Inanimate Intimacy

Originally appeared in Heaven Bone, Issue #11, Spring 1994

In the defeat of sunshine I descend invisibly

To the dungeon of tourniquets and stripped lassoes

Where horses' legs are smashed into jackets after serving as stretchers

No one knows of my crying there

My hugging sinews of horror to slacken the anguish upstairs

Nor does anyone know of my memories mutilated in that lofty house

From which I should flee in final misery

To the tunnel of Martín Ramírez

That mountainside conduit of destiny

Scissoring through galvanic fibre

Where the steam locomotive will soon come screaming

Like a Gothic factory swinging with gaslight

Its lanterns clanging into high desert vertebrae

As Ramírez


Waves it onward

But I remember another vessel

A distant outpost of lost apartments facing

The deserted radio station cloaked in brambles

Where ponies graze in peace

Unmolested by roving truckers who neglect the highway in search of hideous relief

A gravel pit and tin shed are begging for moonlight

Like the old bridge clanking through its garnish of mistletoe and alligator trails

This is a locale swaggering with the nutmeg of dream

Saluting its own scaffold its own stadium of inanimate intimacy

Climbed by apartment stairs traversing sawhorses of time

The pages of its guidebook whip up the stars

A dictionary of glitter and daring

Sparkling with granules of salted ruby

Like an icehouse flouncing upon the jags of its transom

Its masthead is a tugboat captain who could pass for a watertower

Its index a honeycombed slate caressed by the nightwatchman's silhouette

The glycerine of its love

Silvered and rippling from the hearts of barometers

Secures station and apartments in a purple bow

And upholds them to otherworldly kisses

Transfusions of the transphysical

Beyond magnetism

Beyond the temporal

Beyond signals


Oh darling identity

I'm ready

David Thomas Roberts (1990)

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