Monday, July 18, 2016

David Beckman, Excerpts from Advice to Fire, Mobius 2, 3, 13, 14

Lids of a Droid Baryon, image by Daniel Y. Harris

Excerpts from Advice to Fire

Mobius 2: Appeal to Sound
            in what key do the dead sing?
What says a muffled sun, hoarse
moon, choked earth? How does

a panda lament? Is need soprano
or alto? Are spinning galaxies
silent and beetles mum in sleep?

Ban street static, car crash,
door creak, chair scrape
and thwack of fist on bone

in favor of grass blade’s
sigh, snow leopard’s purr,
hum of acorn finding root,

love’s birth cry, runes wrested
from whole stone, swallow choir’s
encores, ant army’s drum taps

and oak’s oratorios. Shower
us with wind’s whole tones,
arias of ibis, clouds’ chansons
            and let the hungry ear demand

Mobius 3: Caprice

            imagination blossoms in us to assure that
ether-cooled incubators atop polished ceramic
tables spawn rows of mini-dervishes rich 

in anti-ego, oxygen, humor and silk who one-toe
down sponge-lined stairs to buffed zebrawood
floors (the shine, the shine!) and drink smoothies

of Faro grain, unicorn milk, ginger root and clover,
ensuring that the brain -- finite billions of synapse
leaps and nerve highways -- expands to mind while

sensory data play hopscotch with heart to birth
multi-selves seeking consensus that the moon
is an orbiting crème brulee, the Milky Way an iris

bud near an overhanging path of stars, a paper sheet
an airplane awaiting a 12-year-old’s folds, love a helium
balloon floated by Cinderella’s unborn second child,

friendship a pact signed in rose oil, and life’s sojourn
a Friday hike skyward toward Persian-speaking tulips
            and dream states where we make sure that

Mobius 13: After

            earthmen – combat-fresh, tes-
tosterone-rich -- attack the sun that,
falling, scorches Utah’s rim, Ohio’s

shoreline and the heart of Atlantis.
Women (alert to burn marks while
keening alarm and GPS coordinates)

carry fire shards in baskets to  deep caves.
Children -- free, gifted, innovative
multitaskers -- skip merrily along

Mercury’s rings, poking holes
through which they tumble toward
Milky Way’s galactic ridge and its

interstellar vessels of rock and chemi-
cals. Animals -- fox, sloth, unicorn
and calf -- stay still and steady

as lighthouses, rooted as trees,
undiverted by fear or abstraction,
            securing mates and warmth when

Mobius 14: News From a Warzone
            earth desiccates, a smoking bollard
as trees spindle, rivers plug, stones rivulate,
oceans twist, clouds spike, bugs form

battalions and crustaceans build cities
of horn. Feather-shorn birds scag west
then back, beaks dripping orange wax

while, clammed in this room where mind meets
fire I drink foamed spider milk and hallucinate
the voice hitting lowest of raspy blood-notes.

Bipeds carcinogate, fingers clawing,
eyes leaking as feet go retro to webbing
then break -- the sound like the snapping

wishbone all those Thanksgivings ago,
remember?  (That aromatic fern bank, those oak
leaves falling.) Below my window organs trail

from trellises where late the rose buds clung.
As the moon’s face hardens, suspended like a hanged
            innocent, promise me you’ll report that

—David Beckman