Back wheat and right feet
marking the revolutions of the traffic
the father holding his baby in the shade of the cheap apartment
the subdued anger in the intersection
I vow to make
We're working on the channel
scraping away at the rock
just a little rutway
to speed up the delivery of the net
the wires and the streams in silver
the waters of the night at surface
milky and clean
the world outside of the world
next to the world
the world before the world
after the world
the world inside of the world
talking to the neighbors:
I am practicing my voice, on how to get along
the near being hide and hook and hark and hayfield troubadour dominion
I hear there have been seen birds in the air
they nest in the trees
they are hanging many wires here
the mountains: how long have they been here?
have you seen them being built?
is your mother well?
sometimes I have heard her songs
the color of the street
I fear there may be a region of space closing in
like a fire hydrant lurks by the door
demanding entrance with its terrible waters
in my opinion we should be wary of the language that is used to describe appositions
the naked man emerging at inappropriate times
cloaked in the ordinary things erected along this road
tell me, will the year be good?
and are the waters arriving again?
I have seen it in my sleep.
Do you know what color it is?
Perhaps that is what I will paint my door
The children are afraid.
But still they are laughing.
So it cannot be so bad.
They look at me without the government insignia
I think they recognize the sound
Don't mind me, I am a singer in small compartments
They sell them at the bodega
Cheap tracks for long journeys
The Airship . . . well, but I am talking your ear off. Be well, be well.
We are still here.
In unseen dimensions
My role is hardly record keeper
I don't know how to count.
Not able to count men or women
Not able to count the doorways or clouds
I cannot even count children
More than three and I lose track.
I am not able to inform officials of duties
Nor am I certified to be made indignant by philosophies
Since I cannot understand them
Perhaps I am a cleaner
with a peculiar passion for dirt
moving it into shapes
and not throwing it out
Like the mediation of pine needles over concrete
blowing across the threshold of our cheap apartments
It may be I am a newsman
But I have not sold many papers
It is not that my articles are so outlandish
Or my headlines so quotidian
Likely you will know better than I what the problem is
"Mother Still Knows What She is About"
"Water is Likely to Form"
"God may have an appendix"
have been some of my headlines
I do not know the future and so cannot be a prophet
I have no idea what is coming
I could be a painter but I do not have any paint
Nor any canvas
Nor any brushes
I do have a pencil
and some old lined paper
But I have not been using them much
No, I vow to make this channel
I am a digger
And so I must apologize in the way of diggers
Informing you that it is going to be coming beneath you
Informing you that you may need to move your vehicle
Erecting barriers and new entrances
Covering our temporary pits
Moving the earth
Out of where it sits
And putting it somewhere else nearby
So that we can put in the way
The way from here to there
another place like here
but further down
just a little way out
where there are other people
and just a little different
sometimes they are interested in talking with us
they have some things that need to be said
or that they just want to say
about what they have been finding out
just have a chat
I am digging into the ground
here is where I am starting
the sound of the dirt
the sound of the metal
the depth of the hole
and then ten
a dozen inches
three feet in
half the length of a tall man
enough to see the color of the earth
a little further from the sky
a little dirtier
the smells rising from the unrooted greenery
the chapter heading
in nouminescent fragrance
the region of the air over the town
the region of space inside your head
the nightmare of the city
the colors of dreams
each one significant
the apartments inside the city of dreams
urgent and undying
inhabited by people from far away
so like us
and so far away
I am digging a channel through the city
Please get out of the way
we are communicating with intelligences that may be important
yes, men at work
men at work
the sky is a city outside
just like dreams are underground.
the children have been discovering this
Can I make it a headline?
Where is the channel going?
What kind of city is it we are building?
Why are the children afraid?
Tell me, I demand to know
What is it you have been doing.
Why was it I was made the digger?
Shouldn't you have done this already?
No, it is all right.
It needed to be done sometime.
So now I am doing it.
The color of the sky
The inhabitations of man
Over his face
You understand I am sure what I do not mean
What I cannot say
What are the figures who hover over the land
Over the mind
Shaking their lances
Like false ancestors
Or true ancestors
The word of the master and the words of slaves
The rectangles you have put into the buildings
The scars you have put on your body
it is not that I am demanding things
I have no force of any kind
I have no weapons
I have no authority
I am not even your friend
Hardly even your neighbor
Near being, near being
(that is what neighbor means)
Nigh being, Nigh being
Perhaps I am a priest
That is what it is
A mad priest
One of the elders
Permitted to wander insane and mutter things into the air
Fed like a beggar with my bowl
But I have no religion
And too many gods
They are not concerned with me.
Here, help me to dig.
We are getting closer to what it is I am looking for.
Just digging out a road, you see
To encourage commerce
To say that it is all right to visit
To say that we are here
And to say that we have not always been here
And to say that we are not sure actually how long we have been here, and not been here
And to say that we are curious about how it is has been for you
Are things okay?
Is the weather treating you all right?
Do ships appear in the sky at indifferent intervals?
And how does it feel?
And does my mother still remember my name?
What is it that has come over my mother?
And why has it come over all of you?
Is it that you want me to die?
I am unneeded and unwanted? Please tell me, I need to know if that is the case.
Let me know that you have decided. It is all right, people are permitted to decide such things.
No, it is not that, I'm sure. But it is like that.
Perhaps you do not like the holes I have been digging, is that it?
You no longer favor commerce? Towns die without it, you know.
We have to have roads to come in
And roads to go out
Surely you know that much
All the glory of the roads, you remember them
And the pictures they tell
Am I permitted to sketch the picture of a road?
It is not forbidden yet I know, so here it is
It stands five feet underground
But running for quite some distance
Perhaps a hundred miles
To another city
Much like our own
But dwelling on the north side
Its color is black like ink
stretched out against the brown land
stretched out against the grey mountains
it is beautiful at night and in the day
drenched in heat
like your face
we are erecting channels underneath it
and along it
we want to know
we want to see
what has been happening
if we are permitted to look
if we are permitted to speak
if the sound of the air
is like the sound of a child's voice
discovering the country
and the earth