Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Sunken Head Rears in Windows

Once, in the apartment above
Union Square, she threatened to push
me out the window. She stood
behind me, her arms locked around
my shoulders like wet branches,
like a lover but more so, closer, nearer.
You must move forward she said and
used her mass to move me to the sill.
Because I knew her well, I slowly removed
her arms and drew an alternative from her brain:
Let’s make your poster of Sid Vicious 
into an oversized paper airplane.
So we sent the dried-blood/black and white drone
on  a lazy spin over the Square,
watching it briefly gain
momentum as it sailed by the statue of Gandhi,
grazing his baked-bean face, then landing in a crumple
beneath a bench where city squirrels, ashen and overly-
friendly,  began to investigate the image of anarchy.

We emerge from ourselves moment by moment.
Etching out our finer, crystalline shapes,
we release the vapors like shredded
skins of frost on double panes of glass.
It is happening always, as every moving
day of November is a little more December.
As the brain of your infant-self expands,
pushing the gelatinous skull outward,
upward to where air grows thinner.

Sucking on a Marlboro,  up 5th Ave,
every step I take I am farther from her:
17th, 18th, 19th,  cross streets cross us here, there...
she is behind me. My smoke
sails backward into her eyes: Reversals,
her reflection smoldering  in storefronts.
I reach the Flatiron where the center
captures us in glass—we merge like binary stars, a
bundle of smoke and past.
When I skid around the corner of the ever-widening
structure, she becomes lost, sunk in subway steam.

I have never trusted numbers.
We become in letters, words, sentences
said, and broken,  then said again, running on
and on and on the hour, by the hour, the seconds
are made of strung vowels, landmasses
of layered consonants. From these we form.
I have never trusted numbers:
they are voiceless.

Years and words later, I sit,
facing a third-floor window.
Below are tree tops--branches 
spread like neurons—ripped vein red.
I see her behind me, my sunken-self,
her smoked skin merging
with the reflected blood of the maple.
Closer, nearer.

You must move forward,
we say.


Jenny said...

Very Welcome Megan,

What a fabulous poem! Blazing animated lines and so genuinely described. The references to, for example, glass, numb dizziness, smoke, veins create such alive images.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful poem, very dense and strong images. I have seldom read a story inside a poem with such emotional edge.

"—we merge like binary stars, a
bundle of past and smoke. When I skid around the corner of the ever-widening structure, she becomes lost, sunk in subway steam."


Looking forward reading more of your poems.

gerry boyd said...

ok. why have you been hiding this insane talent?

Megan Duffy said...

Jenny and PO: Thank you both. Your comments mean a great deal to me as I find both of your voices to be fiercely original and groundbreaking.

Gerry: I guess until now I had never found a place to present this kind of work. A 7 year lull in writing boiled up some wild brew.

Actually, I must thank you for encouraging me back poetry. Your work has been incredibly inspiring.

Francis Scudellari said...

Welcome and welcome back to poetry. I love this piece, and the way the ideas and visuals of the sections mesh together so perfectly. Haunting and lovely.

Ande said...

It felt like intermingled narratives in this poem, i truly liked it.