8am. The dark descent. Gilt pre-war
tile-work now sub-seagreen grime, the biotic
discharge (kudzic? cosmic?) of a "tragic" lack
of change; no glib rehab, no stolid renova-
tion; the low steam wheedle of a played-out
radiator; the faint first hypodermic
rustle from Our Junky Squatter in the kohl-black
aether of the stair above. Blah vita nuova,
Monday, March, arctic air etching a braided route
up while I—small wave of warmth down its bruise-
blue arm—ease past canker, past cataract,
past the felt-sewn & three-legged husk of a
deep-6'd card table: little lean-to, riddled redoubt.
What now? Well, work. Though one threadless screw
to ping last night's post-Freudian rehash—er,
earthquake? Ur-crisis. Ur-neurosis. One helluva
(& less than objective) correlative. What now,
dreamer? The warm stalk-sweet smell from the hooded crews
who keep us failsafe for commerce; men of stature,
or near enough, their gauzy, smoke-strung copse
dissolves, lets me pass, nods assent. I mouth
"morning," eye the candied, cardamom gloss of my shoes,
shrug against the cold. Everything, as the nomenclature
goes, 4 Sale: this Smithean forge this Stereoscope—
by which I mean, of course, the wan illusion of depth
we milk from nil; the pinch-penny nickel They lose
for Us to find. As if—as if red-toothed nature
begot benevolence begot itself this hands-free trope
of clasp & claw, of gross & price, of precipice.
8am. The day spreads before me like, what?
A map? A grid? A grammar? An ethic of erasure.
A math outside I can only touch, sad asymptote
or too-thin reed acrux the gleaming stream. Darkness
gone at last to the dogs. The smell of bread & bacon fat
warms the hall. I fix my tie. Step from the stair.
How our necks burn (fiercely) by rope or rote.
No? Yellow plastic from here to there to mark this
scene of some "disturbance." Is this the means of making art?
Good-bye Bill-y-burg. And so descend. As heir. To err. Into air.
Spencer Short is the author of Tremolo. He is an attorney in NYC.
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