Willingly by John Latta
I know my presence is vague, I am a cloud
Among billions of other clouds
Dropping softly to earth and letting go...
No use reaching under the oil-leaking junker
Of a pickup truck to retrieve any part of me,
I’m probably settling down now with a viscous ah-
Ahhh into a dark stain the shape of Argentina.
My pleasure is only ordinary and changeable exactly
The way — tumultuous or light-swept — certain expanses
Of the sky can look if one is sitting here
Local and bothered by no history
Beyond the immediate one, the one of noting
The momentary differences between the ongoing yea-
Saying there in that taughtly blue
Stretch of upper atmosphere
And the adamant no down here below. If
I love something enough to make it
Into something else, to pull its own
Peculiar shapliness into a kind of helplessly writ cloud-
Bundle of my own, it always comes out like this.
Because the sky is always more
Than grammar and the clouds
That stipple it do so
To appropriate, willingly or un-
There is a journey several of us are making — Chauceresque, out-
Moded, on horseback — into the bracken-
umber’d springs and furrows,
There where landscape beholds itself in dismay.
And around midnight we’ll settle into a presumption: that
Being is not stasis — not even in the throes of our stasis.
We’ll poke dead branches into the fire, pass an orange
Gently on it. So the core of belief in a moment will surpass
Each moment’s passing: that is the renegade theme.
And you, you cannot see beyond the firelight, you
Dear invented one. You want to subsume fire to an order
But in a minding of the fire: careful with those hot sticks, tongs
Of a radical discovery. So in the burning a tableau appears,
Smoke of what is, shielded by memory and some of its betrayals.
A man hunkers in the grass, stretches, jostles
the fire log.
Fizzlers bamboozle the sky scanners, a hoodwinkery of light.
A lightning bug streaks across the remaining available sky.