
Deed that was wanted
Hearts break guts ache boredom
That can’t call back elation
Would recall high disjunction to
Explode : Euphoria alone makes life
Worth enduring the establishing

Poem Reading a Line by Duncan (5)

If only my sense of your being vulnerable
Could reach out and enfold you
Sit across the table
Or side-by-side above a book
If only that look of yours
Someone would study
Could be before me very now
How on your serious face
The feelings trace their courses
Muscles nerves & brain
If only I were free to be that one
To witness how that face

Cracks near in two
At some diverting foolery
Smile that rises from the sorrow depths
Surrendering inevitable
Knowledge saying I accept
Time to establish this :
Not I am with you as you read
Nor I am obviously not
Won’t slight the chaos
You arose from as from Naples’ Bay
The day, another line of letters
In evening’s shadows brailed

If only the word Soppy
Would bug off & let me
Flow over to you vulnerable
This world that is terrible
Beyond all measure
And we who need a center
As a poem needs a spine
Knew & not guessed victory
But my sense of you vulnerable
That is my own stays home
Duncan my friend is gone
Who reached across me so I saw the table

A Spell (11)

                        for MSB

And so the band plays on.
The pianist is rapt.
The score talks back.
Half got by heart, half
Incoming. Light
In small circles
On these familiar
Squiggles rendering
Each here a vessel
Sensously readied,
A receptacle
Where feeling rushes up

Or in, at the clever hands
Of this notorious
Quartet. Outside
The sky at night at
Solstice, no different
To my eye than ten
Years ago this date,
Filled then with the resolve
To see it through,
This composition
That shows me how
Myself has altered,

An old man’s feet
To walk on, an aging
Face the major key
To what’s not changed,
Although beside me sits
A daughter nearly grown,
And next to her, a man
Recalling all he didn’t
Find time or shape for,
All he gave up for this,
Pebbles in the pitcher
Till the brim is reached

‘In Mohammedism there is Much of Mysticism’ (15)

But more of ems.
Sound that mumbles mother,
Milks her dry.
Most of these
Passers-by drew nourishment
Through those small holes,
Hard on the heels of
Thrusting themselves through
A naked woman’s cunt. Pardon
My French. Covered in
Blood. Excuse me. Screaming
Took the place of moaning

Or hers, or theirs? A woman
Opens to the world
Anyone’s first doorway,
Threshhold slick with tissue.
Forgive me, please. But
Here we are, showered
Shaved & clad
In consciousness,
Smoking cigarets
For the distance that they set
Between us curious
Critters. Or with mouths

Veiled, Hair Covered or otherwise
Removed, disguised.
Or disguised by hair,
Or otherwise
Cosmeticized. On TV
She’s going to reveal
She has no penis.
We sit still for this
A dozen times a day.
And the self, an old Greek says,
As it discloses, closes over.

Coming Out of the Ether (1)

Every six months shove steel into me.
Use all the locals you want (please)
It’ll still unify me
By pinning my many in
Authentic selves to the single thing
They’re only shadows of.
Goodbye Piccadilly,
Farewell hysteria,
Everyone was singing the same song,
And it wasn’t in my dreams
Where I’ve been seeing you.
It’s like being told
I’m harboring a fatal disease,
But more so, much

And yet not at all, much
Better. It’s like real
Sex but not much like that either.
Just that it makes me sane.
Why bother adding that
Is only a feeling?
It’s like being Creeley
Or really any of those people
Turning eighteen during WW II,
Part of a giant Chance
Sink or swim so they swam.
Put their queer shoulder
To the general wheel.

The name of the foundering
Vessel’s ‘Leviathan.’
Captains of industry
In the lifeboats first,
And money is that industry,
Leaving us breathless.
You, me, & our friend M.
As for our particulars;
Send your blank checks
C/o Søren Kierkegaard,
101 The Deli; Walnut Creek.
We’ll be the view from his deck.

