Word For/Word [ Issue 17: Summer, 2010 ] [ Previous ] [ Next ] [ Notes ]

Craig Foltz

R Is For Rangitoto

Imagine yourself in a plane of flaxy grass swimming
through the constellations & watching the buildings
glittering beyond the volcanoes. Imagine yourself


trawling through the yards of your neighbors &
breaking down their doors to insert gray shards of sheet
metal into their bony ribcages. Let their hearts bleed the


prophecies of sentence fragments & cut-out syntax. Let them
ask you to call off the dogs. These red areas are in the
shapes of bevel gears, the curved teeth converging on


the axis of their sternums.  I know I said otherwise, but I
didn’t want you to read that part out loud. Catch these
symbols with your tongue & grind them in between your


teeth. One of the volcanoes has the tendency to explode
unexpectedly. Whenever it does we walk down to the harbor
& join the rest of the city in celebration. What is one to do?


The narrative calls for a cheerful input at that point, so
we trudge along. The sieve of my dreams has opened up
again revealing itself in pink salts & home recording studio


devices.  If there is one lasting image this is it. Blue-flecked
fish patrol the shores while the kowhai are in bloom. A
feeding frenzy for faint-hearted birds. Imagine yourself


floating on the water alongside the bloated corpses of your
neighbors, jabbing at their torsos to see how much elasticity
the tissue of their skin retains. Honestly, it’s a bit of a pain


to sit through their sad lectures. It’s not like we remember
their talking points. You want more than an escalation of
an escalation. You want more than rising action & swift


conflict resolution. So, one day you bring home a newborn
baby just to make out the skinny in it. How quickly they
widen their frame of reference to study these events! Even


fruit, nectar & insects aren’t enough. Imagine taking it all
back & morphing into an exotic creature, your soft skin

forming a delicate chrysalis around their discarded nouns.



Z Is For Zopilote

Pick an era. Crew cut in skinny jeans carom against
multiple piercings. The person who comes to you in the night isn’t
the person who came to you in the night the night before. Looking


back on it, we’ve finally arrived. In this place where the ocean
is a forest. In the happy days before post-millenial tension
became a substitute for post millenial tension. Just like that


the smell of bacon puts an end to our meatless diet. This is
why we fight. Because our skin ruptures.  Pain is, without a doubt,
superior. The dust storm saunters up another octave. An


improvisational segment in gliding patterns of speech & wastewater.
Like any good cartographer, the God of Commerce asks Why
Should There Not Be A Handle? Oh sparkling neuron, must you still


cling to this process? Please hold. Here comes another spontaneous
act of nature. Captain Kangaroo makes a brief appearance at the barbed
wire fence & then disappears. Ginger chocolatier wears salt beard. Pollo


al Pibil. Epazote crumbles against individual mandates. Mattress for
sale. Victory meal, without a comma. Sounds like a round trip ticket
on the gravy train to me. Compress these biochemical statistics into


a cluster of fading magnolias. Despite their puny appearance we still
manage to remove our heads from our bodies, impale them on long
metal poles & join a parade of lovely children running amok through


the city. A pair of aphorists poke at the ground. Dear friend, Faced
with difficult obstacles will you still retreat to the comfort of tilted poplar
trees? Engaging these diamonds of fur. Pamper. Like bread, a baby takes


eighteen hours to arrive. Here, with self-correcting oscillations. Little
roost, we’ve come this far without inadvertently mentioning the ritual

of our death. Exude composure. Ward off the next wave of munitions.



H is for H20

During earthquakes the light is not supposed to get
sharper. But, I reckon, it saunters. Towards the door
frame & waits. To the accumulation of water let me


add this group of allegorical notes firing from over
the horizon. How else to replicate the moment that
came before the moment that came before the moment


before the moment. As natural disasters go so too shall
we launch. Note the changes in this parade of vowels.
The rain on a tin roof does so much more than the


formatting of freshly drawn blood & unprocessed sugar.
Upon darkness we tunnel our way into these lives. A
circle forms & glistens in the shade from the moon. All


four senses are required to reach the mouth of a lover.
Contrary to the role we discussed earlier in the week.
Take this inlet & reposition it in the valley of senseless


captains. Hickory, rootless. It’s not enough to gather
your loved ones together. You must also chew on
the skins of nine volt batteries until you’ve extracted


moisture. Somewhere in all this, the miracle of wind
patterns annihilate the rays of the sun. Moss covered
& prickly. Sure, you can pour your teeth into a sweet


lacquer & rinse. But this lacquer, why? What happens
when the beginning of this sentence & the beginning
of that sentence imitate the shimmering ovals dimpled


on the surface of an ocean? Who will thrash their bodies
amongst the twirling epiphytes & bent tussock grasses
then? Speculators, align! A girl makes an appearance in


the poem because the poem wants to mimic the chronology
of rain. Frankly, it doesn’t fly. The nouns reappear,
describing a world composed of blindingly bright light


& temperatures you can’t control. Notwithstanding the
cycle of days & afternoons we’ll still carry the remainder
forward. I don’t care if they never did & if they never will.




I Is For It’s My Fault

I had something to add too. An itinerary founded on certain
blue-veined rocks & conjuring up ghosts from a listless
pile of money changers.  Any appraisal of these conditions cannot


be divined using hinge joints. Rustle up a river instead. As for
the girl, she pushes the mimicry of colorful birds onto the
lifter of curtains. Like the breeze, the small rectangular terrain


just below her eyes becomes demilitarized. Having lost its luster,
the writer covers her skin in fragrant creams. I is for internal
combustion. While. Internal combustion is for the birds. Sodium


bicarbonate gusts into something fizzy. Hence the puddle. Now
that we’ve become over-subscribed is it possible to catapult
beyond the html code? In a certain combination of buttons the


transformation occurs. Just like that we’ve been granted the
power of flight & speech. A vial of lotion subsidizes another
vial of lotion. The spires of directionless larkspur will be


our guide. Their stalks create a dizzying array of perpendiculars
playing tricks with the light. The shaft of a lance punctures a large
bronze disc in the sky. The sun, if you must know. The girl wakes


up from a dream about tanks & the soldiers who control them. Not
until her maudlin sentimentality is erased can we harness the strident
energies of this modern weaponry. Surprisingly, our attachments will


not prop up the proceeding statements. What happens when the soldiers
who control the tanks & the soldiers who control the soldiers who control
the tanks have competing directives? They arrived together, together


they should stay. Now that the girl has been mulched in the mixed media
exhibits of war, will she still scrape her fingers over the mossy boulders
next to the stream? Will her shadows still reach my skin? How much


longer can this jolly parade of numbers correct themselves? What is one
to do? The writer is powerless to prevent the bludgeoning of living

creatures. Each time a love song comes on we concatenate our own obit.