DELTA 29: EVERY LEVEL A LINE, EVERY LINE A FISHERMAN’S NET BAG OF NO LONGERS.
by David Koehn
Wild blackberry bramble all along the edge. Himalaya? Or Cutleaf? Or Pacific? Thimbleberry?
Let me try again, what net?
We keep eating the fruit because the poison sweetens with age.
Another fuckin suicide.
Let me try again, I want a jar of fireflies stowed away in my chest
But the light resists secrecy, insists on the opposite of the private property
Sign on the gate we trespass on our walk to water. The light draws from out there
How time-tentacled arms tugged us towards tangled bramble. Slashed denim.
Blue t-shirt, ripped. Skin, torn. We ignore requests,
“What am I?” and “Do you not understand?” and “I have brought you here.” and “I offer my fruit so consider me in full…”
Five ragged leaves pentacle off each stem. Not a California blackberry but a Himalayan.
Because Luther Burbank brought the tangle here, we visit his Gold Ridge Farm in Sebastopol.
The Blue Heron floats the log, wading time as passers-by pass by.
Look away, look back, and John is gone. Fear feeling excited about anything that hasn’t happened yet.
All the time? Colonized wasteland, we green when we red.
How many fortune cookies have no fortune inside?
How did the Himalayan get to the Werner Dredge Cut?
Let me try again, after John’s suicide, Kitty wrote, “If love was enough, John would have lived forever.”
Why weave the crown of thorns from blackberry brambles?
Let me try again, “Moonlight is sunlight” said Bay. Meaning, I don’t know.
The John Show: a revenge crystal that holds the robot together.
The John Show: a series of nets woven together with invisible lines.
What we love is the drupelets mesocarp. As only a rose not a rose might fruit:
The detailed study of how to stem a thicket. When picked the torus stays with the fruit.
Let me try again, October is Praying Mantis season.
[Shake your head left and right.]
Let me try again, October is Walking Stick season.
In November, John commits suicide.
Or as I want to believe, as some conspiracy against his honesty, the demons offed him.
The error treats the past as the present
And the present like the past; the last like the pheasant, and the last like plastic,
And the fast like resentment.
“Seeds, grains, and grasses,” said Rebecca.
Seeds, grains and grasses. I should be picking the fourth movement in a quartet of erasures for Rebecca.
Wild burros in the Mojave ask how long will this take?
Seven minutes and seventeen seconds. Ericka changed me.
The sun has set. Bay, my son, has pending darkness on his mind “Why don’t moths fly toward the moon?”
I ask, why is every story a love story.
“There’ll be lots of time and wine
Red yellow honey, sassafras, and moonshine.”
Remember that time we all lived in the woods together?
We never left. We argue one thing, said coherency,
Not yet said another form, as if a
critical eye isn’t a blind spot. The more you know, the larger the blind spot.
Burbank married twice, divorced his first wife, no heart survives.
When his teeth clenched
The aggregate and the blood-colored flavor stained his lips and trickled down the inside of his bottom lip
And under his tongue. Let me try again,
What are the chances five people will shed a tear five years after your death?
What lit up in him? Berry sweetness marked by a dandelion-savory tinge to the nectar.
A few of John’s drawings lined up on the shelf,
I walk to the bookcase to look at them again:
Bobo Dylan; an animation of a translation of Catullus’s Odi et Amo; a naked woman composed of a single line.
The story of Reynir Örn Leósson, Beyond Strength, contains all the similes.
People? A distracted consciousness on a keyword search.
No narrative will tell a story you care about.
Listen to the parse
For the cricket that occupies soot. John’s pocket. No solid you.
One of the frustrations. What we had. You can’t swim, if the shore, grab the cane or drown?
If you haven’t noticed, people think they are a lot smarter than they think they are.
My job? To make the irresistible revolutionary. Hey let’s put on some Elvis,
How about “A Little Less Conversation” so we can shake our hips and sing
Wrap ourselves in tinfoil, tuck our balls behind our taint.
Let me try again,
“Come on baby I’m tired of talking, grab your coat and let’s start walking…”
Please order me an Andreas Englund print “Sitting” and “Tripping” in particular.
All the conjunctions.
Ask the next person you see, “ask the next person you see ‘what has changed’?”
Every level a line, every line a fisherman’s net bag of no longers.
The love of Sol Lewitt’s life? These are your instructions,
Write a set of instructions for a set of instructions again.
Drawings of helmets with 6 words underneath, look underneath, there is worth in a life lived without love —
Emptiness in one lived full of it.
What did Bruce Lee say? This cup is useful because it is empty. I used his dream to write this.
I used to dream these lines and now I am writing them. The hands went missing.
Every flavor, like all kinds of music,
Tells your lovers, the rules are the rules, stop looking in the dark, turn the lights on.
A daughter’s obsession with serial killers. I was raised in mental health institutions.
We reached into the thicket, late in the season, the edible blackberries buried deep in the maws of the ragged canes.
What damaged John damaged me but why do I get to live?
But I could say the same about you. Let me try again,
We have concluded the worst thing we can do is sleep with each other.
What does this tell me about our sense of injustice?
I do not stand opposed to your idea, I stand in favor of mine.
I can’t be good all the time …
Who new uncontrolled hiccups can cause heart failure and death?
And all the painters singing “you, you, you, you.” Don’t mistake prickles for thorns.
When asked, look. When seen, listen. Anthony Bourdain is making his rounds.
According to Wikipedia, Burbank’s fruit varietals included
113 plums and prunes, 35 fruiting cactus, 16 blackberries — including our Himalayan varietal
13 raspberries, — 11 quinces, — 11 plumcots, — 10 cherries, — 10 strawberries, —10 apples,
8 peaches, — 6 chestnuts, — 5 nectarines, — 4 grapes, — 4 pears, — 3 walnuts, — 2 figs
On the drive across death valley, the wild burros face into the wind, as if the wash of sand
Across their face into their nose was nothing but pleasure.
Let me try again, after the first attempt, brain dead for five days, he left something
Elsewhere as with everything lost can only be found by returning to where it was lost.
Let me try again, the pluck of the blackberry eaten from the bramble that poisons the landscape. Not the eating.
Let me try again, in Laura Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic” off of Eli and the Thirteenth Confession
The piano leaps to the words in her voice but can’t reach them. What bird?
David Koehn’s first full-length manuscript, Twine, available from Bauhan Publishing, won the 2013 May Sarton Poetry Prize. In 2017 he released Compendium (Omnidawn Publishing), a collection of Donald Justice’s notes on prosody. David’s second full-length collection, Scatterplot, is due out from Omnidawn Publishing in 2020. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Hotel Amerika, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Rhino, Volt, Carolina Quarterly, Diagram, McSweeney’s, The Greensboro Review, North American Review, The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, and other places.
Image credit: Wikipedia