They Gain Control of My Tongue (5)

Which is to say, in lieu
Of playing the blue-tinted guitar,
A sociology of this process
Offers its studies of color.
The imagination
In complete autonomy
Disregards known outcomes
Now mounting into thousands
Because millions are incredible,
All those unwasted lives
Whose right companion , well....
Yes, a dead lion feeds bees,
Its rot is sweet, sweet

And unbreathable.
An objection
To test the hope eternal
In a prehistoric ploy
On the part of that great historian,
The gang. They sit there
Ordering the $3.99 breakfast
At three in the afternoon
(That terrible three in the afternoon
Standing for your incessant woe)
Chaired by Chuck Custer,
An obvious leader.
And history as tribes native

To a landscape all-too-familiar
In the Torah of Regret
Live on mistake, mistake
That doesn’t exist in California,
Whose holy ones banished it.
Yet the line at the DMV keeps shuffling
Toward validations
Required if control
Is to exist in a church spire.
Sit down I think I love you
That causes you to stalk out
Of every channel we click to.
Explode the car.

On the Same Page (9)

Where one of us at least
Would soonest not be
Alone with the world
Its microbes & mafias
But in a durable
Bubble not unlike
That in a spirit level
Built of that luxury,
Imagination, with its time
To happen in uninterrupted by
What any jerk remarks as
Reality the indisputable

Aid in putting others
Down. A poem,
For instance, called
What It Means To Me
Is going down your throat
Wholesale & piecemeal
Because I believe, you
Must understand, in
Other minds. That was no
Poem, merely
One reaction to such
Threat? A poem,
Such a bubble, bawble,

Two of us named
You & I breathe in
For a spell. How
Hard it is , to forgive
Being tricked. Thus later
We will deny being
Taken in, having learned
Nothing. Deny
Complicity in our own
Bamboozlement. Deny
Picking up an infectious
Notion by an act of
Will. Deny & die.

Aninomal Faram (13)

Attention is its own
Reward, Felt like
Saying that
While keystroking.
Spent early years imagining
God watching everything.
The getting personal betokens
Search for the authentic.
These are my own sentences,
Modelled on earlier models.
Round the track of the poem
They run. A couple,
Blessed, capitalize on an encounter

Till backlit becomes back forty.
My Michael Jackson
Has a bad nose day. My
Michael Caine has his hips
Liposucked or not. My
Liz Taylor is facing
Death. My Demi
Inhabits Le Monde. My
Gay Travolta swives princesses.
My princesses rent on
One-way streets so
Resentment sets in. For a song
I am paid $20 grand,

Not, while they have the talent
And work hard all day.
One told a therapist
She was afraid I might get better,
Or bitter. Which?
Just so, I am subjected
To revision, that suffocator
Of babies in cradles,
That surgical interventionist savior.
I know what I mean, good luck!
So, just where the Authentic
Commends itself, we get authenticized.

Step Into the Network (14)

‘A dying woman plants a garden. Strange.’
‘It must be very strange.’
‘Yes, it goes on but you stop.’

Burned out, as in building,
Drained, as in swamped.
The authentic moment doesn’t
Have to be high energy.
Serotonin junkies
(Not that you..) live
After the wish to
Has dried up. When
You visit the well
To find it sucking
Sand, you may still be
Conscious. What then?
Smash glass?

Plod, plod. Hopkins
Should be living at
This hour. Six months
I hung up this project,
Why ? I was waiting
For one of us to die.
If tonight is bad,
In my exhaustion,
What were these last
Nights, years of them, to you?
Did Hope ever strip
Your dignity?

Young together, callow
I admire the studied
Face balanced on the tilted
Stem, cool swan
Hairdo of 1961,
To hide the greenhorn
Whose I.Q. knew her ignorance,
Older, you told us,
‘Good looks are sent
To use until we have
Something to say.’
Formidable. & today,
Silenced, most eloquent.

Jacket 22 — May 2003  Contents page
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