by: CE Putnam
These next two poems by the inimitable CE Putnam decenter and align us again and again as we see our lives and desires reflected in and eclipsed by the evolution and entropy of our ever-expanding universe and ask “Should I go out into the night/ alone to discover what it is?”
The universe is growing slower
Air quivering above
the red dirt road quickens
the Day Locusts’ hissing
but I stay still and shaded
sweating the rice whiskey,
smoked catfish, and red
spice rushing in my head.
I want you more now. Besides
who would want to steal
a psycho away from me?
Pouring out Clot Blood
to live in disgust: eat with it,
sleep with it. First Vertebrates
are you listening to this?
Coffee rings bubbled onto
my face. I can smell you
making a king-sized
order of filth rice, fried
is the heart, the universe,
we are lying near its center
feeling a low idling hum wind
down. Should I go out into the night
alone to discover what it is?
Last light stealing to bleach out
you and your bed selfless,
lonesome plains, our desires
stiffened with yak hair.
We begin clean on a paper blanket
square to count the fading stars
circling bodies by the millions.
The Afternoon Report
The motion of our solar system is slowing,
pulling power from the bodies that still
have love for each other. It is time
to attach the homemade electric helmet.
The earth just rolls upon itself. What else
can it do? Perhaps there is not a living
thing here. Look up! Do Sun exercises
in the Sun. Moon exercises in the Moon.
Check your eyes by taking
hold of the lashes and pull up slightly
to the left. Can you feel the percolation
of water inside? Listen. It is almost time
to drink. Soaked by sudden cold, FOOT
could hear the dripping blood inside
of what is essentially a falling away of body
from spirit here in early Autumn, listening to
icicles hanging from Yak fur. I forgot
what to do with the stars. Why
do you have such a low paying job?
Time Crushing Breakage is looking
for someone to pay for all this ruin
once we finally have the entire
world to ourselves alone.
C.E. Putnam is the author of The Papier-Mâché Taj Mahal (1997), XX Elegies(1998), Spaces Where Spaces Are (1999), Transmissions from the Institute (2000), Maniac Box(2001), Things Keep Happening (2003), Crawlspace (2007) (w/ Daniel Comiskey), and the chapbook “The Bunny Manuscript (Episode Three)” (Textile Series, 2014). He is the founder of the Putnam Institute for Space Opera Research (P.I.S.O.R.) and currently lives in Portland, Oregon.