CE Putnam, Part Two

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?


DAY 420
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.


Day 582
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.

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