Six Poems from Common Time
by Chris Pusateri
Always take a gray suit, so you’ll be ready
for anything, says William Hurt. Gray
the color of rain, a necessary evil,
is the color of alloy, of shale. A tintype
of mama, an uncle’s disposition: it’s the stuff
documentaries are made of.
Hold the chair, hold
the door. When you can’t know what,
When all else fails, enjamb
like a fetus, curl to circles,
live like everything
on your lap.
I’ll cry so you can hear me. It’s a language
of flight that wants not
to run. There will be a corner
of the house where things accumulate
and this will be a sign of good fortune.
The remainder will be breathed
elliptically, where the meaning’s in the tone,
not the message. It’s the literal world you’re worrying over.
Tax my cowardice until I’m nothing but an x-ray negative.
Only when I abandon ethics, do I become
the inventor I might be? And that’s only
about twenty minutes a day. I can retroactively
activate my ethics
by erasing the text
I wrote during the forty minutes
a day when I was twice the inventor but half the man
I was born to be.
I think all
should end in
infinitives. It lends
this whole nasty enterprise a note
of hope, like
leaving one window of your home
as the hurricane approaches.
Chimes are time’s way of reminding you
to worry. like time
telling the story of itself. is how we
by planting memories in the heads of the young
until they’re sure they remember
the conditions of their births.
What we desire
is not what
a sameness, a consistency smooth as the movies.
Even the most creative of endeavors are documentary,
if enough time passes.
The rising seas will make for great data models.
But models are not reality.
When drowning in orange,
reach for peaches: canned, halved, faintly tinny.
There’s something of the earth in them.
There is no say
of waying, this way of
into the mist of its shivering.
We could no more stain than stay,
when embrace takes into you something
of the other. There is no say of waying, yet
weight we will, the precise heft
of past matters, some come to naught,
others fallen to rot. There is no say.
There is no place like home,
an interesting axiom we’ll leave to beaver.
Neither laughter nor happenstance nor bonny striped bee.
Something will come along.
What it drags along
behind will come naturally
and you will call it that
for no better reason than that
order is a form of rhetoric
and you have persuaded yourself
that there is no other way of saying.
Looking out the window
on my way each day
I discover things
that were previously invisible:
a funeral parlor,
a sausage shop.
And then there are the people—
the little moving fortresses
of whom Thoreau so lovingly wrote.
Like the tines of a tyre, they go round endlessly,
being vexed only when
they are pulled like a bad tooth
from the duration of their habits.
You can tell from east.
You can sun from bugger.
You can turn on the blur,
then, add, baby, add.
His love of statistics
is not a love of numbers
but a love of the concepts
those numbers represent:
of how we figure.
There is a green
in the picture
that is no natural
so we think to ourselves
that such a place
could never exist.
A possibility is but a causeway
that joins two
prospects into a single