Through the window this morning, the scent of sarcococca strong and thin. The first warm day of the year. Dad had a heart attack last night.
“He’s all right, though,” my sisters say over the phone, as if this were somehow good news. The old bastard will suffer through a few more years.
What a dick sunset can be. The cold, they say, will return tomorrow and wither what’s been brazen enough to bloom, clinging even now to frost-bitten branches, lingering until winter is, finally, through.
I don’t think I want to be buried here on this suburban lawn, though it’s pleasing and the robins seem to never stop singing. Still, some secret garden would be better, a secret barstool even.
Remember when Tuuli used to call robins violins? And how we let her do it?.. for years? Until she started school and her classmates drove her to conformity. And then the robins seemed less delightful, though still went on singing. I suppose they still are delightful: at once both delightful and, somehow, residual. How every song now is two songs: one the song and one the song within the song. That’s where I want to be buried, in a grave that is both grave and gravely duplicitous.
The nature of contentment, I think, is somewhat like short division. The search for transcendence the same (who amongst us won’t, in the end, transcend?). After a time the problem dissolves into its solution. The one becomes the other, and so there’s no need to solve or search at all.
From the urgent abstraction forcing us down and turning us over, the sun acted like it was rising, and in so doing spilled into my apartment, flooding it with pink light and illuminating those tiny specks of floating debris as it fell across the bookshelf and seemed to be—the sun the light—most enamored with the rubber plant and the bright blue/orange spine of Dorothy Parker’s Collected Poems.
I was thinking about the avant-garde when the garbage truck came screaming to a stop outside my window. The garbage man—Doug’s brother Darren—leapt out and ran wildly yelling “give me all your soft falling folds and cruel clouds of circus!” Then he pulled out the peonies Jordan and I planted last spring and threw them in his famished machine.
“Darren you bastard!” I yelled out, “I’ll beat you yet you irreadable gob of unfeeling language!”
Thomas Walton is author of All the Useless Things Are Mine: A Book of Seventeens (Sagging Meniscus, 2020), the anti-lyric-essay lyric essay The World Is All That Does Befall Us (Ravenna Press, 2019), the microchapbook A Name Is Just A Mane (Rinky Dink, 2016), and, with Elizabeth Cooperman, the tesselated essay/poem The Last Mosaic (Sagging Meniscus Press, 2018). His work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Delmar, Timberline Review, Rivet, The Chaos Journal, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Bombay Gin, Pontoon, and other magazines. He is one of three editors of the bilingual poetry anthology Make It True Meets Medusario (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2019). He lives in Seattle, where he builds gardens and edits PageBoy Magazine.